We often think that we quit working out or don’t work out consistently because we’ve lost motivation. That is simply not the case. I don’t know who said it first but…
“Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going.” (tweet this)
If you are starting a new fitness plan, something has motivated you. Maybe you want to lose weight before you have to look good in a bridesmaids dress at your sister’s wedding with all her skinny friends. Maybe you had a recent health scare and you were told by your doctor that you need to get healthy. Maybe you are having to buy the next size up in clothes and you simply cannot afford a whole new wardrobe to accommodate your growing butt.
Whatever the reason may be, you have decided in your heart and mind that you need to do something.
Where to Start
You may start actually going to the gym you’ve been paying for for months. Maybe you buy the latest fitness magazine at the grocery store and start looking for workout routines. Maybe you finally look at your “fitness” board on Pinterest where you have been pinning things for months. Maybe you aren’t sure how to really work out so you start walking or running around your neighborhood.
Regardless, you find some things to do to be active. Good for you!
For the first few weeks you are pretty proud of yourself. You’ve managed to workout every other day for 2 weeks and you announce to all your friends that you are “on a diet”, which is why you can’t eat the cookies at the get-together.
Then weeks 4 and 5 come and you’ve worked out 2 times.
Week 6 you didn’t workout at all because you were so stressed about work and too many things came up.
Monday of week 7 rolls around and you try to get yourself motivated…again. You remember the reason you started working out in the first place and you focus on that. By Thursday you have lost all motivation again. Why?
Because motivation will not keep you going! Motivation is a great way to start and you have to have it temporarily…UNTIL you form a habit! You cannot sustain a fitness regimen on motivation alone.
So, how do you make it a habit to workout?
You plan it.
1. Write it (or type it) down.
Your workout should be on your daily schedule. Not just in your mind but on your calendar, in your phone alerts, on a sticky note, however you remind yourself to do other important tasks, you should do the same thing for your workouts.
2. Give it a time and make the time.
Just like if you were going to schedule a meeting, or a dinner date, you should schedule your workout. You should know the exact time your workout will take place. Not just “in the morning” but “6:30-7:00am”. Scheduling your workout should be done at the beginning of each new week.
You may need to MAKE the time. This may mean getting up a half hour earlier or maybe working out on your lunch break. Find the time and know the time for each day.
3. Assign a place.
Know where and how you are going to workout so you are not fumbling around and wasting time trying to figure this out. Know whether you are going to the gym, working out at home, going for a run, trying a new yoga class, or whatever it is. Planning your workout will guarantee you do it.
4. Don’t compromise it.
Don’t compromise your workout. If a friend asks you to get together during a time you have scheduled to workout, workout together instead. If you have a meeting after work, schedule to workout that morning instead. Your schedule is not always going to be the same from day to day so you have to prioritize the time for your workout.
Once you have done these things for 21 days, you will have formed a habit of working out. Studies have shown that it only takes 21 days in order for it to become a habit. That’s only 3 weeks!
Once working out has developed into a habit, your mind will be trained to do it.
Think about how often you have to “motivate” yourself to brush your teeth. You don’t! Just like you already know you are going to brush your teeth after you shower but before you put on your makeup, your mind will know that you are working out that day, when and where.
If you follow the simple steps above you won’t need to rely on motivation because, let’s face it…you can’t stay motivated.