The new year is a popular time for people to set resolutions for themselves. When the ball drops at midnight on New Year’s Eve, many people see it as a fresh start to try something new.
One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to get in shape and work out more. Of course, this is easier said than done.
It’s now just over a month into the new year and resolutions are already starting to be abandoned and tossed to the side.
But don’t throw in the towel yet, here’s a list of five ways to stay motivated this year.
Setting smart, reasonable goals can help you focus and give a clear direction for what you intend to accomplish.
Agostina Franco, a personal trainer at the University of Guelph, said the biggest problem most people have is setting unrealistic goals for themselves.
“If you set an unrealistic goal right off the bat like ‘I’m gonna lose 20 pounds in two weeks’ for example, you are going to get discouraged really quickly because it will never happen,” explained Franco.
Be specific about your exercise plan when you are writing down your goals.
“Saying you want to ‘get in shape’ is very vague compared to something like ‘I will walk every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 30 to 40 minutes,’” said Franco. “This way, you have a plan set in place for how long you will work out and what the exercise is.”
Find a gym buddy
Having a partner to train with not only makes exercise more enjoyable but also holds you accountable. You’re less likely to hit snooze or head home for the night if you know your workout partner is expecting you.
“Ideally, your partner should be in slightly better shape than you are,” explained Brent Cayuga, a fitness coach. “Exercising with someone who is more capable than we are usually motivates us to try harder than we would if we were alone.”
Take progress pictures
Many people give up because they get discouraged when they don’t notice progress right away. Taking pictures is a very useful weight loss tool for measuring progress and keeping you motivated.
Fitness enthusiast Madison Tousaw said taking progress pictures is a smart thing to do.
“Your ‘before’ pictures will be your constant source of motivation,” said Tousaw. “Whenever I am feeling low about my body on a motivational level, I look at my old pictures to remind myself how hard I’ve worked and how far I’ve come.”
This is a great tool to have in your back pocket for days that feel particularly dull.
Celebrate milestones such as sticking to the plan for one week, one month, two months, and so on.
Being rewarded for hard work can be a powerful incentive. It can be something as simple as buying a new piece of clothing or tickets to a concert.
“Your reward shouldn’t always be a fatty meal,” said Tousaw. “You can get your hair and nails done, or go to the movies. Just something to reward yourself for all the hard work!”
Create your own workout playlist
Whether it’s on iTunes, Spotify or another music program, creating the perfect playlist will give you the motivation to get up and get moving.
Working out to the same music over and over again gets old. Find new, up-beat songs to keep you motivated.
“I personally love going to the gym after I download a bunch of new songs on my phone. I am always looking for new mashups to jam to during my workout,” said Cayuga.