One of the questions that I receive a lot has to do with motivation. People want to know how I stay motivated to workout, especially being as busy as I am.
The long answer is that it’s definitely not easy, and there are times when I feel I fail miserably. But I can honestly say that I’ve found some secrets to helping myself stay motivated, focused, and on track more times than not over the years.
So, to answer those questions, I’ve put together a short list of 5 ways I stay motivated to exercise and how they work for me!
5 Ways to Stay Motivated & On Track With Your Workouts
Plan your outfits ahead of time
It may sound silly, but planning your outfit ahead of time is essential. Not only is it saving you time the next day, but because you’re not rushing, it allows you a few extra moments to really put together something you’ll feel good in. Knowing that you’re going to be showing off your fave workout gear will help motivate you to actually put that gear on and go show it off in the gym.
I like to set aside my outfit the night before, and get my gym bag packed; gym shoes, water bottle, ear buds, headband, jacket, etc. – everything that I’ll need already packed and ready to go so it saves me time in the morning and I’m less likely to back out.
Setting rewards can have a huge impact on sticking to your plan and helping you achieve those goals. Keep in mind, it’s essential to choose non-food related rewards, because otherwise you can easily run the risk of sabotaging all that hard work, and learning to reward your mind and body with something other than food is essential for any lifestyle change.
These can be anything (other than food), and set at any time. For example, you may say that if you workout five times this next week, you’ll treat yourself to a fresh manicure.
Or if you hit the gym 20 times this month, you’re going to buy yourself a cute new water bottle, or a fancy new bubble bath and have a mini spa night at home.
The prizes can really be anything, big or small, set at any point in time. Just again – be aware of choosing non-food options for your rewards. Make sure that they’re something you truly want, and be stern with yourself. If you don’t achieve that goal, you don’t get that prize.
When I was doing the Whole30, I set goals for myself each week, because I was worried I would get tired of the eating plan and start to stray. For the first seven days, a manicure was up for grabs. A new book was the prize for week two, and honestly I can’t remember what I set for the remainder of the 30 days because it became second nature that I actually forgot about my reward system.
It’s so important to choose workouts that will challenge you, but that you’ll also enjoy doing. If you hated yoga, it wouldn’t do you any good to sign up for a yoga membership, because chances are you’re not going to go.
Experiment with different fitness studios in your area, or with different home workouts if that’s the route you’re going. Take time exploring methods you like, and don’t be afraid to switch it up.
When I first got into CrossFit, I loved it so much that I trained six days per week every week. I didn’t do anything else. Eventually, I became so burnt out that I started to dislike it, so I stopped going.
Fast forward about nine months and I’m back at CrossFit, but I’m supplementing those workouts with running, and yoga, and some weight training – all things that I enjoy.
The point is, if you’re not having fun, you’re going to have a hard time staying committed. Find a workout that you love, and spend your time focusing on improving.
Write it down/schedule it
Life gets BUSY. I am the first person to admit that, and if I’m not being intentional with my schedule and planning, I wouldn’t exercise – ever. Take some time at the beginning of every week – I do this on Sundays, and write out your schedule for the week, including when you’ll complete your workouts. Seeing it as part of your day and part of your schedule will help you stay on track and committed to making it happen.
Change your mindset
Stop looking at each workout with dread and something you “have” to do. Instead, start looking at it as something you “get” to do.
Stop looking at a workout as punishment for your food choices, and instead, as a celebration of your body. You’re not exercising because you have to, you’re exercising because you get to. Sound familiar?
This especially helps when you’re choosing something that is fun – you’ll be excited to go spend those 30 or 60 or however many minutes doing something you’ll enjoy.
Another thing, and I mentioned this recently in an Instagram post, is stop looking at exercise as this big complicated thing. There is no set time, there are no set number of repetitions; you don’t have to sweat a certain amount or burn a set number of calories for it to count. If you only have fifteen minutes, use them! It’s not always about quantity, but rather the quality.
There are days that I go to CrossFit and I bust my butt for an hour and I leave feeling like I had an amazing workout. And then there are days where I only have twenty minutes so I do a fast bodyweight circuit at home, and I leave feeling like I had an amazing workout.
Stop looking at your workouts the way you’re used to. Instead, start looking at them with a fresh perspective. A chance to do something amazing for your mind and body, and you’ve been blessed enough to have been given however many minutes each day to do so.
Instead of walking away feeling like you had to take “too many breaks,” walk away feeling accomplished, and proud of what your body just did. Start celebrating each and every workout because you are amazing.
Natasha Funderburk is a wife, #boymom, NASM-Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Consultant, and ACE-Behavior Change Specialist. When not watching her son play baseball, she can be found on various writing platforms, coaching her clients to live their best lives, drinking all the coffee, and conducting living-room dance parties.