Many of us want to make healthier lifestyle choices, but struggle to find motivation—especially when it comes to starting and maintaining a fitness regimen.
If you’re one of those people, give yourself some grace. Your intentions are in the right place. Research shows that willpower is a finite resource—we have a limited amount in a given period of time—and if you use it up (on not cutting people off in traffic, on not raising your voice to your children, on not telling your boss what you really think), you’ll have to restore your reserves before you can will yourself to do something extra, like engage in a workout.
But what if you didn’t have to rely solely on willpower?
What if you could deploy tricks and strategies to make it easier?
Here are a few ideas:
The fewer (proverbial) hoops you have to jump through to get to your workout, the easier it’ll be to get it done. Striving for morning exercise? Lay your whole exercise outfit out the night before. (Maybe even sleep in it.)
Choose a fitness facility that’s convenient to work, home, or in between. Bonus points if its location allows you to tie it in with another activity, such as breakfast, getting some work done, or even happy hour.
Find an accountability partner
It’s easier to hit a 6:00 a.m. workout class if a buddy is counting on you to be there with them. Don’t have a workout buddy in mind? Join a group fitness class and find a new workout buddy.
The ultimate accountability: make an appointment with a personal trainer. Pay in advance. With your integrity and your investment on the line, you’re more likely to show up.
Make it fun
Too many of us associate exercise with pain at worst, and an unpleasant obligation at best. Yet, when we were kids, we probably loved exercising—even if we didn’t think of it as exercise at all. You can reclaim that spirit of fun and joy in movement. All you need to do is find something you truly enjoy doing. If you like it and look forward to it, you’re much more likely to do it.
Throw out what you think you “should” be doing and experiment. Maybe you’ll get hooked on spin, or yoga sculpt (or gentle yoga), or weightlifting, or swimming, or tennis…the possibilities are endless. Don’t stop until you’re in love.