Finding motivation to get fit

When it comes to exercising, eating right and getting fit, it can be a case of ‘easier said than done’.  Finding the motivation to put plans into actions is an important part of achieving results and being successful in your goals.  Here are a few things that you can do to give you drive to get out of bed and go to the gym:

Think about why you want to get fit

Ask yourself why you want to get fit so your motivation is based around what you want to achieve.  Do you want more energy? Do you want to feel more comfortable in your own skin?  Do you want to lose weight for a special event?  Are you trying to avoid a lifestyle-related disease like diabetes or cardiovascular disease?  Do you want to be able to keep up with your kids and do the things that your current fitness level prevents you from doing? Find your reason and use it to provoke you into action.

It’s also a good idea to think about how badly you want to get fit as this will determine the goals you set and the actions you take to meet those goals.  Are you making a change for yourself or someone else, and what are you prepared to do to achieve your goals?  Many people who have successfully achieved fitness talk about experiencing that light bulb moment – the sudden realisation that what you want is more important than sitting on the couch or eating that iced donut.

Set specific, realistic goals 

You’ve probably heard this a million times but establishing goals that are specific, measurable and attainable gives you something to work towards and are an excellent form of motivation.

Instead of setting a vague goal, such as ‘lose weight’, commit to losing 5kgs in two months.  You may want to make a list of mini-goals so you can monitor your progress.  The goal of running 1km could be the first mini-goal towards the ultimate goal of running 10km.  Reaching mini-goals will allow you to feel that sense of achievement throughout your journey, which is an excellent confidence booster.  Start small and build up to fitness success.

It’s also a great idea to have your goals displayed somewhere where you can see them every day, like on the fridge or on your desk at work. Images of athletes, fit bodies and inspirational quotes are also effective to incite motivation.

Reward yourself when you achieve a goal…

…and not with half a chocolate mudcake!  Make a list of non-food treats and when you achieve one of your mini-goals, give yourself a little piece of happiness.  Get a manicure, go check out that film at IMAX, buy that dress or DVD.

Sometimes the satisfaction of achieving a goal is enough, but tactile rewards can give you the motivation to keep going.

Go through all your excuses and exterminate them – one by one!  

You’re too busy? Look at your schedule and make time.  It all comes back to how badly you want to achieve your goals.  Is there an activity that you can sacrifice? Can you wake up earlier and go to the gym? Can you go for a walk at lunchtime? If you are looking for change, then you will have to make changes to your lifestyle or it will remain the same.

Don’t know what to do at the gym? Learn!  There are always staff at the gym who are willing to show you how to use the exercise machines.  You can always sign up for a personal training session, or watch exercise videos online.

Not seeing results as quickly as you want? It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen with consistency and commitment.  It takes time for your body to change, be patient and you will be rewarded.

Get a workout/accountability buddy 

Sometimes it’s nice to have someone there to motivate and workout with you, especially if they have the same goals.  You will more likely show up for workouts because you don’t want to disappoint your buddy.

If you prefer to workout alone, consider an accountability buddy – someone who is there to support and motivate you.  This can be a friend or family member, or you may want to start a blog or diary and note down your plans and progress.  Be honest with yourself (and your accountability buddy) if you want to stay on track.

Exercise should be fun, not a chore! 

Nothing makes a workout more enjoyable than your own playlist of favourite tunes that gets you pumped and energised.  It’s also important to do exercises that you enjoy, whether it’s running the streets solo, hiking through the hills or playing a competitive team sport.  If you don’t like swimming, then avoid going to the pool to workout.  Make a list of activities that you love doing and mix it up.

It takes a while for new activities to form into habits so if you stick to it and remain consistent, fitness will become a part of your life.  If you do fall off the wagon, don’t be too hard on yourself and definitely don’t give up.  Remember why you started in the first place and give it another shot.