Updated: Aug 5, 2021
It’s cold outside, we’re in another lockdown and many of us are struggling to get back into good habits after the festive season. What’s more, parents up and down the country are trying to juggle home schooling with work and everything else that needs to be done around the house.
It’s perfectly understandable if you’re struggling to motivate yourself to exercise at the moment. If you’ve swapped workouts for wine, cardio for cookies and squats for the sofa, don’t worry, you can and you will get your mojo back.
Below I share some great tips which will help to get you back on track or even inspire you to start exercise for the first time.
Identify why you’re struggling with motivation
It’s important to identify why you’re struggling to motivate yourself to exercise.
Whether you’re finding it difficult to find time because you have the kids at home at the moment, you don’t have any energy because you’re not eating right, you’ve lost confidence or you’re simply bored of doing the same old thing, determine exactly what’s stopping you from exercising. This is what we call your barrier (you may have more than one) to exercise.
Once you’ve identified your barrier/s to exercise, you can put the necessary steps in place to overcome them.
You could for example work out a schedule with your partner so you can have 30 minutes to yourself when you can exercise without the kids interrupting. Planning out your food for the week could help you to eat better so you have more exergy to work out or maybe you need a new programme to get you excited about training again.
I struggle to motivate myself to run during winter because I really don’t like the cold. When I’m feeling like this, I tell myself to just get outside for 5-10 minutes and not to worry about how far or fast I run.
Getting started is often the hardest part. Once you get into the swing of your workout, you’ll start to feel great and this will push you to keep going. Even on the coldest days I always end up surprising myself by running further than I thought I would when I first dragged myself out the door.
Stick to what you enjoy
If you want to see results with exercise, consistency is key. The only way you’re going to achieve this is by doing what you enjoy.
It might take some trial and error but find something that you absolutely love. Once you’ve done this, the motivation to exercise will come much more naturally.
Sign up to a challenge
With the gyms closed and all events cancelled for the foreseeable future, it can be difficult to keep yourself motivated. Many of us use these events as a milestone to work towards and without them, it can be hard to keep ourselves accountable.
Why not sign up to a virtual event? Admittedly you don’t quite get the same feeling you do at the start line on race day, but you do still get that all-important medal!
Virtual events have their benefits too. They’re great if you’re new to events, you can do them in your own time, you choose your own course and date and you don’t have to worry about race-day nerves. If you don’t think you have the motivation to do it yourself, get a friend to join in the challenge with you.
Setting goals is a great way to motivate yourself to stick with an exercise programme. Focus on what you want to achieve both in the short and long run.
Short-term goals give you an immediate target to focus on and they’re important because hitting little milestones along the way will boost your confidence and motivation. Examples of short-term fitness goals may include committing to exercising three times a week, adding an extra five minutes to the end of every run or incorporating something new into your current training programme.
A long-term goal is your overall objective. It pushes you to strive towards bigger achievements and it’s what will keep you accountable on a daily basis. As a long-term goal, you might want to lose a certain amount of weight, improve your health, run a half-marathon or hit a PB on the bench press.
When setting goals, always follow the SMART formula.
Specific – research shows that we’re more motivated by specific goals. For example, ‘I want to reduce my 5k running time by two minutes within six months.’
Measurable – documenting your progress will really help to keep you motivated. By logging your workouts on an app for example, you will be able to see if you’re running faster or lifting heavier.
Achievable – you want to increase the challenge slightly but not so much that you’re setting yourself up for failure. Consider where you currently are and increase your goals accordingly. If you’re new to running for example, it’s probably not a good idea to commit to running a marathon by next month. Start with 5k and once you’ve achieved this, you can set new goals and challenges.
Relevant – this step is about ensuring that your objectives matter to you and that they align with your other goals. Your short-term goal may be to go for a run twice a week while your long-term goal is to be able to run 5k without stopping.
Time-bound – without a timeline, we tend to put things off. Having a date in mind will help you stay focussed and you’re less likely to miss a session.
I hope these tips have helped and you’re feeling inspired to get out there once again. Good luck, enjoy and if you’re just getting back into exercise, please remember to ease into it slowly and give yourself plenty of time to recover between sessions.