Wednesday, July 20, 2011

4th Work-out Wednesday

Instead of my typical Work-out Wednesday (remember I'll share my progress again in August), I have a wonderful guest poster, Susan sharing how we can stay motivated in fitness!

Oh and just so you know, I haven't been slacking off! I did tons of walking Monday. 1 1/2 hours in the morning and almost 2 hours in the afternoon - passing out fliers (while pushing my kids in the stroller) for my ward's talent show and dinner activity! Plus it was hot outside!!! I was so tired and sore by the end of the day!

5 ways to stay motivated with fitness
Everybody does it: start a new, exciting fitness regime only to completely abandon it three days later. Failure isn’t great for fitness, mainly because people generally tend to console themselves with a tub of ice cream but also because it’s easy to believe that because we’ve failed once we’ll fail forever.

Thankfully there are some simple but effective steps that can keep you motivated when it comes to fitness making failure less likely and in turn making you less likely to turn to calorie-laden treats.

1. Set small, achievable goals.
Ever started a fitness regime in which, according to your plan, you’ll be doing a 24 mile run by the end of the week? Perhaps this is a bit of an exaggeration but often the reason we fail at fitness is because our goals are unrealistic. Before you set yourself a goal ask yourself: do I actually have a good chance of achieving this? If you’re honest with yourself and the answer is no then do not set that goal. You are setting yourself up for failure. Instead set yourself a more manageable task. If you achieve it before your given deadline you can always increase your target – won’t that make you feel good?

2. Make fitness work around you.
When planning a fitness regime many people, inexplicably, believe that their day has somehow lengthened by 6 hours and that they’ll be able to fit in a range of heart-racing activities around their already over-committed timetable. This approach forces you to make hard decisions: at some point you will have to choose between your fitness commitments, your family commitments and your career commitments. Nobody wants to choose between these things. Consequently rather than planning in marathon sessions it is best to look for gaps of 20-30 minutes in your schedule – write them into a diary if necessary and commit that time to yourself. If you can find three of these gaps in one week you’ve already hit the basic recommended exercise for a week. As time goes on rather than working for longer you could simply work yourself harder in the time you have spare to improve your fitness levels.

3. Don’t compare yourself to others.
Most people have that friend who can run faster, swim quicker and row with more control. The quickest way of de-motivating yourself is to draw comparisons between yourself and them. The only person’s progress you should be interested in is your own, if you’re not then it’s time to start questioning why you started the regime in the first place. Competing with those around you is not always the best motivation for getting fitter. It can take away a lot of the joy of doing something positive for yourself. Keep the focus on you and remember your reasons for starting a fitness regime in the first place which are hopefully all based around self-improvement and enjoyment.

4. Make fitness fun.
Confining yourself to an air-conditioned prison of a gym is not going to make you particularly willing to stick with your regime. If possible try going for runs or walks in the park – the beautiful surroundings will add to the enjoyment of your exercise and make it feel more like quality time to yourself. Alternatively try and locate outdoor swimming pools in your area. On a warm day this can be a very welcome way to pass the time. Nobody dictates how you should keep fit, as long as you get your heart rate up, so why not choose activities and environments that you enjoy such as skipping in the garden or taking a football to the park?

5. Praise yourself.
We’re taught to praise children all the time but adults need praise just as much if they’re to stay motivated and happy. When you achieve a goal find a way of rewarding yourself – preferably something that doesn’t involve food! Perhaps award yourself a certain amount of money for each goal you hit so that at the end of the regime you can buy a new dress. Or perhaps you could reward yourself with a manicure / beauty treatment. For many people simply looking into a mirror and acknowledging themselves with a “well done” is enough to keep them going; others need more tangible motivation. Whatever carrot it is that drives you onward – although I suspect it is not in fact carrot – use it to reward yourself and enjoy your success!

Susan writes on behalf of sofasandsectionals, a leading Palliser furniture retailer.

Thanks Susan! Great tips. I definitely need fun; I guess that's why I use my Wii! Praise is also key for me too!

Link up your fitness/health posts/blogs too so we can motivate each other!

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