How to Keep Exercising After Everyone Else Loses Steam
If you visit any local gym during the month of January, it’s going to be packed. Packed, I tell ya!
Why? Because of the phenomenon known as the “January Joiners.” Lovely, entirely well-meaning folks like yourself decide that this year is going to be The Year. The one that everything finally changes and becomes awesome and you meet every single health goal.
For most of us, that goes well for anywhere from one hour to a couple of months, at most, then we’re out of steam. Especially when it comes to actually going to the gym.
- Think outside the gym. If the line of dreadmills (ha!), stinky free weights room, and over-chlorinated pool are not your style, consider joining a running or rowing club, taking a yoga or barre class, or joining an adult league of a sport you like, like softball or basketball. You don’t need an elliptical trainer or a locker room to get fit.
- Make new friends. At the gym. Or in life. If you make friends with people who are already spending time at your new place of sweat, you’re more likely to go back, because you’ve built community. These folks who are into exercise and fitness are also more likely to keep you motivated to stay on track yourself.
- Find a workout buddy. Can you make one of those new sweaty friends your workout partner? Or do you already have someone in your life who’d like to get or stay fit who also wants to help you do the same? Having someone to walk or run or go to class with makes it so much more fun, and you’re so much more likely to stick with it.
- Start slow and work up. Repeat after me: “I will not promise myself that I’ll work out for an hour six days a week. That kind of goal will overwhelm me.” If your overall fitness or exercise goal is a million miles from where you’re sitting today, overdoing it the first couple of weeks is going to have you so sore and so burnt out that you’ll give up before January is even halfway through. Try hitting the gym three times a week in January and then adding an extra day each week in February. If you want to work your way up to six days a week, go for it, but do it in small increments.
- Hire a personal trainer if you can. Having the right personal trainer can be a huge motivator for getting to the gym. They’ll text you if you’re late, check in on you, and make your workouts fun. They’ll also teach you the proper form for exercising, plus show you some new moves you’ve probably never tried before. This is a huge bonus, because after your time together is up, you’ll still feel motivated to go to the gym, since you’re not wandering around with no clue what to do or how to do it.
- Put working out in your calendar. You’ve heard it before, but have you ever followed through? You carve out time for things like watching TV and getting your poodle groomed; you have to do the same for your workouts.
- Don’t let setbacks keep you from exercising. So what if you missed a week? Don’t be embarrassed, and don’t talk yourself out of starting up again next Monday. Mistakes happen, it’s not that big of a deal.
- Profess your plan to everyone you can. You don’t want to fail, so tell others. And tell them to ask you about it, too!
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