Exercise: How to Stay Motivated
The results are in: most people quit their new exercise regimen within six to twelve weeks, which means by March, most folks are sunk back into the sofa with a bag of pork rinds in one hand and a TV remote in the other. Don’t be a statistic! Stick with it! But…how? How do you stay motivated and disciplined when the endorphin honeymoon is over and day-to-day reality sets in? This can be especially difficult in a COVID-19 environment. Let’s look at some factors that contribute to giving up:
l Focusing on short-term superficial results instead of lifetime lifestyle change. You may not realize it, but you might secretly believe that you’ll only need to exercise for a while to get the body you want, and then you can go back to sitting and eating everything in sight. You must get it into your head: this has to be a permanent lifestyle, period, no exceptions.
l Obsessing over the scale. Poundage is only one way to measure success, and it isn’t the most accurate. Water retention and hormones are only two factors that make your bathroom scale an unreliable measure of your progress. A more accurate gauge is how your clothes fit, and better still is your tape measure. Or try measuring your progress by how much better your body works instead of how much better it looks.
l Working too hard. If one workout a day is good, then two or three are better. Right? Often new exercisers think they can get better results faster by going from a completely sedentary lifestyle to the habits of an NFL lineman. The results? Injury. Exhaustion. Frustration. Giving up. Look at the long-term: start easy and work your way up. Give your body a break and it will thank you by not breaking down.
l Not working hard enough. On the other hand, some people don't take their intensity high enough to promote results. Talk to a trainer to find out how to monitor your intensity to obtain optimal results.
l Comparing yourself to others. Ah, the old trap. If no one else will say it to you, we will: you are not Jennifer Anniston/Brad Pitt. And it’s okay. Focus on your own gains and successes and not the person’s next to you. Many times, this is just an excuse to quit. But you’d never do that, would you?
l Giving up too soon. Results are inevitable if you work out. It’s that simple. Don’t fool yourself into believing that you’re the only person in the world who’s ever lived who is immune to exercise, and so you might as well give up. Even if you don’t see results yet, focus on the ones you feel: more energy, better sleep, clearer mind.
And one final note... Finding a buddy to exercise with can be a great help. Not only do you push each other (a little competitive comradery can be fun) but it can make the relationship stronger.