There are a million excuses you can come up with not to work out — you're too tired, you don't have time, you forgot your sneakers at home, or you have your period and would much rather eat chocolate. We've all been there so here are some fail-proof ways to motivate you to follow through with your workout dates.
- Plan ahead. Get out your calendar and jot down exercise appointments before anything else comes up. Call personal trainers to set up sessions, sign up for salsa dance lessons with your partner, or mail your deposit in for that flying trapeze workshop you've had your eye on. It only takes a short amount of time to organize your exercise commitments, but once they're set up, you'll be more likely to stick with them.
- Get into a routine. Either work out at the same time every day, or if that's not possible, get into a routine of working out the same days each week such as Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. It will be tough to get going at first, but soon it will become as habitual as brushing your teeth.
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- Keep a fitness journal. It allows you to keep track of every aspect of your workouts so you can see your progress, and also forces you to be accountable to the commitment you made to exercise.
- Set a goal. Maybe you want to reach a certain weight, fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans, or train for a race. Having a goal you want to reach by a certain amount of time can give you the push you need to exercise regularly.
- Be creative. If you do the same workout every day, in the same place, you're bound to get bored. So run or bike a new route, use different weight equipment, take a new fitness class, or follow a brand new exercise DVD. Your body will become stronger and is at less risk for injury when you challenge it with different activities, and it'll also keep your mind stimulated.
- Be flexible. If you always work out at noon, but today a surprise meeting came up for work, don't let that ruin your plans. Figure out another time to fit in exercise that day.
- Do it with other people. Humans are social creatures and exercising with one or more people not only makes you keep your fitness dates, but it's also more enjoyable.
- Reward yourself. The physical and emotional benefits of exercise may not be enough to push you to stick with it, especially when you're just starting out, so try a tangible reward. Once you reach mini goals, such as losing a pound or being able to do 10 push-ups without your knees on the ground, buy yourself a new exercise shirt, a CD of music to work out to, or a chocolate truffle. When you reach bigger goals, get larger rewards such as a massage or pedicure. The rewards should be something you'll really appreciate, but make sure it doesn't undo all the good you've done.