Keep it fresh
If you’re struggling to deal with a dip in motivation, a great way to get back into working out is to try something new. It’s also a good idea to switch up high-intensity workouts with low-intensity options, like yoga or pilates. These will build flexibility and core strength, making it easier to exercise in the long run. Swimming – whether outdoors in summer or indoors in winter – is a great way to increase your endurance without putting pressure on your joints.
Mix it up
Here’s a secret: you don’t have to be pounding the pavements or hitting the gym to be working out! Find something you love that gets your body moving and throw yourself into it. Challenge yourself to find new ways of adding incidental exercise into your day as well, whether it’s taking the stairs, parking further away from the entrance at the shops or choosing a longer route when you’re walking. Turn this into a game of how many new ways you can find to build up your activity levels.
If you have kids, this is a great opportunity to involve them: have a dance off, get them helping in the garden or with the housework, or embrace your inner child with a game of jump rope or hopscotch that the whole family will benefit from.
Find a great soundtrack
No matter what activity you’re doing, it’s a great idea to pop on some headphones and find something to listen to that pulls your focus away from your workout and the negative thoughts of “I can’t do this” that might be running through your head. Whether you love listening to music with a great beat, podcasts or audiobooks, having something enjoyable to distract you while working out will make it go faster. If you make it something you only listen to when you’re exercising, it’s a great motivation to keep your workouts going throughout the week.
If you have an exercise bike or treadmill at home – or your gym has equipment with individual screens – having a TV show that you watch exclusively while exercising is a surefire way to keep that motivation going.
Lean into your personality type
If you’re an extrovert, choose an activity that you can do with a friend or find a group class to make new ones. A social activity will fill your cup and help you push yourself further. On the flip side, if you’re an introvert, picking a form of solo exercise is a great opportunity to be in your own little bubble and recharge your batteries.
With work and our busy lifestyles, we already spend enough time cooped up indoors. Make working out an opportunity to head outside and get some fresh air. Choose different routes and hit up some great scenery to make your workouts more enjoyable.
This isn’t limited to walking, running or biking, either – an exercise class in a park is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, or you could grab a friend and throw a frisbee. If you have a dog, they’ll love heading on extra walks (or joining you in the frisbee throwing!), and if you’re a mum, walking with your little one in a pram or taking the family out for a bike ride are great ways to mix up your workouts.
Harness your competitive spirit
Are you one of those people who loves to compete – whether against a partner, friend or even against yourself? Wearing an exercise tracker is a great way to track your progress and push yourself a little further each time.
Invest in new gear
Are uncomfortable shoes or boring activewear getting you down? Refresh your look and add bold colours and fun prints for a mental boost.
Set realistic goals and reward yourself
Science shows that when you set yourself goals, you’re much more likely to stick to your exercise plan. Make sure they’re realistic and achievable – stretch yourself but don’t push your aspirations too far or you’ll find what should be a positive can turn into a negative.
Reward yourself with treats along the way, such as DIY at-home spa treatments, new books, fresh gadgets. They don’t have to be huge rewards, simply something you love that will motivate you to keep it going. Pride in what you’ve accomplished is a great way to make working out more enjoyable – plus, who doesn’t love a treat?!
Challenge your mindset
If you’re struggling with working out and finding it hard to push through, thinking about how good you’ll feel when it’s done can be a powerful motivator. Focus on the positives: the endorphin high, the benefits for your body and the feeling of satisfaction for reaching your exercise goals. Before long, you’ll start to find some intrinsic motivation in your workouts. This is particularly important if you’ve been struggling with anxiety or depression; connecting the effort of your workout with the stress relief and health benefits it offers can really help push through a plateau.
A visual reminder of this, like a favourite quote stuck on your bathroom mirror or fridge, can be a fun way to keep focussed. Keep track of what exercise you’ve been doing and how it makes you feel and use that to refer back to when times get tough.