A Answers (7)
Sadie Lincoln, Fitness, answeredThe best advice I can give someone looking for long-term motivation, is to find something you love to do and always keep it fresh. In addition, surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals with similar goals can provide the support needed to help you stay on track. Finally, celebrate milestones. Whether it's setting small weekly goals, such as making it to four classes on a busy schedule, or large ones, such as finishing a marathon. Each accomplishment deserves a little celebration and can help you to reach your ultimate goal of staying active.
Ariel & Shya Kane, Psychology, answered
There are three simple ways you can stay motivated over time. First, recognize that your mental chatter is just that – chatter! We suggest that you get interested in all the little ways you mentally say “no” without taking it seriously or judging what you discover. Oftentimes people set an exercise schedule but then in the next moment or day say to themselves, “No, I don’t want to today.” If you get interested in the internal conversation that you listen to, you can begin to bypass the dictates of your mind.
For example, we have a client who is a runner who has reported that he now mentally laughs at the "I don’t wanna" thoughts and the "it’s too early to get up – I want just a few more minutes of sleep", type thoughts as he is getting up and lacing his shoes for a run in the morning.
If you don’t recognize that that mental chatter is just chatter, you are likely to listen to it as if it is you, get lost and stop exercising when you “don’t want to”.
Second, practice keeping your word with yourself. If you follow through on doing what you say in little ways throughout your day, then it is easier to keep your word about the “bigger” things – such as keeping to an exercise routine. Life often throws us curves. There are disappointments or sometimes upsetting situations and often the first thing to get thrown away is exercise or eating well or taking care of ourselves because the easier knee-jerk reaction is to binge or lay around and feel sorry for oneself. However, if you have established a routine of doing what you say, then this can pull you through the desire to stay home on the couch with a bag of Doritos.
The third idea is this: You don’t have to do it alone! Haven’t you found it much easier to go to the gym if you are meeting someone there? Find friends and build a community of folks around you who will support you and whom you can support. It is so much easier to get up and get going if you know that you’re being active will make a difference in your friend’s life. It is easier if you have someone to reach out to if you hit the doldrums and someone who will reach out to you for the same type of support. It makes it fun. A sense of community makes being active easy, fun and playful instead of a chore.
National Academy of Sports Medicine answered
Staying motivated over long periods of time can sometimes become difficult. A good way to stay motivated is to set small goals that lead up to one single long term goal. While on your way, be sure to celebrate and reward yourself for each small goal reached, and then press forward. Once you reach your long term goal, set another long term goal – and reach it through setting smaller short term goals!
American Heart Association answered
Get your family into physical activity! It’s great to have a support system, and you’ll be getting them into an important health habit.
- Join an exercise group, health club, or YMCA.
- Choose an activity you like and make sure it’s convenient for you. If you need good weather, have a back-up plan for bad days (e.g., when it rains, walk in the mall instead of the park).
- Learn a new sport you think you might enjoy, or take lessons to improve at one you know.
- Do a variety of activities. Take a brisk walk one day, swim the next time, then go for a bike rides on the weekend!
- Try renting a few exercise CDs to find the one(s) you like best. Then you can buy one or more of the ones you like and have a good workout in the comfort of your own home!
- Make physical activity a routine so it becomes a habit.
- If you stop for any length of time, don’t lose hope! Just get started again — slowly and work up to your old pace.
- Try not to compare yourself with others. Your goal should be personal health and fitness.
- Think about whether you like to exercise alone or with other people, outside or inside, what time of day is best, and what kind of exercise you most enjoy doing.
- If you feel like quitting, remind yourself of all the reasons you started. Also think about how far you’ve come!
- Don’t push yourself too hard. You should be able to talk during exercise. Also, if it takes more than 10 minutes to recover from exercising, you’re working too hard.
Darren Treasure, PhD, Sports Medicine, answered
So you have started to move but it is hard and you are worried that you won't be able to maintain your new activity levels. Here are some strategies that are focused on actually moving and doing. These strategies include:
- Re-think your everyday experience. Specifically, take the stairs, park your car 2 minutes walk away from the mall/office, combine activities such as a walking meeting.
- Establish a walking partnership with a friend who wants to become active
- Join a group that has similar goals as you. These people can act not only as motivators but also provide much needed social support when change seems difficult or impossible
- If you can work with a fitness professional who will help guide you through your initial attempts to being active and help you understand the benefits of activity
- The strongest source of confidence is your own performance. If your initial work outs are successful you will feel more confident and more likely to persist. Making your initial work outs too hard will guarantee “failure” and have a hugely negative impact on your confidence and motivation to continue.
- Reinforce yourself for being successful through, for example, positive self-statements and small rewards.
- Substitute physical activity as a stress reliever rather than poor choices such as sweets or alcohol.
Michelle Cleere - Sharecare Fitness Expert, PhD, Psychology, answeredKeeping your motivation to exercise can be difficult but there are a couple of things that can help you to be successful. Don't start off doing too much. For example, going from zero workouts to 60 minute workouts, 6 days a week is probably a little unrealistic. When you start off doing too much too soon you set yourself up for (fatigue and) failure. The feeling of failure leads to dropping out of exercise. It feeds into people's self fulfilling prophecy that they 'can't do it' so 'why should they even bother trying'. Try being realistic. You will be able to see and feel success which will build confidence to continue.
It's also helpful to engage in activities you love or at least like. For example, you may not be a jogger so why jog. You may really enjoy bicycling so bicycle.
Lastly, engaging in an activity you enjoy with another person(s) can provide the social support necessary to help keep you motivated. Other people also help keep you accountable and realistic.Helpful? 4 people found this helpful.
Keeping your fitness plan on track can be difficult at times. Here are a few tips to help.
Be realistic. Set yourself up for success by setting goals that are achievable. If your goals are too ambitious, you may get disappointed and start to feel badly about yourself which can make you give up completely.
Build a support network. Don't try to go it alone. Ask friends or families to join you in a new physical activity, or offer to teach them one of your favorites.
Write it down. Put your goals down on paper and make them specific. Seeing them in writing can help keep you on track.
Ask your doctor. Include your doctor in any plans that involve your health. Your doctor can suggest resources to keep you on track. Plus, you may be more motivated to stick with a lifestyle change if you look at it as something your doctor ordered.
Reward yourself. When you meet a goal, reward yourself whether that’s a spa treatment, tickets to the big game or a shopping trip. Keep yourself motivated and feeling good about your efforts.