If your resolution this year was to workout and stick with it, then kudos to you! Trying to lead a healthier lifestyle is a wonderful idea, never a cliché. But even if you invested in some cute riding shorts and have your new dumbbells at the ready by your dining room table, you might already be feeling those tell-tale signs of giving up. Waking up early in the morning to go jogging point-blank sucks, having to say no to the cheesecake is painful, and going to a Pilates class after work instead of swan diving onto the couch seems like a bum deal. Right?
Allow me to help you through this bump and show you, nope, you can stick with it! Being healthy shouldn't be painful, and you can plow through this first hurdle and get back to the time before you wanted to give up.
Below are seven tricks to stay on top of your working out resolution when you already want to quit. You can do this!
Change Up Your Reasons
Did you go into this thinking that you'll hit the StairMaster every day to get a better butt, but now don't think that daily pain is worth getting into those skinny jeans? Instead of talking yourself out of it, change the reason you're doing it.
Maybe that new leg strength will let you hike easier this spring through all the cool trails you've been bookmarking but were nervous to go on. Or maybe you'll be stronger to move your own furniture or you'll feel more confident when it comes to joining harder activities or classes (hello beach volleyball!). Find a new goal that will make you re-energized to keep at it, and focus on it.
Treats work, even when it comes to working out. When you feel your resolve petering out, create a bribe system where every week you finish without getting lazy or skipping a workout, you get a small treat (like a fun new yoga mat or pair of pretty socks).
Upgrade Your Workouts With Swag
The bribes continue! If you invest some money into your resolution, you might feel more inclined to actually stick to your decision. For example, buy some workout outfits that will make you excited to slip out of your work clothes and lace up your runners. Get a FitBit to keep track of your goals and your progress, or download an app that does something similar. Buy a cheeky workout mat that will bring some humor into your Pilates, or upgrade your headphones so you can hear your pump-up music better. Knowing you just bought new workout gear a couple of weeks ago will make you feel guilty skipping the gym.
Break Up Your Goals Into Increments
Say you started running this January with the goal in mind of getting to a five mile run without throwing up. That's a great goal! But if you're slapping at the "stop" button on your treadmill after a mile and a half, that finish line can seem impossibly far away and will make you want to quit. So instead, break it all into increments.
Your main goal is to work up to a five mile run. But by the end of January you're going to try to get up to two miles. For February you're going to increase it to three, and in March you're going to be racing through the park until you hit four. Knowing you're moving through levels motivates you, and keeps you striving for something. This can be done with any workout goal—whether it's how many pounds you can lift, how much weight you want to lose, or which yoga moves you want to master.
Work Out For "Just Five Minutes"
This is a great tip for chronic procrastinators who have a hard time buckling down at a desk, but it works just as well for workouts. When you're lounging on the couch in sweats and telling yourself you so don't want to workout that day, promise yourself you'll just exercise for five minutes. That's it. That's all you're obligated to do.
Pop into a couple of squats, do a handful of crunches, and you're on your way. But what usually happens is that around minute four, you're going to think "well, I guess since I'm already at it I can do another 15." And before you know it, you'll have a legit workout in.
Take Out The Obstacles
Often the hardest part of working out is convincing yourself to put your gym shoes on. Once you're in the middle of your routine, you power through it and feel all the better for it. So the main hurdle you have to jump through is putting your exercise clothes on — and to do it, make the act itself as easily accessible as possible.
For example, say you work out after work, but know once you eat dinner and sit on the couch, you'll no longer be motivated to do it. Because of that, take your workout clothes with you to the office and go right after you close up shop. Or have your workout clothes — from the sports bra right down to the socks — neatly folded on the kitchen counter when you come home reminding you to do it before you reach for any pots and pans and get distracted.
Associate Working Out With Something Pleasurable
Not everyone relishes that runner's high or feels the endorphins after what feels like a thousand squats. And that's perfectly fine— but that doesn't mean you can't link something pleasurable with your workout. For example, load your phone with podcasts or audio books that will entertain you while you sweat it out on the elliptical or on the trail. Download new music that will make you want to listen to the next track and keep moving. Put your favorite TV show on your phone and do your pushups and planks as you listen to it in the background. Distract yourself with things that hold your interest and you'll be cruising through the whole thing.