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As life in lockdown continues it’s becoming harder to tell one day from another, so it’s understandable that a lot of people are struggling to keep up with their health and fitness goals. Lack of equipment aside, simply working up the energy to start a workout can feel overwhelming.
In a recent thread on Reddit, people have been sharing the ways that they have been able to build habits and cultivate a positive mind-set, so that they can start exercising even on days when they really, really don’t want to.
“I’m only cheating myself”
For some people, it’s useful to remember the investment they made in getting fit when they’re feeling unmotivated; a financial motivator is still a motivator.
“I always keep in mind that I’m only cheating myself one way or another,” says WeeJay11. “Be it my gym membership fees, or the home gym equipment I invested in for home use, or even skipping out on exercises I don’t like to do or doing them improperly. I’m only cheating myself, and in some cases I’m letting somebody else take advantage of my desire to be a healthier individual through paying them for a service I’m not utilizing.”
“I’m always glad afterwards”
“I hate running, but I’ve been running regularly for over ten years now,” says saugoof. “There are a couple of things that keep me running. One is that although I dread going for a run and hate it while I’m running, I have never regretted going for a run. I’m always glad afterwards that I did.”
“Another is that often I make something I want a condition of doing a run first, e.g. I won’t have dinner until after I’ve gone running. I also have a minimum distance that I run each week. I do this each and every week, no matter if the weather is shit, if I’m on holidays or away on business, busy this week, etc. If for some reason I do not manage to make my minimum distance I make up for it the week after. I know myself well enough to realise that if I didn’t stick religiously to this, I’d quickly lapse.”
“Keep each other accountable”
There are many benefits to having a workout buddy, from the social element to the increased accountability in showing up and doing the work, so it’s unsurprising that a number of responses on the thread encourage group activities as a way of staying motivated.
“Have someone to exercise with,” says Chairchucker. “Keep each other accountable for going and exercising. Maybe play a team sport. Then if you don’t exercise you’d be letting down the team.”
Of course, in our current situation that is easier said than done — but you can foster that sense of accountability by joining group workouts online.
“Make short term goals”
All too often at the start of a fitness journey, people can feel discouraged if they feel they’re not making immense progress right away, making that final goal, be it weight loss or building muscle, seem unreachable. Which is why it’s important to break that one endpoint down into smaller, attainable targets, as this commenter points out:
“It’s also really important to make short term achievable goals. Saying you want to lose 25 lbs is great but that’s gonna take a long time and there will be obstacles and frustration. But if you start with aiming at running a sub 10 minute mile or being able to to 10 pullups, you can see your incremental progress.”
“I start small. 5 mins a day or so,” adds lequalsfd. “Then when that becomes habit and the time has been mentally carved out I increase it to maybe 10 mins. And so on and so on until my habit is fully formed. It’s hard to motivate anyone to get up and immediately start a 30-60 min run. Start small stick to it and increase it after a week or two.”