Whenever you’re committed to a fitness routine, it’s never easy to stay on track. Any fitness goal such as weight loss involves a lot of sacrifices. Nobody is perfect, and given current obesity statistics around the world, it’s safe to say that most people don’t follow a healthy diet and exercise routine. Therefore, to bring a change from that position is really hard and maintaining it is even harder.
Although the benefits of exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are known to almost everyone, people still don’t adopt such a lifestyle. Motivation plays a key role in this. Studies have shown that telling people the benefits of exercise won’t necessarily give them the motivation to do it themselves. That’s true to a large extent. You’ve seen tons of motivational videos, weight loss transformation videos and yet it’s still really hard.
Starting is not the hardest part of any fitness regime. Instead, remaining consistent throughout is much harder. Here are a few tips to stay motivated and remain consistent to keep on track with your fitness goals:
Personalize your workouts
Often when people join group sessions or get a workout plan from someone else, they find it hard. That’s fine, everyone has their own fitness level when they start. For some people, one workout can be really intense or nothing at all. Unfortunately, it’s the former case most of the time.
The number one mistake many people make is starting out too hard. It either scares a lot of people or demotivates them from continuing. People often complain about feeling too sore when they just start out. These are perhaps the main reasons why people stop going to the gym or stop sticking to their routine so early. In order to tackle this issue, one should go at their own pace.
For example, you saw or were recommended a HIIT circuit by someone. The classic case is if you saw a workout on youtube that involved advanced exercises like burpees, leg raises etc. If you try to do this workout, there’s a very high chance you won’t be able to. Many people won’t even be able to perform a pushup or ab crunch properly! I’ve been there and it’s not easy.
Due to our extremely sedentary lifestyle, our bodies don’t remain that strong or mobile to perform such movements. It takes time for the body to build strength and adapt to its new conditions. Therefore, throwing yourself to all the difficult exercises and workouts are just setting yourself up for failure. In the end, you’ll likely quit because “it’s not for me, I’m not made for this”, but that’s because of the wrong approach, nothing else.
Even when some people are physically limited, it’s possible to achieve your fitness goals. It’s all about personalizing your workout and doing something that works for you. There’s a way for people with arthritis to work out as well, it’s all about finding the workarounds for your limitations.
The main goal in the gym or during your workout is to challenge yourself. It does not matter if you’re going to be able to do a burpee or run 1km in 5 mins for that. For some, even performing something as simple as a pushup or pull up will be challenging. Work at your own pace and challenge yourself accordingly, it will yield much better results. When you do that, you’ll also be able to put in more effort in the work you do, because now it’ll be something that you can actually do.
Over time, you’ll start gaining strength after which you can move on to better exercises. Motivation levels tend to increase when people see results. Moreover, if the workout’s personalized for you, then it’ll yield even better results because it’ll be something you can actually do and complete instead of a half-hearted effort. When the motivation is there, consistency is not a problem. Therefore, it’s always better to personalize your workouts to challenge yourself at your own pace.
Set realistic weekly or monthly goals
If your goal is to lose weight, then be realistic about it. Setting a goal to lose 30 kilos in 3 months is just setting yourself up for failure. When you don’t see results like that, it’s very easy to get demotivated and quit altogether. Moreover, the approach where one sets long-term goals is good but can sometimes hurt you. Having gone through it myself, one just waits for the time period to be over but forgets to put in the effort in-between.
One should look at their current fitness level and set goals accordingly. If you’re just starting out, don’t expect to lose a lot so soon. It’ll take time. The best strategy is to take your fitness journey week by week or month by month. Once every week or two check your weight, then readjust your goals accordingly. Over time, you’ll become stronger and more used to working out.
Therefore, sticking to one plan for a long duration won’t help. It’ll become boring as well which will contribute to making you want to quit. So, assess your situation every now and then and readjust.
Make a plan
When you just think about committing to a fitness routine, most of the time it won’t work. There are many obstacles that come in the way, some related to a person’s motivation level and others related to real life constraints. One should account for all the obstacles they face when they’re on their fitness journey.
For example, if your goal is to lose weight then write down whatever obstacles or problems you may face. These problems can be anything from time constraints in real life, issues with cravings, diet etc. After that, make a plan to overcome these obstacles. For example, if you don’t have that much time in a day and are prone to giving in to cravings, then make a plan to work out more in less time. In order to deal with cravings, you can perhaps make a plan to surround yourself with more healthy food than unhealthy food.
Once someone makes a plan and keeps everything organized, it’s much better and easier to follow. A goal-oriented approach with a proper plan can go a long way in ensuring success in your journey.
Reward yourself from time to time
This is something that’s applied almost everywhere outside fitness, it can be applied here too. We are now living in a world where we do things when there’s something to gain. Often employers give incentives to employees who work overtime or extra hard. Those incentives are what motivates the employee in the first place.
Similarly, you must reward yourself every now and then for working hard. I used to have a cheat meal every weekend. Every week, I’d work hard and look forward to that one cheat meal. Setting rewards for yourself really help keep your motivation and commitment up. It works with the weekly or monthly plan approach as one can reward themselves after the end of every week/month.
However, keep in mind that the reward should not go overboard. For example, if you have a cheat meal, make sure you make adjustments for the rest of the day to stay within your caloric requirement. A carefully planned, weekly/monthly reward-based routine can help you power through your fitness journey for as long as you want.