We’ve all been there. Sometimes you just have a few days or weeks where life gets in the way and you find yourself hitting the gym less and less. Once school started this year, I was busier than ever with planning, grading, taking a graduate class, and found my motivation for the gym quickly slipping away. I definitely go to the gym much more when I don’t have school (weekends, or summers), but I didn’t want to let the time off become the norm. I know personally how much of a difference exercise and fitness makes in my life. Working out makes me feel stronger, more confident, and is the best way that I de-stress.
Working out increases my strength, not only physically, but mentally as well. So why did I allow myself to get away from that this year? We’re all busy with different things, and we all have the same 24 hours. It really comes down to deciding that you are going to make time for something that’s important, or go even though you’re tired after work. There were just too many days where I didn’t choose to go. I didn’t choose to lace up my running shoes and take that first step.
So if you need a little motivation today as well, keep reading as I share 5 tips that worked for me to get back on track recently!
1. Don’t beat yourself up
First and foremost, don’t beat yourself up about getting off-track. Recognize that you’re human, and there will be days (or weeks!) when you don’t get to the gym or maintain a perfect diet. As hard as you try, sometimes life just gets in the way, and it’s important to be gentle with yourself. You can’t change the past, only let it drive the future. I couldn’t have said it any better than the way it is depicted in this quote – what defines you isn’t that you fell, but that you rose stronger each time.
Make ONE thing a part of your daily routine. Maybe you choose to have a salad every day for lunch, or take a walk around the block each night after dinner. Whatever you choose, make sure you stick with it! Consistency is key. You will be able to look back after a week or two, and celebrate that you’ve met your goal. That will give you confidence and motivation to continue setting goals.
One way this helped me was during my workouts. When I first went back to the gym, I couldn’t just start right of lifting for an hour straight, or running five miles. I knew it would be harder at the beginning to get back into it, so I set small time goals for myself. At the beginning, I told myself I just had to stay for half an hour. If I wanted to stay for longer, great! If not, at the end of that half an hour, I could walk out of that gym knowing I at least was taking a step to incorporate fitness into my life more regularly, and knowing that I had done something healthy for my body that day.
The more that I continued to go, the more often that half an hour mark would hit, and I wanted to stay for longer. Setting a small goal at the beginning helped me to increase my chances of being successful.
3. Set yourself up for success
One of the ways I like to do this is by packing a gym bag ahead of time, for the next day. I throw the gym bag in my car, and whether or not my schedule permits, I will be prepared! Everyone is different, but I have found that stopping by my house first after work is not a good way to recharge before the gym. Typically when I come home in between, I end up getting distracted by cleaning or laundry, or lay down for a few minutes to recharge and fall asleep. My gym is located on the way home from my work anyways, so it works best for me to head straight to the gym and just workout right away with before heading home.
4. Try something new
Check with your local gym to see what group fitness classes they are currently offering. Trying a new workout class may be just what you need to make you excited about working out again. Are you stressed to the max and need an anxiety reliever? Try yoga or a pilates class to stretch, relax, and build flexibility. Do you love to dance and be energetic? Hit up the next Zumba class to release some energy and get a sweat going! If you try something new and really enjoy it, you will be more motivated to continue going back, and excited to incorporate fitness into your daily routine again.
5. Stay accountable
I record my runs and lifting sessions in a notebook each week. I use the Runner’s Day by Day Log from Runner’s World. The notebook is designed for recording each week’s runs, but since so much space is provided for each day, I record any workouts I do here. It’s easier to see your workouts and progress all in the same space. Recording your workouts will allow you to look back and see how far you’ve come.
What is one way you get back on track? I’d love to hear what works for you below!