I love playing tennis, but it requires fitness in order to do it well, and without injury. And let’s face it. Fitness routines are hard to maintain, and easy to give up. Either we dread doing the workout, or we don’t see the desired results fast enough, and quickly become frustrated and lose interest… been there, done that!
But over the years, I’ve discovered that there are relatively easy ways to stay motivated and engaged in our fitness routines, so we won’t subconsciously look for excuses to quit. These helped me, and hopefully will help you too:
Make it do-able!
In any fitness routine, it’s important to have goals, but you need to make sure they’re attainable, and that you have to actually have to do some work in order to achieve them. Set smaller, easier goals at first, and work your way up to biggies, because if you start off too big and can’t achieve them, you could get frustrated and blame your fitness routine rather than yourself for your failure. And if this happens, you might walk away from a fitness routine that could have given you the results you wanted, had you just started out smaller and given yourself more time.
There are many different kinds of activities to enjoy, and just because your bestie loves her Bikram yoga class, doesn’t mean you will. You need to find something that you like to do, and would look forward to doing. It could be anything – running, aerobics, swimming, kickboxing or even rollerblading (my personal faves are tennis, running, and yoga). Whatever you choose, just know this – the more you enjoy your workout routine, the more likely you’ll continue doing it, and the faster you’ll start seeing the results. And if you aren’t enjoying your workout, then you’re simply giving yourself an easy excuse to quit.
It’s a fact that repetition gets boring over time – especially when it involves exercise. We need to engage our mind and muscles to ensure that we are getting the most out of our workouts, because if we’re bored and unfocused we might not put in as much effort into it, and maybe even do the exercises incorrectly. And that can result in injuries as well as not achieving the desired results in a timely manner, which again, can cause you to quit. So, to avoid that – mix it up! Now, I don’t mean you have to do a different activity every day, but definitely change it up a few times each week. Here’s what I do: tennis on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday (I count tennis as a workout); I do yoga almost every morning; I run on days I don’t have tennis. And in summer (on non-tennis days), I’ll sometimes swap running for swimming. I can honestly say that I look forward to every workout/activity each day.
Motivate a partner who motivates you!
While it can be easy to quit on ourselves, it’s harder to quit on someone else. That someone else is depending on us to be there for them when they’re down and need help getting back on track. And we need reciprocal support and motivation for those times when we help getting back on track. There is also a subconscious competitive drive at times when the both of you will want to out perform each other, and unknowingly push and motivate each other to work harder than we normally would.
Write it down!
When you write something down, suddenly makes it seem “official”, doesn’t it? Seeing our to-do’s written down in black and white not only helps us see what we’ve done, but also what we still need to do. Some people write down everything – from what type of exercises they do and how long they do them, to what they eat each day. Not that you need to be that detailed, but every little bit helps. And if you don’t put anything else in your journal, a goal tracker is a MUST. Writing down your goals and keeping track of your successes will help you stay motivated and accomplish them. It’s amazing how something as simple as a journal can have such a positive effect on your fitness routine.
I know from personal experience that starting a new fitness routine – and sticking with it – can be difficult, especially when we give ourselves so many excuses and reasons we can come up with to walk away from it. We just need to figure out what we like to do, and get a workout partner, and DO IT. And write it down, so you’ll be able to see your wonderful progress!