Keeping a consistent workout routine can seem impossible. We all struggle with keeping our commitments to ourselves. The beginning of our journey is filled with motivation and excitement. Literally, nothing can keep us away and we are “going to do it”.
But then comes the middle part of the journey, and while we are still showing up, the excuses are starting to creep in.
And after a few months, the excuses have prevailed and our attendance is abysmal.
I’ve fallen prey to the healthy hype more than once in my lifetime. And it easy to see something work for someone else and try to replicate it for yourself.
But that is your first mistake.
So let’s, dive into the 10 ways to stay motivated and to create a consistent workout routine.
1.Find something you enjoy!
Don’t just work out for a goal, if it is going to be a routine that maintains consistency for the long haul you HAVE TO enjoy the journey. Because the ideal situation is the journey is never over and you find a new hobby that also simultaneously gets you the fitness, health, and aesthetic goals you have for yourself.
2. In order to find something you enjoy, it will take time.
I had brief stints trying pilates reformer, soul cycle, and eventually took a hard look at what I like to do and not just what is “trendy”. For me, I’ve always loved to dance, so on a whim, I took a pole dance class. I fell in love with it and have never looked back. It also happens to be an extremely intensive workout that builds flexibility and your core. Two things I also want to build/value. So don’t be afraid to try a workout that is out of the box or not traditionally trendy.
3. Don’t shotgun the start.
What I mean when I say this is so often when we find something we enjoy or have a “new” goal for ourselves, our motivation is so high that we want to jumpstart our progress. But, honestly, this usually just leads to burn out (even when we love our workout/activity).
I suggest starting slow and leveling up only when you can consistently keep that pace. Whether that is once a week, or once every other week, get that pattern reliable and when you’ve managed to keep that streak try adding one more session or class as you go. This is a marathon (figuratively speaking), not a sprint.
4. Keep yourself accountable.
While it would be nice to have an accountability partner, that is not always feasible and when schedules don’t align that creates an opportunity for excuses. So, instead, hold yourself accountable. I suggest downloading the app “streak”. Set your own streak and make sure you check in with on a regular basis. The idea with this app is that it registers your brain to keep this commitment. And it is a reminder that if you don’t go, your streak will be lost.
Putting stakes, albeit low stakes, keeps you motivated and encourages you to be honest with yourself. If this activity you chose for yourself is the “right” one, then you will want to keep your streak alive. If it isn’t, and you easily blow off your activity, then go back to step one and try again.
5. Set a goal for yourself.
There is nothing like a goal to motivate yourself. Now, personally, I would suggest opting for a skill-based/time-based goal, not an aesthetic goal. If you love what you are doing then you will want to improve, the physical effects it has on your body are a secondary bonus. For me, it was being able to invert on a pole, and once I completed that I set a new goal. It doesn’t always have to be a “harder, more intense” goal.
It can be one larger goal, like to make achieve a faster time or to keep your heart rate higher. With these goals they are more open-ended so you should have check-in moments every month to evaluate your progress and if you’re not meeting your goals/improving reach out to the teacher or expert. You can also set a skill-based goal like to do a chopper in pole dance or to learn how to a boxing combo.
After you accomplish the skill, add a new goal (whether it is harder, or just a new skill does not matter). Sometimes “enjoying the journey” is not enough, and accomplishing a goal makes us remember we are moving forward.
6. Put yourself out there.
I’m not saying you have to post your workout on social media or show everyone under the sun. But share your passion (yes, it should be a passion) with friends or family. I personally, like to share my new moves on Instagram stories (which I understand is not for everyone). But, sharing my new move, allows me to track my progress and gives me an audience that can cheer me on.
If that’s not for you, share it with a friend or loved one. Show them a video of you accomplishing a goal, or invite them to join you. You want to integrate this work out into your life in as many ways as you can so that its existence becomes ingrained in your lifestyle.
7. Ok, you are rocking and rolling, crushing your goals, and then whoops you missed a class.
All is lost, I might as well give up. BUT NO! Remember, life does happen… Sometimes we are sick, or we miss a deadline, and that happens. The key to not “failing’ when this happens is to metaphorically get back on the horse. You missed a week, don’t let it turn into a month or two. Remember why you enjoy your activity, and get to a class asap. Once you are there, all those good feelings with return and you can put yourself back into the saddle. Just don’t let yourself make a habit out of “life happening”.
8. Take pictures.
So while you love your activity, and you feel great after you do it, and it has truly become a passion of yours, we can’t ignore that you are physically looking better as a result as well. Take a pic once every month or so. Store it in a separate album and once in a while look back on them. It will be incredible to see all the changes in your body that have occurred. Often times the change is gradual and we don’t notice it. But the photos provide indistinguishable proof of your hard work. And, it is nice to see it color so clearly.
9. Don’t tackle it all at once.
You’ve created your fitness routine, and now you want to go gluten-free, vegan, and meal plan all at once. Once we do one thing correctly and consistently, that excitement can get the best of us and we want to make ALL THE CHANGES. And, that is once again just setting us up for failure. If you want to make any outside, but supplemental changes for your healthy lifestyle- take them on one at a time. And adjust if need be.
This is about setting a strong foundation that can handle adding a new block. But, you can’t rush the building process. And, you never know what lifestyle additions will be right for you. Don’t just go gluten-free because your best friend did it successfully. Again, try something and stick with it, and if it’s working for you then develop it into a real habit. We are all about habits, and we want to leave the healthy hype alone.
10. Ok, it’s cold out or it’s so nice out and I don’t want to go to my activity.
I get it, the beach is calling your name, or the 2 feet of snow is deterring you. I have a good trick to up your chances of not falling victim to this. At the beginning of the month, buy a multi-class package/ or pass and schedule the entire month’s classes in one day. Decide the days you are going, book them and put them in your calendar with a reminder.
This comes down to financially holding yourself accountable. You’ve paid for your class, it’s on the books, and this is going to motivate you to show up. If losing your $X amount of dollars isn’t enough set up a penalty for yourself as well. If you miss a class ( that was not an emergency) make yourself venmo your friend or family or charity $X dollars. This will make your motivated to not miss classes you paid for, AND it’s probably embarrassing to do, so you won’t want to make that a habit.
I truly believe when you find an activity you enjoy it changes from a workout that has specific physical goals in mind and transforms into an integral part of your life.
If you are having trouble pinpointing what type of activity you should be trying here are some suggestions.
- What type of movement do you like to do? Do you like to dance in the kitchen? Do you like to run? Do you like to box?
- Did you ever try a sport or activity in high school (or anytime) that you just couldn’t get enough? Try expanding that idea.
- If you have no idea where to start, try joining something like Class Pass and experimenting. This will allow you to affordably try a lot of different style classes without a high price tag.
- Go with a friend. Ask them what they like, and try a class. What is the worst thing that can happen? You are spending time with your friends.
Making a habit out of anything requires you to love what you do, and want to improve upon it. But, you have to remember Rome was not built in a day, so commit but take it slow.
Now, go and conquer your goals. For other lifestyle posts, check out these posts.
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