There are a million reasons why we experience frequent #fitnessfails and a million more excuses we tell ourselves for not working out altogether. But here’s the truth, all those failed attempts and convenient excuses can add up to inevitable breakdown in our physical and mental wellness. Exercise is that important. So how can you get or stay motivated when you’ve got people and responsibilities pulling you in a hundred different directions? Here’s my best advice for getting your fitness goals on track.
1. Set a specific goal.
Just saying you want to get healthy isn’t going to work. It’s like saying you want to go north east. Where? The empire state building? The Boston Freedom Trail? You can’t chart a course to a goal / destination if you have no specific destination. For example, maybe it’s running a 5k or losing 10lbs. Just be sure the goal is concrete and attach a time frame.
2. Set a realistic goal.
Speaking of timeframes, make sure your goals are realistic. Saying “I’m going to lose 10lbs in a month” is possible, but highly unlikely. Two to three months is far more achievable. Be honest with yourself about what the goal will require, what resources you have to throw at it, and then calculate how long it will take to achieve it. Being unrealistic with your goals only sets you up to fail, which can beget a viscous cycle of discouragement that is simply unnecessary and unhelpful.
3. Establish a why.
Anything worth having life will require some work and some sacrifice. Therefore, the work has to be worth it. One of my favorite quotes, “If you have a why to live for you can tolerate any how” couldn’t be more true – especially when it comes to health related goals. Think of all the ways your life will improve and remind yourself of everything you want for yourself. “I want to lose enough weight so that I can play ball with my kids without losing my breath after five minutes.” “I to feel comfortable in my bathing suit”. “I want to feel sexier in the bedroom”. There is no reason too profound and no reason too superficial as long as it matters to you.
4. Create an inspiration board.
Compile a bunch of images and messages that inspire you to reach your weight loss goal: a picture of a gorgeous beach, where you can confidently wear your bathing suit; your favorite motivational quotes; a photo of your slimmer self. Then, hang it where you can see it every day, maybe on the fridge or above your desk.
5. Recruit Support.
Community is a huge help when it comes to sticking with your healthy routine. Hence the hashtag #fitfam. Join a running group, yoga class, or fitness community of some sort that is supportive and helps you stay motivated. Many of the people who use my app belong to the @jillianmichaelsworkoutjunkies on Instagram and Facebook and find a ton of motivation with the people there.
6. Don’t let one slip up derail you.
You’re not going to be perfect all the time. You’ll miss a workout at some point or eat something that isn’t the healthiest. Just get back on the wagon. It’s that simple. You get a flat tire, you fix it and move on. You don’t jump out of the car, flog yourself, and then slash your other three tires.
7. Make fitness fun.
Don’t rely on exercises you hate because that will only make you hate working out. Choose activities and resistance equipment that feel good to you—riding a bike, Pilates, yoga, hand weights, the elliptical machine. Working out should never be easy, but it needs to be an enjoyable challenge.
8. Work out to music.
I don’t think I need to convince you that few things get you pumped like the right kind of music. Create a workout playlist of songs that make you want to rock out. Make it 100 percent personalized. No one else is listening, so plug in those earbuds and get moving!
This content was originally published here.