Working out can be hard to do, especially when you’re just starting out, or starting over. These 10 easy tips for ways to stay motivated to workout will help you to push yourself into a healthier, happier you!
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I recently started working out…again.
My love of workout out starting in high school. I was obsessed with aerobics. Tammy Lee Webb (you know the Bun’s of Steel girl?!) was my idol. I had the whole collection. I even used to record the workout programs that ESPN used to air – commercial breaks and all – on VHS tapes.
I’m totally dating myself, but this is a lifestyle blog for those of us who are 40 and over, right? No shame.
Through the years, I kept up my regular workout routine, until I moved out-of-state and got pregnant with my first son shortly after.
I was basically a working, single mom with no free time, no friends or family to babysit, and no energy for anything above and beyond what had to get done.
Then, as my son got older and I moved back home, I got back into working out, this time running. I’ve always hated running, but I was doing it and even ran a couple of 5K’s before I got pregnant with my second son.
I was told I was potentially losing the baby and was high-risk the entire pregnancy. By this time I was also diagnosed with PCOS and really struggling with some of the side effects.
Between my diagnosis, and a special needs infant who didn’t sleep for at least a year or two, I stopped working out all together.
Fast forward a couple of years and here I am. And, I’m more motivated than ever.
These 10 tips to help stay motivated to workout are actually all tips that I’m using or plan to incorporate. I’ve never been as motivated as I am now and I hope that I’m able to help you stay motivated, as well!
10 Tips To Staying Motivated to Workout
A Rewards System
This might seem like an extreme way to start the list off, but this is always the first thing I go to when I’m lacking motivation.
For me, the reward is currently allowing myself to buy a new workout outfit from Ellie, IF I workout 2-3 times a week, not including taking walks with my kids. It has to be dedicated time on the treadmill.
Having a cute new outfit motivates me to workout so it’s a win-win. If you think a cute outfit is the way to go, you can check out my first Ellie review (it’s by far my favorite activewear subscription, high quality, and not ridiculously expensive like a lot of other fitness brands).
You can choose any reward that works for you. Maybe it’s a weekly cheat meal, or a monthly cheat day, or a new lipstick or pair of shoes. It should just be something that you love.
I used to set a reward for reaching a certain weight, but I like the monthly rewards for just showing up and keeping to my schedule, which brings me to the next tip.
Set Smaller Goals
Maybe you’ve heard it before, but smaller goals add up to bigger goals. The idea is that you’re working towards something with different “steps” along the way.
For example, maybe your big goal is to lose 50 pounds. Don’t focus on losing 50 pounds today. Instead, focus on losing 5 pounds (in a healthy way, of course!) and celebrate that!
Then, start over. Focus on losing 5 pounds again and celebrate again!
Your small goals don’t have to be weight-related either.
Maybe your goal is to run a 5K, like mine is now. Set your first goal to run a mile, then celebrate that!
I use the C25K (Couch to 5K) app on my phone and it helps you go a little further each day. I’m currently stalled at running for 25 minutes (or about 2.5 miles) but when I started about 2 months ago, I could barely run 2 minutes without being exhausted. It really works!
Find An Activity That You Love
You don’t have to run if you hate it. There are so many activities that you can do, but you may have to try a few to find one that you really enjoy.
It’s weird for me to tell you not to run if you hate it, because I don’t enjoy running. I do, however, love the way I feel afterwards. Being motivated to get on the treadmill is definitely harder for me, unless I remind myself how good I’ll feel after.
I do love roller skating, but since my youngest son can’t do that, I don’t have the ability to do that regularly. I’m also planning to get a bicycle soon and enjoy hiking.
If we ever get that in-ground pool I’ve been dreaming off, swimming laps will definitely be my go-to workout in the summer.
Find Activities That You Can Do With Your Kids
Obviously this tip is for those of us still raising children.
It can be really hard, depending on your family dynamic and work-life, to find time to workout when you have children, especially younger children.
I recommend finding some activities that you can do together. This doesn’t have to be your only source of working out, but rather a way to fit more physical activity into your day, and theirs.
For instance, I do a workout in the “dungeon” backroom in our basement 2-3 times a week before the kids wake up. Then, we go to walks around our neighborhood together a few times a week.
We can also go hiking, swimming, or play tag and soccer in the backyard. Your workouts don’t always have to be the same thing and your kids will be glad for the added time with you. The most important thing, next to spending time together, is that you stay active.
Get A Workout Buddy
In the past, my cousin and I both used the C25K app to prepare to run our first 5K together. Having each other to lean on and push the other person really helped us both and we ran 2 races together.
I don’t currently have a workout buddy or accountability partner, but it’s something that I really want to do again. I’m hoping my cousin will jump back into things with me, but he hasn’t made up his mind yet – ha!
If you have a friend or family member who is in a similar situation, reach out to them to buddy up with. Plan to text each other a certain time to ensure the other is awake and working out, or have weekly check-ins or even days you workout together.
It really does help!
Stick To A Schedule
How many days do they say it takes for something to become a habit? The same is true for working out.
If you plan to work out 3 days a week, find a time that works with your scheduled and put it in your calendar with a reminder or alert on your phone. Working on your self, your health, and your happiness is just as important as making sure the kids make it to their sports practices twice a week, or that you’re present at your company’s weekly meetings.
Don’t put yourself on the back burner! Your family, significant other, and kids will all start to get used to your schedule, and you will too!
Do Monthly Weigh-Ins
If your goal is to lose weight, don’t weigh yourself everyday or even every week.
Do a monthly weigh-in or take body measurements monthly, if that’s what you prefer, rather than doing these things daily or weekly.
Things don’t change that rapidly and seeing the scale hovering around the same number everyday can be discouraging. It’s even more discouraging when the number goes up, and it likely will some days.
I haven’t been on the scale at all since I started back on keto/low carb on February 1, 2020 and started working out on March 1, 2020.
I can tell by the way my clothes fit and the lack of bloating that I’ve lost significant weight. And, I can also tell when it’s that time of the month.
I’ve noticed that the idea of positive affirmations, where you repeat one or two positive statements about yourself or your life is gaining in popularity.
It’s definitely an area that I am weak in, but I have been trying to remind myself that even though progress is slow to be seen, it’s still happening.
Some positive affirmations could be repeating to yourself why you want to workout, why you deserve to be healthier and stronger, and how awesome you are that you are up off of your rear and actually doing the darn thing!
I can definitely see the benefits of this. Even as I am typing this out, I’m starting to feel like I need to close this laptop and head down to that dungeon workout room and get moving!
What the heck is visual motivation, you ask? It’s something that you see that motivates you to keep going.
This can be a photo of yourself during a time that you felt comfortable or an image of someone with a physique or healthy lifestyle that you would like to achieve. I initially wanted to tell you not to make it an image that would be unattainable, but in business, we are often told to set our big, long-term goal extremely high. You will have to decide for yourself which works best for you.
This is by no means saying that you need to find a “skinny” photo of yourself or idolize someone much thinner etc. Everyone has their own idea of what body type they are happy and comfortable at. It’s just meant to be a kick in the butt when you don’t feel like putting in the effort.
It could also be a photo of your kids that inspires you to be a healthier, stronger example to them.
Materialistic motivation is perfectly fine too! An example of this would be a favorite pair of jeans that don’t fit quite right lately or a dress you love that isn’t super flattering at the moment. Leave them out and try them on once a month.
Personally, I am inspired by women who have kids, run their own business, and still find time to take care of themselves, rather than the size of the woman herself. It’s a huge challenge for me, but when I see that visual image, I know that if she can do it, so can I.
I also have 2 children. One who is extremely athletic and with whom I hope to run my next 5K with soon. My youngest was born with dwarfism, will likely have to work harder to maintain his physical fitness, and may often fall short of his peers when it comes to sports.
My oldest son pushes me, and I hope to be a example to motivate my youngest to never give up. He’s still young, so it could all be reversed and he could end up being the hardest working out of all of us. Time will tell.
I also have some older clothing items that I love that no longer fit, that I have not been able to part with. They aren’t from my size 2 days, but rather still attainable sizes.
One is a really pretty dress from J.Crew that I have probably had 10-15 years! The other is a shirt that has to be just as old. Both are mediums, which is the size I usually wear now, but run small. I know that if I keep working hard, I can wear them again someday!
Give Yourself Grace
Everyone messes up. Everyone falls off their schedule. Sometimes it’s for a day or two and you get right back to it. Other times, like in my case, life throws you some curve balls and before you know it 3 years have gone by.
Don’t beat yourself up. Things happen. It’s never too late to pick yourself up and start again.
If you have implemented some of the other tips from the list, especially setting a schedule and phone alerts, it will be easier to hop back into your routine. But again, it’s never too late! I just can’t stress this enough.
You’re likely here reading this (and have made it this far!) because you feel you need a little push or nudge in the right direction. I hope you have found at least a couple new ways to stay motivated to work out.