If you’ve already given up on your New Year’s Resolution, you’re not alone. One survey found that 55% of respondents kept their New Year’s resolution for less than a year, with 11% lasting less than a month.
If you’ve given up on your fitness goals for this year, you don’t have to wait until the new year to get back on track. It’s never too late to start over.
Fitness Is About More Than Looking Great – Why Fitness Is So Important
Regular exercise can not only improve overall quality of life, but can help you to live longer.
One study found that adults 40 and over who were “active” – that is, they had a physical activity level at or above the recommended 150 minutes of brisk walking per week – lived about 3.4 – 4.5 years longer than those who didn’t. So, even if you’ve never exercised regularly, it’s not too late to benefit from it!
Some other benefits of exercise include:
- Improved brain health
- Weight loss/management
- Reduced risk of heart disease and stroke
- Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
- Reduced risk of several common cancers
- Stronger bones and muscles (especially important as you get older)
How To Stick To Your Fitness Plan – The Science of Staying Motivated
Motivation is what “initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors” – it’s why we do the things we do.
There are two types of motivation: Intrinsic motivation (comes from within, i.e. you want to do something for your own sake) and extrinsic motivation (Comes from outside, like a reward).
Motivation comes easier for some of us and there are several theories as to why.
The theories of motivation are:
- Arousal Theory – If you find something to be pleasing to do, you’re more likely to do it
- Attitude Theory – Your personal feelings toward the task affect your motivation to do it
- Group and Norm Theory – Working in a group, or simply having others around you, will ensure that you work more and harder
- Humanistic Theory – People have cognitive reasons for completing certain goals. For example, we need to meet our basic needs before meeting our emotional, spiritual or social needs
- Incentive Theory – People are driven to do things because of the possibility of outside rewards.
Everyone is different, but many people fall into one of these categories. The real trick to staying motivated is to figure out what works best for you – and then do it consistently.
5 Tips for Staying Motivated To Stick To Your Fitness Plan
1. Reconsider Your Past
If you’re starting a new fitness plan for the third (or tenth) time, think back to your past. What happened in the past that made you decide to quit? Maybe you tried to give up the foods you love most, or went too hard, too fast with your workouts. Make a list of the fitness plans that haven’t worked out for you and why. Then ask yourself, “How can I set myself up for success this time?”
What’s the best way to get in shape? Whatever works for you!
2. Change Your Mindset
Trenola Brooks, CPT, PPSC is a personal trainer and instructor at Raw Fitness here in Austin. After struggling with her weight throughout her adolescence, Trenola arrived at college realizing that with the resources available to her on campus, she could finally make a change. Instead of gaining the “Freshman 15,” Trenola lost 50 pounds and got in shape.
Today, Trenola helps others on their fitness journey. She says that the most important part of staying motivated is mindset. This goes back to the attitude theory of motivation – If you tell yourself that you can, you can do just about anything.
About mindset, Trenola says:
“Always change your mind…You have the power to change your mind. You have the power to think something different, and once you know that you hold that power, once you realize that, you will be unstoppable.”
3. Find Some Support
Remember group and norm theory – the idea that working in a group, or simply having others around you, will keep you accountable?
Having a friend who works out with you can be extremely motivating. When you know someone is waiting for you at the gym, you’re more likely to get out of bed and get down there, rather than let a friend down.
Don’t have anyone who’s able to work out with you? Even having a friend who checks in with you once or twice a week to see how you’re doing can be helpful.
4. Just Get Started
Joe Wicks, a British fitness coach, TV presenter, social media personality and author known as The Body Coach, says that one of the most common questions he gets from people is “How can I get motivated?”
On how to get motivated, Joe says:
“If you are someone who lacks motivation and you know that about yourself, you cannot wait around for the day to come where you just wake up and you suddenly feel super motivated – because it may never come.
What will make the difference is you taking ACTION. What I mean by that is committing to action by saying, “Today I’m going to get up and do 15 minutes of exercise.” Whether it’s a YouTube video, going for a walk, doing a cycle, whatever it may be. That simple action where you’ve told yourself you’re going to do it; you commit to it and you finish it. You’re going to have a massive sense of self-achievement, you’re going to have more energy, it’s going to pick up your mood and that’s going to be the catalyst that you need to get motivated for the rest of the week.
Most people take the view that motivation leads to action. But I believe it’s the opposite.”
5. Reward Yourself
If you’re the type of person who responds to external motivation, like a reward, that’s ok! Whatever works for you is what you should do if you want to see real results.
You can promise yourself a treat for working out and eating healthy throughout the day, like a glass of wine or some chocolate after dinner. You can let yourself have a ‘cheat day’ once a week. You could set up an entire list of rewards (like new clothes or accessories, books, video games or whatever will motivate you) you’ll get for yourself for every 5 pounds you lose, improved health reports from your doctor, etc.
You can even earn money by losing weight! There are several websites and apps out there that allow you to create or join challenges against yourself or others, or even place a bet to potentially win big – if you accomplish your goal.
Treat Yourself After Your Workout – You Deserve It!
Food rewards, like desserts or junk food, can work for some people, but if you think it might cause you to spiral into more unhealthy eating, don’t tempt fate.
Instead, consider rewarding yourself with something that feels good, but is also good for you, like Salt Therapy.
After a workout, Salt Therapy can:
- Reduce the severity of those next-day sore muscles that occur when you start a new workout routine
- Reduce muscle inflammation in general (swelling, soreness and pain)
- Improve your respiratory health, boosting athletic performance, endurance and recovery
- Help you to sleep better
- Relax and Rejuvenate body, mind and soul – Many people who’ve tried Salt Therapy have reported an instant and lingering feeling of peace, reduced worry and stress, and an all-over feeling of physical and mental relaxation – a sense of letting go