Getting in shape: how to maintain your motivation?
Did you make the big and wise decision to get back into sport? This in itself is a great idea, but did you know that the real challenge is to persevere rather than just getting started in physical activity? Here are some practical tips to help you keep the fire going.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IS THE FOUNDATION OF GOOD HEALTH
It is well known that maintaining good health depends in large part on adopting a healthy lifestyle. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, abstaining from smoking, avoiding stress and sleeping well are at the top of the list of ways to stay in shape. Regarding physical activity, its health benefits are well established. But to feel or observe them, it is crucial to exercise regularly (at least three times a week, ideally every day) over a long period of time.
Who has never subscribed to a sports center and then lost their enthusiasm? It happens to many people. In fact, it is estimated that more than half of individuals who begin an exercise program quit within the next six months. Here are some tips so you don’t fall into that statistic.
Set realistic goals
Knowing exactly where you’re going usually helps get there. Setting specific goals will motivate you to take the steps to achieve them. It can be beneficial to display them in strategic places: on the refrigerator door or your bedside table or on the screen of your smartphone for example. Ideally, go for goals with measurable results, such as how many pounds to lose within a certain time frame. It may be good to set a final goal and intermediate goals that will give you additional motivation.
Love what you do
First, find an activity that you enjoy doing. There’s no point in wanting to take up swimming if you hate water, or signing up to a gym if being confined indoors turns you off. Do you like to dance? Sign up for an aerobics or Zumba class. For older people, a social dance class can be a great way to maintain flexibility and coordination.
Discuss your approach with those around you
Because there is strength in unity, it will be advantageous for you to be able to count on the encouragement and support of those around you. Discuss your process with your family, friends and colleagues and let them know your goals. Additionally, determine what type of athlete you are. Do you prefer to indulge in your sports activities alone or in a group? Who knows, maybe some of your loved ones will want to accompany you to your sessions.
Focus on consistency rather than intensity
When starting a new physical training, it is a good idea to adopt the principle “slowly but surely”. Take it slow at first; you will add more challenges (more miles, more pool lengths, etc.) as your body gets used to your new lifestyle. If you wonder too much at first, you may be tempted to give up when an obstacle or injury occurs. Remember to recover well between workouts.
Go for variety and novelty
The best way not to get bored is to vary the activities. So walk, run, swim, dance if you feel like it! Fill your weeks with a multitude of different activities that charm and inspire you. Are you more inclined to appreciate regularity and routine or, on the contrary, diversity? The simple fact of changing course can allow a runner to regain his motivation. Avoid weariness, it is the enemy of perseverance.
Adapt your daily life to your needs
To get in shape, don’t limit yourself to planned and supervised sports activities. Try to change your daily life by seizing every opportunity to move: go up the stairs instead of taking the elevator or go shopping while walking instead of taking the car. Simply incorporating several physical activities into your daily routine can go a long way in helping you feel more fit. An extra minute of physical exercise is never wasted.
Give yourself rewards and moments of rest
Taking care of yourself also sometimes involves giving yourself moments of respite. After a particularly active week, why not relax while watching a movie in great company? Or enjoy a good, well-deserved meal at the restaurant? It is important that you reward your efforts; how you do it is up to you. Show your imagination and surprise yourself! Choose your rewards in advance; this will undoubtedly be a powerful motivator.
Anticipate and accept the ups and downs
The fact of seeing his motivation run out of steam at times is undoubtedly inevitable. Over time, you will find yourself wanting to deviate from the good habits you have taken. First, be tolerant of yourself; don’t judge yourself. If you are feeling less motivated, ask yourself why you want to slow down. Then try to find concrete ways to remedy the situation: go to bed earlier, find a new activity, hire the services of a personal trainer, etc. Ideally, try to plan strategies that you will use when motivation drops occur.
So there you have it, the time has come for you to move from thought to action. If you ever feel like giving up, think about the many benefits that physical activity brings to your well-being, quality of life and health. It is without a doubt one of the best investments there is. It is up to you to reap the fruits of your efforts!