Everyone knows fitness and health are important. But even for people who are religious about working out, there are days it is hard to make yourself do it or even find the time. And if you’re just starting off on a fitness journey, it’s difficult too! Everyone is juggling commitments like family, a social life, home upkeep, maybe work, or volunteering. I know fitness is supposed to be in the mix but adding it, and keeping it going, can seem like a monumental task. These tips were used during the 30-day fitness challenge in the private Prime Women Facebook group to motivate one another. They helped us make time and find the fitness motivation we needed to make health a priority, and now they can help you too.
Scheduling an exercise date with a friend adds fun and accountability to your fitness plan. Three ways I put this tip into action in my own life:
In my life, if it’s not on my calendar, it’s not happening. In fact, I’m spinning so many plates between my coaching clients, workshops, retreat, family time, home upkeep, etc… There’s no way I’d make a coffee date with a friend and not write it on my calendar pronto! Can you relate? So why would you decide to work out and not write it on your calendar?
Sometimes I work out in honor of someone in my life who cannot enjoy the activity I’m about to do with me. For example, when I play tennis, I might think to myself, “This one’s for Mom.” Back when I was a kid, my mom loved playing tennis but hasn’t been able to for a year between shoulder pain and now her worsening dementia. So I play for her.
What is your why when it comes to working out? What was your original fitness motivation? Knowing your why is so much more motivating and meaningful that just thinking that you “have to,” “need to,” or “should” for some nebulous, unnamed reason.
Sometimes if I don’t feel like getting out for my walk or run, I’ll go ahead and put on my leggings, sports bra, top, jacket, and running shoes. It certainly works better than hanging out in my pjs, robe, and slippers waiting for motivation to strike! It’s a little Pavlovian. My brain thinks, Hey! We’re wearing workout clothes. Shouldn’t we at least take the dog for a walk or something?
Creating a fitness plan and working to be the healthiest, happiest version of you that you can be is fantastic! That being said, remember to not push yourself past the point of healthy. Listen to your body.
Your mind can be your best friend or your worst enemy when it comes to exercise. For example, by simply telling 44 hotel maids that the work they did each day involved some serious exercise, the Harvard psychologists Ellen Langer and Alia J. Crum were apparently able to lower the women’s blood pressure, shave pounds off their bodies, and improve their body-fat ratios. Each time I take the stairs in my home, I think to myself, “This counts as exercise!”
Giving yourself small, healthy rewards for your workout efforts makes for a fun way to keep up your motivation. For example, you might celebrate making it to yoga class with a nice bubble bath or picking up a healthy pre-made dinner rather than cooking that night. To celebrate a larger goal, you might treat yourself to a deluxe pedicure, massage, or a new piece of workout wear.
While I’m generally not a fan of multitasking, when doubling up on fitness time, I’m all in! Look for ways to weave simple exercises into your day while accomplishing other tasks.
Do you ever feel stuck or resistant when it comes to some part of your workout routine? One of my magic action questions I have my coaching clients ask themselves when they feel stuck or resistant is, “How can I make this easier or more doable?”
Recently my client, Jen, who had resistance to using her treadmill, decided she’d try hopping on first thing in the morning while barefoot and still wearing her pajamas for just ten minutes. It worked! Sometimes eliminating even the smallest of barriers, in this case, putting on workout clothes and walking shoes, is all you need to help you get started!
One of the top five predictors of whether or not someone will stick with their fitness routine is accountability. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
How do you talk about your fitness routines? Do you routinely say things such as, I need to exercise more, I have to get to the gym this week, or I should be better about working out? Using the phrases ‘need to,’ ‘have to,’ and ‘should’ can unintentionally add pressure, shame, and resistance to your workout plan. They can even start to make experiences you’d normally look forward to feel like a chore. Practice intentionally and use phrases like I get to, I choose to, and I am.
Do you remember L’oreal’s slogan, “…because I’m worth it,” from the 1970s? It’s a great example of an empowering mantra. It did a great job of empowering women to spend money on their hair color needs with a brand that was seen as the most expensive of do-it-yourself at the time. Creating your own workout mantra can empower you to stick with your exercise goals. If you need help choosing a fitness motivation mantra, try one of these: