How to Stay Motivated After Your First Week of Workouts
The first week of your new fitness plan or gym membership is exciting, isn’t it?! You’re starting a new chapter in your life – one of health, fitness, and wellness. But after that first week, a stop by the gym feels more like a hassle than an accomplishment, and your reasons for skipping your walk or jog become more trivial.
If you find yourself giving up on fitness after that first week honeymoon period, try these tips to stay motivated to make exercise an important part of your life.
Remind Yourself of Your Big Why
Why did you decide to start working out in the first place? Do you want to look amazing, feel more energy, or make sure you’re taking care of your health? Whatever the reason you started, keep a reminder of your reason and your goal close by.
Whether you keep your reason written on a Post-It on your rearview mirror to remind you to hit the gym after work or you have a picture as the background of your phone, if your reason is at front of your mind, you’ll stay motivated to keep moving.
Avoid Unbendable Rules
“I can only begin my diet on Monday.”
“I have to have an hour to work out.”
“I only exercise at the gym after work.”
If you have hard rules surrounding how you exercise, you’re going to lose your motivation to do it, FAST. If you can only start working out on Monday, how many days of health are you missing until Monday comes around again? Or if you can only work out in specific times or specific places, you’re cutting out plenty of excellent opportunities for movement.
Instead, focus on lenient goals like “I’ll work out for 30 minutes a day total,” or “If I can’t make it to the gym, I will do a 30-minute routine at home.”
Think About How You Feel After You Work Out
Instead of thinking about why you don’t want to exercise, shift your mindset. Think about how you’ll feel after you workout. It’s rare for people to regret getting their workout in, instead feeling proud, accomplished, and energized.
When that inner voice is coming up with reasons to ditch the gym, combat it by saying to out loud how you felt about yourself when you hit the gym the last time. Make your dialogue more effective by talking directly to yourself in the second person with, “After you work out, you’ll feel confident, proud of your achievement, etc.”
Recruit a Buddy or Find a Group
When you’re going it alone, it’s easier to skip the workout. On the other hand, having a friend join you on a walk, jog, or in a class means you’re more likely to stick with it – you don’t want to let your friend down, you don’t want to be the first to give up, and honestly, you’re more likely to have fun when you have an accountability partner.
The same idea applies to joining a fitness group – you don’t want to be the first to drop out or give up, plus you’ll have a good time. If it’s fun, you’re going to stay motivated!
Make an Investment in Your Fitness
If you’ve got money on the line, such as paying for a class or investing in a gym membership, you won’t be as likely to give up on it. Signing up for classes that charge you even if you don’t show up makes it that much more likely that you’ll follow through on sticking with it.
Listen to Your Body
Nothing is going to derail your path to fitness like an injury, so it’s important to listen to your body. Paying attention to how you move you’re working out and being mindful of your body’s cues will give you a better clue of when you can keep pushing yourself for maximum results and when to ease up.
With that in mind, don’t let a little stiffness or tenderness stop you from moving altogether! You can still get a brisk walk in or work on a different set of muscles even if you do get a mild injury.
If you have something to look forward to after your workout, you’re going to feel motivated to stick with it! Plan a reward for yourself any time you hit the gym or partake in a workout over 30 minutes, and you’ll be much more likely to do it.
That being said, make sure your rewards aren’t food based – instead try these ideas:
- Self care rewards: Getting a new book to read or listening to a favorite podcast.
- Social rewards: Meeting a friend, hosting a gathering, or having a date night with your partner.
- Healthy rewards: Trying a new recipe or getting a new cookbook, testing a new flavor of herbal tea, buying new activewear, trying a new fitness app.
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