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Setting goals, Staying motivated

Top ways to stay motivated to exercise

It’s a rather long time since January 1st and many people will have seen their New Year’s resolutions come and go since then. Even with the best laid plans it can be hard to stay motivated, but combining a number of strategies may help you to keep going with that fitness regime.

Set goals

While it’s good to exercise simply to keep fit this rather vague idea can prevent you from keeping to an exercise plan. Think about the things you’d like to achieve and by when to move your fitness journey forward. Striving for something will mean you don’t stop.

Be realistic

Just as goals are important, it’s vital that they are achievable, because you will become demoralised if they remain out of reach. Achieving such a balance is difficult, but can be one of the biggest motivating factors.

Exercise with friends

Peer pressure is a strong force and it’s amazing how many of us won’t let our friends down when we would happily duck out of exercise even though it’s good for us. Agreeing to go to a fitness class with a friend or even organising a time to jog around the block feels like a commitment we can’t break.

Follow the positive vibes

It’s amazing how positivity rubs off on others, so surround yourself with people who are enthusiastic about getting fit. Before you know it, you’ll be saying seriously upbeat things about your own workout and looking forward to your gym sessions.

Get competitive

Whether you’re a fan of team sports or prefer to exercise on your own, turn it into a competition. It doesn’t matter if there’s an actual prize at the end or you just want the satisfaction of lapping the person next to you, this will spur you on.

Change your exercise mindset

Exercise shouldn’t be something that you fit in when you have time, but be an important part of your weekly routine. Set time aside for it and schedule it into your diary so that other activities can’t push it down your list of priorities.

Build in rewards

Many people respond better to the carrot than the stick, so plan in rewards for yourself when you reach your goals. These can be especially motivating when they’re related to your exercise. Treat yourself to a new pair of running shoes or update your workout playlist to reward yourself.

Write down how you feel after a workout

It’s easy to forget what the post-workout highs feel like when you haven’t exercised for a while, so jot down three words to describe your mood straight after breaking a sweat. Pull the list out the next time you’re thinking about skipping the gym and all those emotions will come flooding back.

Make it beautiful

Getting up a little bit earlier to coincide your morning jog with the sunrise will make you much happier to pull on your trainers. Choose a route for your bike ride that takes you past spring flowers coming into bloom. Both of these are examples of taking the focus away from the exercise itself and enjoying the added benefits.

Track your progress

Seeing how far you’ve come is a great way to make you go further. There are lots of different ways to track your progress, but simply jotting down the distances or times you achieved on certain dates will remind you of how your fitness is growing. Keep track in a book, on a chart or even a spreadsheet – whatever suits you.

Put on your gym kit

When all else fails, just put on your workout clothes and see how you feel. The chances are you’ll feel quite silly if you don’t do some exercise once you’re dressed for it, so even if you just go for a very short run, you will have achieved something.

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