Before I start this post, I’d like to clear a few things up; I am still a semi-retired smoker, I am pretty useless at running and I am still convincing myself that I actually like the gym. I don’t claim to be a gym-bunny or the epitome of health and I am partial to eating all the pizza…but that’s exactly why I’m hoping this blog post will be helpful.
I tend to stay in two minds about the whole gym experience but since I’ve put my mind to it, I have started noticing some results (which just about keeps me going back). I hate, hate, hate the idea of it when I’m tired and rolling in from work but, leggings on, sports bra donned and once I’ve dragged myself to the treadmill, I actually quite enjoy it. Plus, the thing is, the feeling afterwards makes me never regret going.
So, here are my top tips for motivating yourself to the gym or out for a run (or any form of exercise you may fancy) for those of us that aren’t quite as disciplined as we might like…
Just do it
No, I’m not sponsored by Nike and I know this sounds obvious but let me explain. The more you sit and convince yourself of all the reasons why you shouldn’t go to the gym or out for a run, the less likely you are to do it. I am lucky as there is a gym in my block of flats I can use but even though it’s so close, I struggle to motivate myself to go after work most days. The knack? I don’t give myself any time to think about it – get home, get changed, go to the gym! It’s not always as easy as that after a long day in the office, granted, but once I’m there I’m there and I tend to get quite into it.
Arrange to meet friends
If you tend to go to the gym or running by yourself, you’re only letting yourself down if you don’t go. However, arranging to meet friends can be a real motivator because if you don’t go, you’re letting them down too. Plus, gyming it or running with your closest pals can make the whole experience more fun and you can have a catch up whilst you’re at it!
Invest in new clothes
It may not seem important but having the right clothes for the gym can make a real difference. Treat yourself to some new running leggings or trainers so you can look forward to wearing them. You don’t have to splash out on anything expensive, just find something you like and feel good in and you’re half way to wanting to go workout. Once you have your gym clothes on, it’s easier to change your mind set and you’ll want to exercise.
Set yourself goals
Setting goals can be a really effective way to push yourself into working out. If you’re new to the gym, set yourself little goals such as, ‘I will go to the gym twice this week’ or, ‘I will stay at the gym 20 minutes after work today.’ It might sound simple but once you’ve achieved a goal, you’ll want to beat it – plus it’s such a good feeling when you complete one! Once you’re into the swing of things a little more you can set more challenging goals such as, ‘I want to shave 30 seconds of my best 5k run today’ or, ‘I’d like to lose 5 pounds before my holiday.’ If your aim is to lose weight, taking photos of your achievements – such as times/distances on the treadmill or before and after pictures of yourself – can really help get you going. You might not feel like you’ve accomplished much but you’ll soon realise once you look back at those pics! The key is to set simple and achievable goals and then build yourself up – and don’t be too hard on yourself!
Once you’ve achieved a goal, give yourself a little reward. This can be anything from a biscuit to a new pair of shoes to a gin and tonic – whatever you think will help motivate you to achieve your goals. As I tend to go to the gym straight after work, or just before work the thought of having my dinner or my breakfast usually keeps me going until I’ve reached my goal. Oh, and of course the ridiculous idea that all this gym work will obviously result in me looking like Kylie Jenner…
Don’t be too hard on yourself
If you really, really don’t feel like going to the gym – try and motivate yourself to go anyway but, the important part is, give yourself permission to leave after ten minutes if you really can’t hack it. Sometimes, no matter how hard I try I am simply not in the mood to go. Nine out of ten of those times, I can get past that feeling once I’m there but on the odd occasion, I just cannot convince myself to stay. Hey, at least you tried – don’t be yourself up and try again tomorrow!