Right – the time is upon us, New Year has arrived and we start making those promises to ourselves about how we’ll be thinner, fitter and ready for the beach by March.
However, when the reality hits we realise we can’t actually commit to our regime that we’ve drawn up for ourselves, we can’t turn down that session in the pub with friends, and we’d rather chill out on the sofa watching the soaps.
There are many reasons we can’t snap into action that easily after Christmas. Often because we set our targets too high, too soon, and therefore goals seem out of reach.
So for those of you that really do want to make the change in 2014 for a slimmer, toned beach body, here are the top ways to get motivated to hit the gym and stay there.
- Ease yourself in. It’s so easy to become over-enthusiastic about your new lifestyle and all too often it ends in tears. You’ve probably spent Christmas overindulging in food and under-indulging in exercise, so start with once a week in the gym, and maybe a couple of brisk walks a day. You can work up, that’s easier than having to scale down and become disheartened after just a couple of weeks.
- Make it fun. Exercising doesn’t have to be a solitary pastime, but many people go to the gym alone. If you want to have a bit more fun, involve your mates and challenge each other to reach certain goals. Not only will you be more motivated to go the gym/swimming pool/dance class, but you’ll also feel that healthy buzz of competition.
- Accept that you will occasionally fail. The biggest mistake people make when on the road to a slimmer, buffer body, is that they think the weight will continue to drop off and the muscle will pile on. The fact of the matter is that we’re all human and there will be days where you eat slightly more pie than is entirely necessary, and when the red wine bottle calls louder than you’d anticipated. It’s normal to slip back into bad habits on occasion, and you’ll no doubt have days when you simply can’t be bothered to go to the gym. This is okay. Just make sure you go the next time around.
- Reward yourself. Give yourself a goal and then when you reach it, give yourself a treat. Best not to make it a lardy cake or the leftovers of the Christmas pudding, but perhaps a DVD or a beauty treatment to make yourself feel really good. The little boosts you give yourself for making headway will help you to keep on the straight and narrow of your new fitness plan.
- Don’t make it a chore. Find an activity you enjoy if you don’t particularly like working out in the gym. It might be that you’re more inclined to go swimming or if you’re more dance motivated then there are plenty of classes to join in with. The thing with gyms is they’re not just about the treadmill. There are plenty of classes and activities, sport teams, and individual activities that you can get involved with.
- Keep pushing yourself. It can become really easy to get stuck in a rut, and if you don’t keep pushing yourself to the next level, then exercising can become dull and you’ll become unmotivated. Also, if you don’t keep pushing then your fitness levels won’t increase and you will stop seeing improvements in your physique and strength.
- Music. Uplifting, upbeat, catchy and rhythmical, music can really help when it comes to motivating you to work out. Take a set of headphones to the gym if they have music TV you can plug into, or take your own music player for a run, or even a swim as they do make waterproof stereos and headphones especially for the pool.
- Get support. Tell your relatives and friends what you’re hoping to achieve from your fitness and health goals. Ask them to support you in your quest and you’ll find it’s much easier to avoid the perils of alcohol and cake. If those around you can understand what you’re trying to do then they are far more likely to support you – and they may even want to get involved themselves.
- Reminders. If you give yourself prompts as to why you’re doing this then you’ll gently nudge yourself in the right direction. A picture of that new top you’d love to buy when you reach a certain weight, or the details of a competition or race that you’d like to enter when you’re fit enough. All these things can help to just keep you on the straight and narrow.
- Mind over matter. If you’re feeling good then you’re more likely to do things that are good for you, so instead of beating yourself up for the things you’ve done wrong, praise yourself for the small steps you’ve taken to change your lifestyle. Roll on summer.