The days are shorter, the covers are cozier and your race calendar is empty, all of which makes it much easier to skip your planned gym time. Motivation requires having a goal and a desire to achieve it so strong that no obstacle feels insurmountable.
However, the most successful people rely less on motivation and more on habits that have been cultivated through consistency. Learn how to make a habit out of working out (even during the chilliest times of the year when you’re more tempted to stay snuggled under a blanket on the couch) by implementing these five tips that will help you to rely less on motivation and get moving no matter what his winter.
1. Just Get Dressed
Even if you don’t feel like working out, put on your workout gear. Your body will actually respond to this by increasing your heart rate and you’ll begin to recall the feelings you get during exercise. If nothing else, it will make people around you ask if you are going to workout, at which point you’ll feel compelled to do so.
2. Pick a Set Time
Studies have shown that if you workout at the same time every day your body begins to anticipate the effort and will be primed for a better workout. Similar to the way you might always feel hungry at noon because you eat lunch at the same time, you’ll start to feel the need to workout at the same time daily, too.
3. Have Some Fun
The importance of enjoying the activity you select should not be overlooked! Just like you find excuses to put off tedious tasks, you will eventually do the same with any exercise you don’t enjoy. Your friends might love to run, but if dancing makes you smile then try Zumba or enroll in a ballroom dance class.
4. Follow Your Friends
Find a friend who already has a well-established exercise habit and tag along for their workout. Not only will they encourage you, but they’ll make it more enjoyable, too. (See number 3.) Also, look at how your friend structures their day in order to make their workout happen no matter what; mimic those good habits!
5. Reward Yourself
Eventually the workout itself may feel like a reward, but until then find a way to treat yourself immediately afterwards. (Try things like a hot bath, a piece of dark chocolate, or a few moments of quiet time.) You’ll begin to associate that good feeling with your workout which will increase your overall motivation to get it done.
Getting the Ball Rolling: 5 Mini Motivators
Remember The Beach
The now famous saying goes “summer bodies are made in the winter.” It’s easy to forget about swimsuits when wearing multiple layers, so start visualizing your next trip to the beach.
Enjoy More Food
It’s the season of parties, special foods and festivities. A daily workout habit will allow you to indulge a bit more without fear that you’ll need new jeans for the New Year.
While sitting in front of the computer is certainly not burning calories, following a group of fit minded people can help motivate you to make your workout happen. This is especially true if your friends aren’t as interested in the whole “health and fitness thing.”
Exercise is one of the quickest ways to change your mood because it releases hormones that make us happy. As a bonus it’s a great way to let out any pent up aggression!
Catch Up on Reading
Have a nightstand piled high with books that you’d love to read? Consider trying an audiobook and allowing yourself only to listen to it while you workout. It can help motivate you to go a few more minutes, and ending a workout between chapters might even leave you hanging so that you’ll be motivated enough not to miss your next sweat session.