Thanks for checking out my fourth post in the New Year, New Me series. Over the past few weeks I’ve broken down my tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and have already looked at the importance of preparation and exercise. This post will focus on motivation and how to stay motivated so that you can stick to your health and fitness goals throughout the years.
Motivation is one of the most important parts of maintaining a healthy lifestyle but honestly I think it’s probably the hardest. It’s the reason why so many people fail to keep going once the January novelty of keeping fit has waned. The hard part about motivation is that it has to be self-driven. You have to want to get healthier and fitter and you have to want it more than the much easier alternative of doing nothing. No amount of tips and tricks are going to change the fact that food prep is boring, workouts are hard and you have to make conscious healthy choices to keep this up. What I’m here to stress is that it is worth it and you will love it! Eventually.
Right now think about what it is that you actually want out of this. Are you trying to lose weight? Perhaps you want to tone up or maybe you’re just looking to get generally healthier and fitter? These are all great reasons to get moving and are probably what’s kept you going until now. The problem with these kinds of goals are that they’re long term. That doesn’t mean they’re not important but it can be hard to keep sight of them when things inevitably don’t go quite how you want them to. After all, people don’t drop dress sizes in a week, muscles don’t grow over night and how do you really measure healthier on the day to day?
That’s why I’ve put together some helpful ways of maintaining that motivation until you get to the point where you love health and fitness so much it becomes motivation in itself. And trust me, it will!
Find your ‘why’
Now this is obviously your long term goal that we discussed before. What you’re wanting to get out of health and fitness and why you’ve chosen now to get started; not last month or the year before. The only thing is, it can’t be your only ‘why’. If your only goal is to look a certain way or to drop X amount of pounds you’re going to lose motivation pretty quickly. That means you have to find your ‘why’ in every workout. For me I workout because it’s my ‘me time’. I love putting on a killer playlist in a room by myself and taking the time to really focus on me. It’s a time where nobody disturbs me and I can just de stress. Maybe you’ll love the feeling of accomplishment that comes with a great session or perhaps it’ll make you feel badass. Whatever it is, your ‘why’ has to be something personal to you and something that’s going to keep you coming back every time.
Set realistic short term goals
Short term goals are amazing for keeping up morale and motivation. Maybe you’ve always wanted to be able to do a push up or walk a flight of stairs without getting out a breath? Perhaps there’s a pair of jeans you’re desperate to fit in or really want to run a mile without stopping? Unlike long term goals you get to see these changes happen and each accomplishment leaves you feeling pretty epic. Nothing spurs you on like setting a goal and hitting it and I’m a much bigger fan of using short term goals to track progress than any number on a scale.
Set yourself challenges
Challenges are a super fun ways of adding healthy habits to your life one by one without feeling overwhelmed by major changes or like you’ve stepped too far out of your comfort zone. Fitness challenges are my favourite and there’s never a shortage of them going around Instagram or YouTube if you’re lost for ideas. At the moment I’m doing two: 50 squats every night before I go to bed and holding a crab pose for a minute a day. Though I love the fitness ones, challenges are a great addition because you can target them to any area of your life not just your workouts. Try challenging yourself to drink a litre of water when you first wake up for a week or to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night for a month. Who knows, maybe one will stick around to become a healthy habit you do every day without even thinking.
Hold yourself accountable
Like any new change, when you first start out it can be pretty hard to stick to. That’s why it’s important to have something that keeps you accountable for your actions. This can be as simple as a monetary factor. If you sign up to the gym it’s a pretty big expense. Don’t let that cash go to waste and get your butt down there. Or try getting yourself a workout buddy. It’s a lot harder to blow off your workout if you’re letting someone else down too. Maybe exercise isn’t your problem and food is where you really struggle. It’s alright to treat yourself but having a chocolate bar every time you have a salad because ‘you’ve been good’ isn’t helping and you know it. Hold yourself accountable for your actions.
Get yourself a role model
Having a role model is a great way to keep yourself motivated. With the right combination of ‘I can do it and so you can too’ and a few helpful tips along the way a great role model can be the difference between sticking to your new changes until they become second nature or giving up at the first hurdle. Whether this is a person you know personally or a health and fitness inspiration you found online having someone to look up to and model your behaviours on is really motivating. Plus many online gurus come with their own following, bringing a real sense of community to your new lifestyle and giving you the opportunity to get in touch with and meet so many inspirational people who are doing this right along with you.
I had the honour of being able to reach out to one of my health and fitness idols, Carly Rowena, and find out what keeps her motivated and why she works out. If you don’t know who Carly is (have you been living under a rock?) she is an incredibly inspirational YouTuber/Blogger and personal trainer who gives advice on getting fit and healthy as well as sharing her life through daily vlogs. What I love the most about Carly is her take on what I like to call realistic fitness. Setting achievable health and fitness goals and striving to be happy above all else. Plus her abs are ah-mazing; serious goals. Make sure you check out her blog. Here’s what she had to say:
“Why I workout: The reasons are endless but in truth it all comes down to one thing, I want to live a long and healthy life, I want to be able to run for the bus without feeling out of breath, carry my shopping home without having to stop a million times and never have to bully myself in the mirror when trying on clothes. My workouts aren’t to change a number on the scale, they’re to boost my mood after a hard day, to clear my head when everything’s going wrong and to hi-5 my friends when we’ve conquered something we never thought we previously could.”
I hope you found these motivation tips helpful and well…motivating. Right now it’s time to put that new found sense of purpose to work and kick your butt into gear as I’ve put together a great cardio routine that you can do in just 8 minutes!
As always complete each move for 45 seconds and then take 15 seconds off for a break. Cardio is super important in any routine but can be pretty difficult so I’ve included modifications in a lot of these moves.
- High Knees
- Mountain Climbers
- Jumping Jacks
- Lunge Pops – complete on your right side for 45 seconds take a 15 second break and then complete on your left side.
- Squat Taps
Jog on the spot with your hands out straight in front of you. Try and bring your knees up high enough to tap your hands.
Modification: If this is too difficult don’t bring your knees up as high and slow your pace to a light jog.
Get into a high plank position with your weight on your hands and toes. Make sure to keep your back straight and don’t dip your hips or let your bum stick up in the air. Pull your knees into your chest quickly alternating between each leg. This move should resemble running uphill in a horizontal position.
Modification: you can walk this move by bringing your knees into your chest slowly.
Start in a standing position with your legs straight and your arms by your side. Jump your legs out to both sides whilst simultaneously bringing your arms up above your head. Jump back into your starting position and repeat the move.
Modification: if this is too difficult complete half jacks. Stick your right leg out to your side whilst simultaneously raising your right arm above and over your head. Move back into your starting position and complete on the left side.
Start in a standing position with your feet together. Take a large step back with your right leg and lower yourself into a lunge position, making sure your back leg is in a 90 degree angle and your weight is in your front heel. Pushing through your front heel lift yourself out of the lung and drive your knee up towards your chest. Return back to your lunge position and repeat the movement.
Modification: you can perform his move as a basic lunge by lifting out of the lunge position to your original standing position. You can also alternate between legs to give your legs a short break between each lunge.
Start in a standing position with your feet together. Lower drop down and place your hands either side of your feet. Jump your feet back so that you land in a high plank position, hold for a moment and then jump your feet back between your hands. Lift yourself up, jumping off the ground as you reach the top and landing back down with your hands either side of your feet.
Modification: you can complete this move by removing the jumps. Lower yourself down with your hands either side of your feet. Step back into a plank position and step your feet back between your hands. Stand up to your original starting position and repeat the move.
Start with your feet together. Lower yourself into a narrow squat position keeping your feet and knees together. Alternating between each leg, step out to the side, hold for a moment and then return to your squat position
Start in a standing position with your feet together. Take a large step out with your left leg and cross your right leg over and behind. Simultaneously reach across with your right hand and touching your left toes. Jump up out of this position switching across so that your right leg is extended out wards with your left leg bent behind. Touch your right toes with your left hand.
Modification: If this is too difficult you can skip the jump and simple reach down and over to your opposite toes. Make sure to continue to step out to the side and step across and behind with your other leg.
How did you find this workout? Is your heart on fire? I hope so! What are some of your best tips for staying motivated? To get the last post in the New Year, New Me series just sign up to my blog for free!
Thanks, Megan x