Sure, there are many of us out there who are always motivated to get up and exercise no matter what is going on in our lives. But at some point in our lives, we are going to be out of the habit of exercise and for a variety of reasons, it’s going to be in your best interest to get up off of your couch and start moving. I used to be great about exercising every day and then life and stress happened and I fell out of the habit pretty quickly. Today’s post is all of my suggestions and tricks to keep myself moving and off of the couch!
1. Set a Goal
Set a goal for yourself so you have something to work towards. I usually don’t do a weight-based goal, but you can. When I’m first getting back into the groove of things, I usually go with a frequency-based goal- ie, exercising every day for at least 20 minutes. If you don’t have a measurable goal to work towards, it makes it much more difficult to find things to celebrate, which you certainly should! Depending on the type of exercise, you might have a built in goal, such as being able to do a 5k without dying before the date of your race. If you don’t, try and be creative! Maybe you want to try five different exercises in a week, or run on a different treadmill every time you go to the gym. Whatever it is, just go for it!
When I reach my goal, I’m definitely having the biggest piece of cake possible.
2. Have a Reward in Mind
Some people are hyper self-motivated and are happy with the knowledge that they have achieved their goal! If you are in any way like me, you may need slightly more motivation than just the doing of the thing… Make the reward proportionate to the accomplishment- even if you literally never move, a week of 20 minutes of exercise a day probably doesn’t mean you should buy yourself a new iPad to celebrate. If you are getting into running, perhaps a new pair of running shorts. Slowly but surely making your way through downward facing dog? A new yoga mat is a good way to keep your yoga motivation going! If you have made a big lifestyle change, you deserve to reward yourself.
3. Be Patient
I’m one of those people that does exactly three push-ups and then wonders why on earth I don’t have incredibly muscular arms. You might not see changes for quite a bit, and that’s very normal. If you go from zero exercise to running, you most likely won’t be able to sprint your way through a 5k and if you can, you are some sort of miracle human being. The little changes that do happen right away often seem to slip past us, but they are there! You might start sleeping better, you will feel a bit looser and more flexible, you may even start to be more in tune with your stomach and when you actually are hungry (as opposed to eating out of boredom).
Soooo, what if you aren’t Gumby incarnate?
4. Don’t Compare Yourself to Anyone Else
No two people have the same fitness levels- don’t try to compare yourself to anyone else. One person might be predisposed to naturally be more flexible while someone else might have a bigger lung capacity. You can only improve upon your own experience! We all have our own habits and processes, and they lead us to different levels of fitness- someone else’s accomplishment don’t diminish your own in any way. This is really applicable to any area of life, but comparing yourself to others really just leads to disappointment about things that you have zero control over. Take this time to focus on you!
5. Don’t Overestimate What You Have Done
This is a problem that I have- I am starving after I exercise and I assume that I have burned far more calories than I actually have. This leads to me eating two to three times what I used up for my exercise. While I don’t have a set weight loss goal, it’s very frustrating to put your all into exercising and see zero difference on your waist line. Celebrate what you have done but get a solid idea on what you have and what your average workout accomplishes. I have noticed that my Fitbit doesn’t quite pick up every single step- if I’ve been sitting for a while and then get up, it sometimes misses the first bit of steps. However, I don’t inflate my step count to account for it, I just go with the value there and if it turns out that I did walk further, so much the better!
Look at me, finding all of the things!
6. Get Creative
Do what you need to to motivate yourself and keep your feet moving. Maybe it’s having an exercise partner who keeps you accountable, maybe it’s blocking that time into your calendar to ensure it is saved, maybe it’s trying new forms of exercise. I personally have become addicted to the app The Walk. Only $4.19 CAD on Google Play, this is an immersive walking game that motivates you to keep walking. You are given the task of carrying a package to save the world from a terrorist organisation from Inverness to Edinburgh, and completing the entire app will see you walk the length of the UK! Episodes vary in length from thirty to a hundred minutes, and as you walk you periodically here audio clips that move the story along. It is super interesting and you want to keep going just to find out what happens! I pair it with an audiobook that I pause when a sound clip comes on, and I am set for an hour or more of walking. There are some days that I’m doing two episodes, meaning that I’m doing 120+ minutes of running and walking in a day! (There is a similar game from the same company, Zombies, Run!, that sends you running for your safety.)
How do you motivate yourself to stay off of the couch? Any advice to share?