There is no one size fits all approach for fitness and self-improvement, but in order to find the most effective approach for you, keep these 3 strategies in mind.
It’s not the sprints, burpees, endless crunches, or marathon cycling. It’s not the measuring of food or length of time you put into each workout. No. That stuff’s easy compared to this:
The hardest part of working out is resisting the urge to hit snooze in the morning to drag yourself out of bed and to the gym (or that tiny space in your house currently being used as a gym). All while trying to ignore the list of excuses rolling through your head of why you don’t need to run, spin, lift, walk, meditate, etc.
However, once in the right mindset, you can overcome the most difficult part of hitting your workout consistently and actually crave your workout time! Here are some psychologically proven ways improve your motivation when stuck at home.
Schedule YOUR Time & Make It Convenient
You have a finite amount of time (and willpower) in a single day, so don’t make anything more difficult than it needs to be! Find 20-60 minutes you will consistently have available 1-4 times a week, and schedule your workout in that time slot.
Make it as convenient as possible to get your workout in. Too tired at the end of the day? Schedule your self-improvement time for the morning! Only have 20 minutes to squeeze in? Make sure your work outs fit in that time frame.
But, don’t underestimate convenience as a motivator in and of itself. Obstacles will always arise after plans are made and goals are set. Staying on track requires identifying the obstacles beforehand that you are likely to face and having a plan to deal with them.
In Nielsen’s 2014 Global Consumer Exercise Trends Survey, 22% of participants labeled convenience as an essential part of the ideal fitness experience… but that was second only to FUN. So if you’re unsure what to do for that 20 minute exercise routine, find an activity you enjoy (or someone you enjoy doing it with)!
Build Consistency with Bite-Size Goals
If you hate running, chances are it won’t be convenient for you to lace up those shoes and hit the pavement. In order to build consistency, you should look forward to or at least want to do that activity. Try out different fitness modes (boxing, strength training, HIIT, yoga, etc.) to find out which style you find fun while supporting your goals.
The fastest way to kill the fun (and the consistency), however, is by not reaching the goals you’ve set for yourself. While you might be tempted to set large goals right off the bat, it’s scientifically harder to keep running towards an unobtainable goal.
A 2009 study found that people who set process-based goals versus outcome-based goals were more motivated to stick with their routines. Not sure which is which? Example of process-based goals include pressing a slightly higher weight over the course of a month, perfecting your form on that kickboxing move, or walking a little farther than yesterday.
Small Victories Matter
Planning to go to the gym three times a week to improve your mental health might feel like too big of a step — and it may be for those who haven’t exercised in a while (or ever). However, finding ways to gradually reach that goal can go a long way.
Create mini-milestones for you to reach throughout your journey to celebrate. From your first workout to adding a single vegetable to your meals. Nothing is too small to be celebrated. Small progress is STILL progress — and each celebration will keep you motivated to reach more!
And who doesn’t love to celebrate a small victory with those they care about? Family, friends, and battle buddies alike help create accountability while creating a fun support group for your goals!
While these 3 strategies may help to keep you going, you must first decide to start. Find the “why” behind your wanting to begin exercising again before you start. Don’t do it because you think you should. Without a tangible reason, all the motivation in the world won’t keep you consistent.