If you are having a hard time sticking to a fitness routine or achieving our fitness goals, you are not alone. In fact, studies show that about 80% of people who try to stick to a new workout routine fail at doing so.
Fitness is just as mental as it is physical, and the ability to stick to a new plan and stay motivated – whether it is yoga, weightlifting, swimming, or running — determines how you perform in other aspects of life.
Plus, the more you exercise, the more you can improve your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being, as well as your overall fitness level.
The only problem is, how can you motivate yourself to stick to a workout plan when all you can think of is a million excuses why you don’t have time to exercise.
Thankfully, we have the answers to this problem. Keep on reading to learn some tips and tricks from the pros on how to stick to a regular exercise routine when you really do not feel like it.
1. Think Of a Reason Bigger than Yourself
One of the major reasons why people have a hard time sticking to a regular workout schedule is because they are stuck in a small-minded mentality. Society often seems designed to separate us from each other, making us focus on our own petty problems.
The truth is that we are a part of something so much bigger than ourselves.
In order to be successful with an exercise routine, you need to set a purpose that is greater than yourself.
That’s right, there is more of a reason to work out than to tone and stretch your body.
Think of it as your gift to others, when you are more physically fit and have more energy, you are able to help others much more.
Let’s say you love to volunteer at orphanages, but your lack of fitness prevents you from being able to help all the children, causing some of them to not receive care.
This reason alone is enough to help you get up and push through the mental and physical barriers that otherwise would have stopped you from completing your workouts.
2. Be Aware of the Chatter
Perhaps one of the most discouraging parts of starting a new workout routine is having to listen to your inner chatter.
Inner thoughts (AKA your ego) will pop up and start to say things such as “I am lazy”, or “I have no idea what I am doing, I may as well give up now”. It will also come up with the wackiest excuses for why you should not workout.
The trick is to become aware of this demotivating chatter and give yourself some compassion. Your ego is just trying to prevent you from failing; so have self-compassion, thank it for doing so, and then choose to not listen to it.
3. Mix Up Your Workout Routine
Fitness does not need to be a one-size-fits-all approach. In fact, when most people approach it that way, their bodies can become imbalanced due to performing the same movements all the same.
Instead, mix it up by discovering multiple different forms of workout routines which will stimulate different muscle groups and provide a well-rounded routine.
There are five main types of exercise: Aerobic exercise, strength building, endurance training, flexibility, and balance training. Certain forms of exercise like yoga can target all five types, so it is essential to incorporate yoga into your workout routine.
There are thousands of different ways to exercise, and it is all about finding what you enjoy, so you will stick to it!
Some examples of different types of workout routines are:
- Trying out all the different forms of yoga; Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Yin, Ying-Yang, etc.
- Attending an aerobics class; such as step, HIIT, cardio, or spin.
- Signing up for a dance class; like hip-hop, burlesque, jazz, modern, swing, or whatever you like.
- Trying new equipment at the gym; if you are used to the treadmill, try out the step climber or elliptical.
- Try out a new team sport; check out your local recreation center and sign up for drop-in soccer, basketball, volleyball, squash, or whatever interests you!
- Go for a hike; spending some time in mother nature can have incredible benefits for your overall health, such as lowering cancer risks, lower blood pressure, and reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Try swimming; swimming is an incredibly challenging cardiovascular exercise that causes little to no strain on your joints. If you have any injuries, swimming is a great way to gently overcome them.
4. Set the Bar Low
A major mistake that many people make when trying to stick to a workout schedule is setting up an unrealistic plan that’s difficult to follow. Going from zero to hero in the course of a week seems like a great vision, but it is not a plan you’re likely to be able to stick with.
Instead of trying to go from nothing to working out 5-6 days a week, try working out 2-3 times per week and going from there. As you build up confidence and establish a habit of exercising, you can increase frequency, duration, and/or intensity bit by bit.
If that is too easy, aim for a plan that involves you exercising thirty minutes per day. This can include at-home workouts or online yoga classes in the mornings.
5. Find an Accountability Partner
If you are having a hard time keeping yourself accountable, try incorporating someone else into your workout routine.
It is much harder to back out of a workout when you have someone else counting on you. Plus it is much more enjoyable to share your fitness journey and spend quality time with someone else, encouraging each other along the way.
Find a friend who is as dedicated as you are to getting results, and make a pact with each other for support.
If you cannot find a friend, there are many places to meet new fitness friends such as (you got it!) the gym or a yoga studio. There are many people who are in the same position as you who would love a workout buddy too.
If you prefer to workout alone, try signing up for a class that you have to pay for ahead of time — money is a great incentive for sticking to a workout routine!
6. Use Visualization Techniques
Many professional athletes such as Muhammad Ali, Tiger Woods, and Arnold Schwarzenegger routinely use visualization before a competition and during their practice.
If you can see it and believe it, you can more readily achieve it.
Visualization is a powerful tool that many elite athletes have been using for centuries. According to a recent study, people who carried out virtual workouts in their heads on top of their gym routine were able to build 30% more muscle mass.
Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and visualize every part of your workout routine in your mind. See yourself performing a perfect downward dog and increasing your flexibility with every single practice.
For the gym, visualize yourself performing perfect pushups and doing more weight lifting repetitions each time you go.
Use all of your senses, including how it feels both physically and emotionally, to visualize achieving your goals. Imagine the sights, smells, and other sensations that accompany a workout.
The more immersed you become in your visualization, the more helpful it will be in realizing your goals.
7. Be Flexible (Not Just in Postures!)
Even the best workout plans can go sideways when life gets in the way. Family, work, and other responsibilities can sometimes affect your ability to stick to your scheduled workout routine.
The most important thing to remember is to have some self-compassion towards yourself. Don’t beat yourself up because you missed a workout. Instead, figure out how you can get back on track or try to do something wherever you are.
If you have to miss a week of working out due to travel, figure out how you can stay healthy during traveling by making smarter meal choices and doing an online workout or yoga routine in your hotel room.
8. Use Positive Language
If your motive for working out is because you dislike your body, you are going to have a hard time sticking to the routine.
Replace the negative motivation with more empowering words such as “I respect myself enough to keep going”.
If something feels uncomfortable, think of it as a good challenge, and get excited for what’s to come on the other side of that challenge.
The grass is greener on the positive side of motivation. By approaching your goals with a feeling of self-love, you are already winning.
9. Remember to Have Fun!
Perhaps the most important trick in the book for sticking to a workout routine is to remember to have fun! This may sound obvious, but it is overlooked by many people who approach fitness way too seriously.
If you hate running, don’t force yourself to go running! If you dislike spin class, do not go to spin class! Instead, find what you enjoy (like yoga!) and stick to it.
Feeling Motivated To Stick to Your Workout Routine? Here is What’s Next!
Are you feeling more motivated to stick to your workout routine?
If you are feeling ready to take on a new challenge and discover what the best type of workout is for you, check out more articles on our blog that cover topics such as yoga, nutrition, and meditation.