Starting the New Year with big goals is always exciting. It can also be a bit daunting if you're jumping in full throttle & you've never been successful at achieving your goals thus far. When it comes to fitness, I see people start out strong every year. The first week after New Years the gym is packed and it's hard for me to find a spot where I can workout, but by week 6 the crowd is usually gone. Motivation isn't something you can just bottle up & sell, if it were that easy everyone would be motivated and there the 6th week after New Years. Here are five of my biggest tips to help you get and stay motivated.
ONE- Come up with a plan, but be flexible
So many people start the New Year with a plan. Whether it's written down on paper, in your phone or you signed up for a fitness challenge- you started this for a reason. It's so great to be on a plan to jump start your motivation, I just hope you remember to always be flexible. If the piece of equipment you wanted to use is taken, change your plan and do something a bit different. If you end up getting sick in January you may have to switch up your intended plans & take a break from workouts for a bit. Don't think it's a fail, you can still focus on clean eating & get back to the it when your body is rested and you feel better. Maybe an injury gets in the way, adapt your workouts to do things you can comfortably do (that may mean just a daily walk or evening stretches). The people who are the fittest don't let a derailment throw off their goals, they adapt and push forward.
TWO- Be realistic
If you want a plan that will stick with you for months to come, be realistic with your goals when you start. For example, if you are someone who has a hard time getting to the gym 2x a week, it may not be the best decision to have a goal of going 6 times a week for the next 3 months. Maybe start with a goal of working out 4x a week and see how it goes & if after a few weeks you go all 4 days, then you increase to 5 the next week. When I was a trainer, people would set big goals and then stick with the plan for 3 weeks & eventually give up. It's hard making a lifestyle change, so be sure you set goals that a realistic for your lifestyle. I would encourage my clients to gradually increase their workouts so they were prepared & didn't get injured. Same goes for food.
If you're planning on cleaning up your diet. I try to stay away from cutting things out all together. For example, I've noticed many people jump in to the Whole30 diet. This is a great diet, but if you aren't familiar with paleo & have never eaten paleo before, then you may struggle with enjoying it. I've seen this happen and when day 31 hits so many people go binge eating all the gluten & drink all the wine they were deprived of for 30 days. A little example of making the paleo diet work for you could be- if you love wine & are trying to drink less- set a goal to drinking 1x a week vs no drinking at all. This way you are still getting the taste of something you love & can still hang out socially with your friends without making yourself a hermit.
THREE- Fake it till you make it
Looking the part is often what tricks your brain to being the part. Get some fun workout clothes that make you feel great and you will more likely want to work out. When I wake up on weekends, the first thing I do in the morning I throw on on my favorite workout set. When I throw on these cute leggings, this fun top, this awesome warm jacket & sneakers I'm ready for my bridge walk. If I start my day in workout clothes doing something active, it sets the tone for what sort of day I'm going to have. If I wake up, put on makeup & curl my hair- there's a slim chance I'm going to mess all that up & get sweaty. Starting your day looking the part, will make you feel the part.
FOUR - Accountability
Whether you are the type of person who likes an app to log your activity, your someone who needs to post your workouts on social media or the one who needs a workout buddy- make sure you find a way to hold yourself accountable. When you're having a hard day, what are some of the things that will push you to go? I've used many different methods, but I like having a buddy to hold me accountable. When my friend Kate and I train together, we make sure the other isn't slacking. We always end up pushing each other harder than we would've on our own. Find your accountability app, workout journal or partner to keep you on track.
FIVE- Know your schedule & plan around it
Planning your workouts for days and times that work for your schedule is key! If you have a particularly busy day, maybe you should sign up for a class prior. If you have plans after work, maybe you need to set that alarm extra early to get in a morning sweat sesh. On days I know I will have a hard time fitting it in, I sign up for a class. If I am paying for it, you bet I'll be there. I try to budget for 1-2 workout classes a week (outside of my regular gym) to use on the days I know I will have a hard time getting in a workout. Once that class is in the books, I know I'll show.
I hope these tips help you figure out the best plan for YOU. The best thing about fitness is it's your own journey. There are so many classes to try, so many activities to explore & if you try to have fun with it you may just fall in love with it.