Exercise is an incredible form of mental training. When you push yourself physically and overcome self-imposed limits, your mind begins to realize that there is no limit to what you can achieve.
Ultimately, success in life comes down to dedication and consistency. This is the key to reaching your fitness goals.
Make it a Priority
A big hurdle that many people face is simply finding the time to work out. But when you commit to making exercise a priority, the energy, motivation, and everything else will fall into place.
Start by determining exactly what you want to get out of your workouts. Having clear goals and the knowledge of how they will benefit you will make them much more rewarding. It also helps to have a schedule that you can follow. Just like you might have a meeting or appointment on your calendar, consider putting your workouts on there as well. This will help to make them seem more important and will give you a visual reminder that you need to do them.
Then choose a time that works best for your schedule. If you enjoy getting a workout in first thing in the morning, do it then. If you need a little pick-me-up during the day, do a quick and simple workout at work. Everyone has a different routine that they prefer, so find what works for you and make it a part of your daily life.
Once you’ve set a time to work out, don’t let anything else interrupt it unless it is an absolute emergency. If possible, make it a social commitment by telling someone else about your plans to work out. This will hold you accountable and may even give you a sense of obligation to stick with your workouts.
Make it a Fun Activity
Most experts will tell you to set a specific time to exercise every day and stick with it. While that’s broad advice, you’re much more likely to stick with a workout program if it’s something you enjoy.
If you’re unsure where to start, try enlisting the help of a fitness professional who can introduce you to activities that fit your personality and abilities. You may also find motivation in setting process goals that are easy to accomplish, like increasing your running distance by a half mile each week or adding 15 seconds to your plank each day.
Finally, make it a priority to set out your workout clothes the night before and wear them when working from home to increase the likelihood of getting your session in. This simple act will remind you of how good you feel when you do it. Also, if you’re feeling discouraged or overwhelmed, commit to exercising with someone else to keep you accountable or to check in on your progress.
Make it a Challenge
Creating a workout routine that challenges you is an excellent way to stay motivated. This can be as simple as taking a longer walk than usual or adding on an extra few reps of an exercise.
Listening to a podcast, uplifting music, motivational speeches or meditating during a workout can also make the activity more enjoyable. It’s also helpful to keep a journal or log of your progress as this increases accountability.
Everyone has their own unique exercise routine. For Microsoft founder Bill Gates, it’s an hour on the treadmill while he watches educational DVDs, while Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey starts his day with a seven-minute workout and meditation session. Finding what works for you may take some trial and error, but it is well worth the effort.
Make it a Habit
Most experts will tell you to make exercise a priority, especially first thing in the morning, and stick with it. That’s great advice, but it’s also important to find your own approach that works for you. For some, it’s a short workout before work while others might choose to do their workouts in the afternoon or evening. Whatever you do, start small and take it day by day.
If you struggle with motivation, try incorporating intrinsic motivation into your routine. Intrinsic motivation is a more sustainable form of motivation, and it’s one that will allow you to enjoy the process of becoming fitter and stronger. It’s not about achieving a certain body image, but rather the feeling that comes with having more energy and seeing the results of your hard work.
Another way to keep the momentum going is by removing any obstacles that can get in your way of exercising regularly. For example, if you’re not a morning person, avoid undermining your new routine by making sure to set out your workout clothes the night before. Or if you tend to skip your workout if you go straight home after work, consider keeping your Tonal gym bag in your car so that you can head out as soon as you’re back. You can also use a calendar or other app to schedule your exercise and mark it as an appointment that you can’t cancel.