It’s only February, and already our New Year’s resolutions have become more like suggestions. It never takes long for fitness goals to fall by the wayside, but keep reading to learn how you can snap out of the funk and get back into the groove.
There Will be Boredom
First, recognize that you’re not weak, pathetic, or pitiful for not sticking to your workout. It’s natural to go through phases during a fitness routine—just like the phases you go through when you first start dating someone.
1. Honeymoon period: You’re giddy and excited and feel like you could spend the rest of your life doing this. You do outrageous things and have goals in only the highest places.
2. Post-honeymoon period: All the lofty goals and habits you had are too much work now. You get careless and lethargic once you realize the routine/relationship takes actual hard work. You start dreading the routine/relationship. At this point, many couples and fitness routines break up.
3. Work period: You want the routine/relationship to work so you go to the gym/therapy and do things you don’t always want to do. Sometimes, it sucks. Sometimes, it’s rewarding.
4. Peace period: You’ve resolved most of your conflicts with the routine/relationship and although it’s never quite smooth sailing, you’re both committed and making strides.
The best way to get out of your post New Year’s resolution funk is by accepting and even knowing ahead that you will experience boredom. This way, you can prepare for it and ride out the waves.
This doesn’t mean making even bigger goals and even longer, tougher workouts to revamp your fitness routine. To the contrary, this will wreck your motivation in the long run. Instead, be honest with yourself and create a realistic routine. Even if it seems too easy when you’re in the honeymoon phase, it’ll be realistic once the boredom sets in. At least then you’ll still be working out.
Identify Your Motivators
Why do you want to get fit? Health benefits? To feel athletic? To finish a triathlon? To feel more energetic? Figure out what makes you want to be fit and place reminders of your reasons around your home and in your workout log (which you will need, by the way).
Make a Workout Log
Every day, write what you did for your fitness routine—even if (especially if) you didn’t do it. You’ll get a more realistic idea of what motivates you, what demotivates you, and what you can keep up with.
Breaking promises to yourself is a common demotivator because we get down on ourselves and give up. Pick days to work out when you know you’ll have time to do it. Do you have a lot going on that day? Will you be able to fit a 30-minute workout during your lunch hour even though so-and-so has asked you to run a few errands? Will you work out in the morning or afternoon? Make the first hurdle easy to clear so you don’t cheat and say, “Eh, maybe tomorrow”.
Don’t Use Food as a Reward
If you already have a good relationship with food (you don’t restrict yourself), you can use a night out at a restaurant or making your own recipe as a reward for sticking to your game plan, but otherwise using food as a reward can turn into something undesirable like a binge. Instead, reward yourself for a week of good fitness ethic by replacing one workout at the end of the week with running around with the dog on the beach or the dog park. Play a game of tennis with a friend. Invite some pals to a day at the local paintball field. Making exercise fun is a great motivator to keep up with your current routine.
Prepare for Rainy Days
Literally. If you’re an outdoor exerciser, keep a few fitness DVDs handy on your workout days to keep your promise to yourself. We can’t always keep our promises exactly, but just as you would make it up to a friend, make it up to yourself.
This article was specially written for Simply Fitness Gear by Maria Rainier. Maria is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, writing on fitness instruction as well as other online degree programs. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.