Happy Monday, everyone! It’s the start of the holiday week, and many of us are ready for well-deserved vacations and time with family and friends. With the new year coming up, most of us are also thinking of our resolutions for 2017. I am going extra cliche with a resolution to start working out and getting serious about getting healthy and strong. To that end, I joined a gym for the first time in — wait for it — 10 years!
Although my hopes are high, I’m also very aware that historically I have not kept to my resolutions for very long. Like most people, my motivation seems to wane with time. So I began to think about what it is that keeps people motivated over time. Here are the three R’s I thought about to help you (and me!) maintain motivation throughout the year:
Set Realistic Goals. I’m all for reaching for the stars, but getting there usually requires a series of small steps as opposed to one giant leap. Starting small with your goals helps to make them feel more attainable, which will help you to stay on track. For example, promising myself to work out five times a week for an hour will just be setting me up for failure since I’m currently at zero times a week. Instead, my goal is work out 2-3 times a week for at least 30 minutes. This seems far less scary because it’s a realistic goal. Breaking up your resolution into smaller, manageable goals will keep you from giving up too soon.
Remember Your Reasons. A few years ago, I quit smoking. It was one of the hardest things I ever did. But, one thing that helped me was to write down all the reasons I wanted to quit and all the benefits I would get from quitting. I kept the list on a small piece of paper in my wallet and would take it out every time I got the desire to smoke. I also kept a calendar in my office and wrote a big, red X through every day I went without a cigarette. Having this regular reminder of why I was taking this important step, and having a visual image of my progress, was a huge factor in keeping me committed to reaching my goal.
Reward Yourself. I love treating myself, but it feels especially good when I feel like I’ve really earned it. One way to stay motivated to keep your resolution is to reward yourself with something you like after completing a milestone. If you’re quitting a bad habit, take yourself out for a mani/pedi or a nice dinner when you’re habit free for a couple of weeks. If like me, you’ve chosen health and fitness as your resolution, buy yourself a new pair of sneakers, a new sports bra, or a delicious cheat meal/splurge after sticking to your new routine for a month. Positive incentives are a great way to stay motivated and if you can figure out a way to reward your efforts, you’ll be more likely to stick with them.
What are some of the ways you stay motivated?