Studies find that keeping a fitness diary, reviewing your fitness successes and failures, and holding yourself accountable to others are all good strategies for sticking to New Year's fitness resolutions. But what about having fun?
Hopefully, you find exercise fun. Because if you did think exercising was fun, or at least made you feel good, it wouldn't be that difficult to keep doing it, right? Besides, there are so many ways to keep in shape, how could anybody have trouble finding that special exercise something that gets them motivated?
Unfortunately, it happens all the time. Folks with every intention to start getting in shape this year get started on an exercise program of some kind, maybe a diet and lifestyle change, and then revert back to comfortable, unhealthy habits within weeks. So how do you stay motivated? The top suggestions always include:
- Keep a fitness and diet journal
- Celebrate the little successes, face the failures and learn from them
- Let everyone know about your goal so they can help you apply leverage on yourself (nobody wants to announce a big goal and fail in front of everyone right?)
While these are all great strategies that help you engage in your health and fitness goals, it doesn't sound like a lot of fun. Now I know, this is your life, your health, this is serious business! You've got to suffer to shed those pounds and sculpt that muscular physique!
Well, yeah, sure you will, but if we like doing something the suffering tends to go unnoticed. In fact, there are a lot things you do, or would go through a lot of suffering for, right now. C'mon, think about it, I know there is something you are already huffing and puffing for, yeah?
So should you ditch the fitness journal? The MyFitnessApp type fitness trackers? Keep your fitness activities secret? Not necessarily, and in fact, if you can workout with others you will push yourself harder, it's just human nature. However, instead of all this regimented strategy, try just one:
Is this exciting? Am I having fun?
Look, the body moves, the muscles work, you sweat, you burn, all that is a given. This doesn't mean suffer and be bored. You can enjoy exercise anywhere, anytime if you set yourself up for success. This means:
-Buy enough equipment to keep you busy, OR
-If you like gyms/group classes etc., invest in an awesome club. This could be Equinox, 24 hour fitness, the local tennis team, soccer league, ice hockey or dance classes. The options are endless.
-Prepare yourself for indoor and outdoor fun. Especially you folks who get bogged down in the winter. If you aren't going to the gym, or prefer not to. Set up a home gym with kettlebells, adjustable dumbbells, resistance bands, gymnastics rings, a rower, spin bike or whatever your heart desires.
For outdoor activities, make sure you have a good pair of running shoes, a bike, maybe some snowshoes, a skateboard, roller blades, a basketball hoop in the driveway...get the idea?
Physical activitiy=exercise. If this activity is something you enjoy, you won't need to be reminded to do it. Let's say you like playing basketball, here's an example of how to remind yourself to do this everyday:
'Everyday I'm going to shoot hoops (add: when I get home from work, on my lunch break, after the kids are asleep, etc.)'
You can be more specific by saying, 'for 30 minutes,' or, after 50 pushups or a jog around the block. Find the activity, then add another. You'll never get bored.
Maybe you like to get pumped and you want to build a lot of muscle. Ah, but getting to the gym is a hassle, then you have to wait for a bench or weights, and who left that puddle of sweat there?
Perfect. Buy barbells and/or dumbbells and keep them at home. Workout out in anything you like and always know who's sweat that is on the bench. Or maybe you are so busy you could never set aside time to 'commit' to a free weight workout no matter where they are.
Excellent. Some people are that busy. So keep resistance bands with you everywhere; in the office, in the car, in the suitcase, at the home office desk (I have one on my chair right now.) You can always reach for one and get a pump.
Choose a variety of activities, toys and exercise equipment, and 'play' as you learn.
Don't be intimidated by getting your workout started. You can start off at a snail's pace. Walk instead of run. Use an empty Olympic bar until you feel like putting on weight. Dribble instead of taking free throws.
It doesn't matter. At the core of this whole healthy and fit thing is not some man or woman you think you should look like, it's not the doctor telling you you're going to die of a heart attack, it's not even your family.
These are all great motivators, but you have to do it for you, in a way that you enjoy. It's your life, and if you choose to accept this healthy lifestyle, you can bring your motivators along with you. Think of the great example you'll be setting.
Now go have some fun, even if it hurts!