Know what’s annoying? That it takes what feels like years to get into a solid workout routine but then only a few days of skipping the gym to lose every ounce of motivation. And if that doesn’t happen to you, please teach me your ways.
Let’s get one thing straight: I’ve never really enjoyed working out. I used to be a dancer and competitive cheerleader, and I was definitely in the best shape of my life during that time. Then the second I graduated high school and took the fun out of my workouts, exercising was the last thing on my to-do list. Especially if my only option was a treadmill or elliptical.
Now, years later, I’m still back and forth in the whole I-hate-working-out rut. In fact, I’m probably not even qualified to write a post about workout motivation. I’m not a personal trainer, not a workout fanatic, and certainly not in tip-top shape. I tried to be that girl who loves getting up at 6 a.m. to head to the gym many of times, but after a few months of early-morning classes, I always went back to pressing the snooze button. But lately something has just clicked.
Here’s exactly how to get your motivation back from someone who’s been there.
1. Don’t think of working out as working out.
I think one of my biggest problems was telling myself I needed to go work out, because even the words “work out” made me not want to do it. When you think of exercise as a way to make yourself feel good — both physically and mentally — it’s like a switch goes off. It’s no longer about #GettingSwole. It’s doing something for myself that I know helps get rid of my stress, helps me climb the stairs to my apartment without wanting to die, and makes me feel good about myself.
2. Ditch your goals.
Whenever I decide to start working out again, I always have one goal in mind: To tone up, get a nice booty, look like Jessica Alba… the list goes on. I would last a few weeks going toward that goal, but I’m also the type that expects to see results after my first workout. Obviously that’s not going to happen, and results take months — not minutes. I’d eventually fizzle out and the next thing I knew it was a few months later and I was starting the same process all over again. I finally learned that instead of going toward a goal — whatever that may be — there should only be one thing motivating me: Simply treating my body right. Then, those goals just kind of fall into place along the way.
3. Stick to things you actually enjoy.
So simple, right? I’ve tried it all: boot camps, yoga, boxing… It was all fine, but it didn’t leave me excited to go back afterward. And then something hit me: I don’t have to do things I don’t like to get in a good workout. (Duh.) I ended up switching to things I sincerely enjoyed — like Pilates, hiking, and the occasional cycling class — and those things became my happy things. I knew afterward I would feel refreshed and ready to take on the day, and that’s exactly what’s going to make me want to keep going. And I have a feeling the same thing will work for you, too.