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For those of you following along with me on this blog and on my socials, you know that I recommitted to my mental wellness this past January. Part of that process has also been to make a commitment to myself for physical exercise. For me, a Fitness Journey has always been in lockstep with a mental wellness journey. I absolutely feel my best when I’m active several times a week, stretching regularly, and walking every day. I have a very sedentary job at times, so it has been important to me to find ways to make time in my schedule for regular activity.
With summer in full swing, I have felt my motivation slipping at times, as fun activities and time with friends and family can interrupt the time I set aside to work out. It’s easy to feel motivated at the beginning when you commit to a routine, but as time goes on and the initial excitement wears off, it can be difficult to stay motivated and continue making progress. So much of what I want to attain with my fitness routine is felt on the inside: strength, mental clarity, energy, decreased anxiety. I don’t want to let a period full of distractions get in the way of all the progress I’ve made!
“Success” with working out looks and feels differently to different people. I’ve had to re-motivate myself a lot recently, and I’ve been thinking about different things that help me stay on track. Here are my best tips for staying motivated during a fitness journey.
1. Set realistic goals
One of the keys to staying motivated is setting realistic goals. When you set goals that are too ambitious, it’s easy to get discouraged when you don’t see progress as quickly as you’d like. Start by setting small, achievable goals that will help you build momentum and confidence. For example, aim to walk for 20 minutes a day or complete a certain number of push-ups or squats. Something that’s worked well for me is to commit to 3 45-minute workouts a week. That number feels realistic for me in a seven-day period. If I can get more activity in, then great!
2. Find a workout buddy
Working out with a friend or family member can make exercising more fun and enjoyable. It’s also a great way to stay accountable and motivated. When you have a workout buddy, you’re more likely to show up for your workout and push yourself harder. Plus, you can celebrate each other’s successes, and offer support and encouragement when things get tough or you feel unmotivated. Ian and I love working out on the Tonal together in their two-person workout system, and it acts like a little date for us right at home!
3. Mix up your routine
Doing the same workout day in and day out can get boring and make it harder to stay motivated. Mix up your routine by trying new exercises, adding in different types of workouts, or changing up the intensity. This will not only keep things interesting, but it can also help prevent injuries and plateauing. I love mixing Tennis and Pickleball into my list of activities– and I’m thinking about joining a local dance class, too!
4. Reward yourself
It’s important to celebrate your progress and reward yourself along the way. When you reach a milestone or achieve a goal, treat yourself to something you enjoy! This can be something as simple as taking a relaxing bath or buying yourself a new workout outfit. I just got myself new workout sneakers after having the same ones for YEARS. The key is to find rewards that motivate and inspire you to keep pushing forward.
5. Keep track of your progress
Keeping track of your progress is a great way to stay motivated and see how far you’ve come. Whether you use a fitness app, a journal, or a calendar, tracking your workouts and achievements can help you stay focused and motivated. It can also help you identify areas where you need to improve or adjust your goals. In our house, our Tonal does this via the machine and the app, but there are so many ways to do it! Ian likes to track himself on his Apple watch, and he even has an Oura ring that charts his sleep so he knows how physically “ready” he is for the day.
6. Join a fitness community
Joining a fitness community, whether online or in person, can provide you with the support and accountability you need to stay motivated. Being part of a community provide you with a sense of belonging and connection. Ian was doing Orange Theory for a while this Spring and loved seeing the same people weekly at his classes. If you’re a soccer fan, Kyle’s app StreetFC helps users connect with really fun pick-up soccer games in cities across the US! I recently did a SoulCycle class and I was blown away by the sense of support and community in the studio, too. My friend’s Mom is in her seventies and does dance classes weekly at a dance company, and then performs every year as a group! Wherever you want to find your people, find them!
7. Focus on the benefits
When you’re feeling unmotivated, it can be helpful to focus on the benefits of exercise. Whether it’s improved health, more energy, better sleep, or a stronger body, remind yourself why you started your fitness journey in the first place. Visualize the benefits you’ll experience and let them motivate you to keep going!
8. Be kind to yourself
It’s so important to be kind to yourself during your fitness journey. There will be ups and downs, setbacks and successes. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a workout or treat yourself to chill time in place of working out. Instead, focus on the positive steps you’re taking and the progress you’re making. Treat yourself with the same kindness and compassion you would offer to a friend or loved one! Sometimes having those moments of rest can be just as restorative as a workout…but not if you’re wracked with guilt over it! Forgive yourself, and start fresh the next day.
Do you have any great tips for staying motivated on a fitness journey? Share in the comments below!