Published Thursday, 06 September 2012
But now the bikinis and speedos are safely back in the holiday drawer and you're finding yourself not having the time, or 'can't be bothered' to workout.
Don't worry, this happens. Life happens. Other things can take priority over a new exercise schedule, but the important thing is to not let it continue for a long time, because it will be harder to start again. You need to either get back on track quickly or make changes to develop a new plan that will work better for you. Maintaining motivation can be difficult but there are a few hints and tips that can help you.
Firstly, it's worth revisiting the original points you worked through to create your initial motivation. This often helps you refocus and gives you a boost.
Goals - Are you still working towards the same goals? This is vital. If you don't have a clear view of what you're trying to achieve, it will be hard to see the value in putting in the effort. Also, ensure your overall goals are achievable ones, and not the 'dream' of what you wish you could achieve.
There is a difference.
Plan - Are your original plans still achievable? If you'd planned to go to the gym for an hour four times a week, but you can only manage two - then two is the new four! Just see if you can weave in some other form of exercise in to your week. Can you walk somewhere instead of driving? Could you workout in the front room while watching that tv programme?
Flexible - Has your life pattern changed? If so, then change with it. You may need to change the time, day or order you exercise in. You can be flexible within each workout too. If you really feel you can't do an hour, then promise yourself you'll do at least 15 minutes of it. You may surprise yourself and complete the full hour once those endorphins kick in but if not, then you've done 15 minutes more than you would have done if you chose to sit on the sofa. All those 15 minutes add up. It's better to keep changing things, than letting it all slip away and not working towards your goals at all. Don't beat yourself up about it, just be flexible.
Stick with it - Remember that promise you made to yourself? You chose to do this because you want to be healthier/leaner/stronger. It won't happen on its own. You have to work for it. So stick with it because you know the effort will be worth it in the end.
Enjoy it - Some people like familiarity and doing the same activities while others get bored easily and need to keep finding new things. That's nature. There's no right or wrong way, so do what works for you. But if you aren't enjoying it, then maybe it's worth trying something different once in a while. It can boost your interest again and it can also be great for your body, as it may move in completely different ways, which can help you improve faster.
Taking the time to go over these points can be really beneficial, but sometimes we just need to give ourselves a good talking to!
1 - Tell yourself why you're doing it, e.g. 'I'm doing this because I have a wedding to go to in 10 weeks and I want to fit in to that dress'. Say it out loud. Then tell yourself to do it!
2 - Visualisation can be a powerful tool. Picture yourself during and after a workout. Try to feel the speed of your heart rate, how your muscle burn feels and how that tired, sweaty, drained but brilliant exhaustion feels. Visualise yourself being once step closer to your goal because you have completed that workout. Visualise the smile that slowly appears on your face because you are proud of yourself for pushing through all the physical and mental barriers to complete workout after workout. And visualise when you have finally reached your goal. Think about how you will look and feel. Think about the positive comments friends and family will make. And then, think about how you would feel if you gave up and didn't reach your goal. More often than not, you'll find the long term rewards you visualise will make you happier than the short term pleasure of sitting watching tv and eating crisps!
3 - Tell yourself about all the benefits you will gain. Remember it's not just the physical benefits such as fat burned or muscle gained, because exercise can also improve your mood and help alleviate depression. So you can blow away the cobwebs of the day from the office/children and invigorate your body and mind. It can be extremely difficult to get active if you're tired and sluggish so you need to tell yourself that it soon disappears once you start exercising, and you will be energized afterwards, or this catch 22 situation can be a downward spiral. And there's always the added benefit of socialising with friends if you do it together - this can be great motivation!
But ultimately, remember that you chose this, because you want to reach your personal goals. You're doing this for you. So find ways that work, that enable you to continuously create your own motivation.
Once you do, you'll have a tool for life, and there will be no looking back....