Part of the problem with those New Years fitness resolutions? For some, they can be hard to stick with.
A lot of people start out their new fitness goals with zeal, excited for what's to come. Sadly, whether it's time, money, energy, or a simple lack of interest, many people fizzle out and just go back to their normal routine by the third week.
Yet, we all know those people that have an undying passion for fitness, health, and the gym. Is it biological? A little. Is it motivational? Mostly. Is it habit? Absolutely.
Their habits are fairly simple, yet you can easily adopt these habits for yourself to get motivated and stay on track.
1. Keep it real.
No matter how hard you try, you can't go from a couch potato with a desk job to Black Widow overnight. You need to keep your expectations and your goals realistic while you set out on your fitness journey. You also need to make it a part of your lifestyle, not just another item on your to-do list. "Make your fitness routine an organic part of your lifestyle," yoga guru and author Sadie Nardini says. "Create each day (or so) around something healthy you can fit in without having to make sweeping changes. Start naturally. After work, go for a walk. Or do 20 minutes of yoga that challenges you without overwhelming your body. Increase if and when it feels possible, but allow yourself to look at the big picture, and take actions that will benefit [you for the long haul], not just the smaller moment at hand."
2. Don't wait until you're bored to change it up.
Probably one of the biggest reasons so many people fizzle out of their fitness goals is simply because they become bored--don't wait for that to happen! Continually change up your routine so you'll never get bored and you'll always have that excited feeling before a workout. Case in point, Denise Mast, president of New York Adventure Racing Association, has been finding new fitness challenges since the 1990s. "Mix up what you're doing," Mast advises. "There's so much out there. After years and years of running I discovered adventure racing. That got me into mountain biking and paddling. Now I do boot camp and obstacle races. Before you find you're getting bored, find something else that interests you."
3. Participate in events.
If you're having trouble with a long-term goal to set, or you know that you need something to strive for to keep yourself going, there's no better option than awesome events. There are things like "Zombie Run," where you sign up as either a zombie that chases people through a long course, or you're a runner and have to run away from the zombies through the course. You'll have to train, of course, but there's a very solid end-time goal--plus, you already bought your ticket, so you have to train, right? "You don't need to do a full Ironman triathlon or a marathon," Ann Marie Miller, a USA Cycling Level 2 Licensed Coach at Chelsea Piers, says. "Start with more attainable goals like a 5K Fun Run or Walk, a Sprint Triathlon or a Charity bike ride. Charity rides usually offer multiple distances, so you can choose the ride that's the right length for you."
4. Pair up with a friend.
An oldie but a goodie: working out with a friend and sprinkling in some healthy competition can be an amazing motivational tool. "I met someone who I had to work really hard to keep up with," says Chelsey Magness, a professional acrobat. "I wanted to see how long it would take until [he was] working hard to keep up with me." She says that training, playing and exploring together helps them stay fit as a couple, physically as well as mentally and emotionally.
5. Set goals.
If nothing else, the most important thing you need is a goal. "Setting short-term goals allows you to stay motivated," says former professional ice skater Jason Cotnoir, adding, "leave yesterday behind. Don't let your past missteps affect your present. Many people get discouraged if they miss a workout or eat something they were trying to avoid. When this happens, people tend to feel like a failure [which] can quickly derail you from your goals. It's important to know that you can only control what happens today!"
6. The "Fame Principle."
No matter your level of fitness, a personal trainer can be an amazing motivator, and they can also ensure that you'll get the results you're seeking. "No matter who you are it's easy to get in a rut," says Robert L. Kirchner, my father, and owner of the Holiday Health and Racquet Club. "Celebrities hire trainers to keep them motivated, so can you. You can hire a pro at any gym at just about any budget, and it will inspire your routine."
7. Don't just exercise.
No matter what you decide to do, try to do something you love. Whether it's gathering your friends for a hike of soccer game, training for the Zombie Run, or practicing yoga, you need to like what you're doing or you won't want to keep doing it.
What do you think of these motivational tips? Let us know what you think in the comments!
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