10 Ways to Stay Motivated

  1. RE-VISIT YOUR PAST - Think back to the last time you began an exercise program--did you reach goal or did you fail? If you're heading in the same direction as previous years, you've got yourself a pattern. Break it by figuring out what went wrong last time. Was the exercise too intense? Was the diet too strict? Modify what you're doing so that you can sustain your eating and exercise program for life.
  2. GET REAL - Most people fail at their fitness goals because they're waiting for something spectacular to happen. Know when to expect the spectacular? When you least expect it. You may be frustrated that your body hasn't changed, but that's no reason to quit. Remember that your body is on it's own schedule. If you're burning more calories than you eat, you'll lose weight but you can't control when it happens.
  3. GET PUMPED - Maybe it'll be difficult to replicate the excitement you felt when you initially began your quest for a healthy life. But, you can get a little more fired up by going back to your original goal and remembering why you set it in the first place. What are you trying to accomplish? Remind yourself that what you do today has everything to do with where you'll be in 6 months.
  4. REWARD YOURSELF - It's surprisingly easy to get excited about exercise and it's called shopping. Buy something that motivates you--a heart rate monitor or a pedometer to track your workouts. Get an MP3 player and load it up with your favorite tunes. Splurge a little on some high quality shorts or a snazzy wind jacket. Sometimes that's all it takes to get back in your groove.
  5. EXHAUST EVERY AVENUE - Before you quit, try everything you can to stay on track. Sign on with a personal trainer, get a workout buddy, join a fitness group, join a gym...try it all. If you've done that and you still want to quit, make it a decision. Don't drift away from exercise without acknowledging it, say it aloud, 'I'm Quitting!' Saying those words may just steer you back to the gym--who wants to be a quitter?>
  6. STOP WAITING FOR A MIRACLE - Some people think if they exercise long enough, they'll wake up one day and suddenly LOVE exercising and eating healthy. While it does get easier, you'll probably never be ecstatic about those 5 a.m. jogs. If you're waiting for a shining moment of excitement, it ain't gonna happen. Stop waiting for it-- you have to MAKE it happen and you'll have to do it all over again tomorrow.
  7. FIND YOUR INSPIRATION - Every day is different. What motivated you yesterday may not work today, so sift through what inspires you to find that one thing that will get you out the door. It may be pants you want to fit into or competing with your friend (he's working out--you don't want to fall behind, do you?). Work through all the reasons you should workout until you find the one that works today.
  8. OPEN YOUR MIND - Being bored is the perfect time to try something new. You'll be more willing to try things you may have dismissed because they didn't fit within your definition of exercise. It could be bellydancing, a latin dance class or that spinning class at the gym. Or try something more mind/body like Pilates or yoga. If what you're doing isn't working, it's time to find something that will.
  9. TRACT YOUR PROGRESS - One simple way to stay motivated is to look back on how far you've come. Keeping a simple calendar of the workouts you've done gives you something tangible you can happily flip through, adding up all the days you exercised. Plus, knowing you have to write your accomplishments down may give you that extra push you need to get moving.
  10. HAVE CONSEQUENCES - If your child doesn't do his homework, there are consequences. The same should be true of sticking with exercise. If you don't do your workouts, there should be a consequence. Have someone hold you accountable or take away something you enjoy until you get back on track. Always have consequences to your actions. If you don't, what's to stop you from quitting?