Everyone needs a little help every now and then. Here’s your best guide to staying strong in the gym all year!
With New Year’s Day in the rearview mirror, you no doubt have noticed that your gym is a bit more crowded than usual.
All of those people vowing to finally get in shape this year are starting new memberships. If you are one of those gym-goers who signs up for the gym every January, only to cancel your membership by March, you may just need an extra bit of exercise motivation to keep you on the path to success.
We’re going to show you all of the tips and tricks you will need to stay motivated and achieve your New Year’s resolution. No matter what you want to achieve in the gym this year, these motivational hacks will encourage you to get in the gym and stay on track as you work towards hitting your goals. Not all of these hacks will work for you and that’s okay. You just need to find one that helps you get motivated so that you can begin your fitness journey.
#1 Set A Defined Goal
A common mistake by new gym goers is that they either don’t set goals or they set goals that are much too broad. Simply wanting to lose weight or gain muscle is admirable, but it will make it very hard for you to monitor your progress. You are much better off setting smaller, attainable goals rather than setting one broad goal.
For example, instead of saying something like “I want to lose 10 pounds by beach season,” you might want to segment your goals so that you can see your progress in real time and keep up the positive momentum. Something like “I want to lose 1/2 a pound per week for the next 20 weeks” is a much more manageable and approachable goal to set. This will allow you to gain a sense of accomplishment following small improvements and will help keep you motivated and interested in coming back to the gym for more!
#2 Track Your Progress
Find a routine that will let you accomplish your goals and write down your progress either on a sheet of paper or in a fitness app on your phone. As you track your progress, you’ll be able to watch your evolution as the weeks go by. Being able to see that you are actually making progress in how far your run, how much weight you can lift or any other measurable stat will keep you motivated to constantly try to improve on your personal best.
Besides tracking your workout, you can also track your weight to see how going to the gym is impacting your body. The sense of accomplishment you’ll get from seeing your progress in the form of statistical facts each week will become addictive and will motivate you to stay with your plan to keep improving.
#3 Take Pictures
If you’re currently unhappy with your body, take a before picture on your first day of going to the gym. Look back at it often as a source of inspiration for why you want to go to the gym. As another way of tracking your progress, take a picture each month so that you can visibly see the progress you’re making and compare it to what you looked like when you started.
Any and all progress you see will be encouraging enough to keep you motivated to continue pushing towards your goals. If you really need a big push to get motivated, share these pictures with friends and family on your social media pages so that others can see your progress and lend their encouragement. There are also numerous positive fitness pages on the Internet where you can share your progress pics and gain the support of others with similar goals to yours. You may even inspire someone else to get in shape.
#4 Get A Workout Partner
Go to the gym with a family member or friend who is also serious about working out and wants to achieve the same goals as you. Having the responsibility of needing to be at the gym with your workout partner will make you motivated to consistently show up to the gym, even on days when you don’t really feel like going.
A workout partner can also be a solid source of inspiration while you’re at the gym, as they can verbally push you past your comfort zone, helping you get better results. They can also help make the gym feel like less of a chore, making you more likely to begin enjoying the gym and working out. You can even gamify your relationship with your workout partner, making each exercise a competition. This will keep each day new and exciting as you work to outperform each other, motivating each other to be the best.
#5 Keep It Fresh
If you are a gym regular who’s struggling to find motivation to stick with a routine you’ve been using for a while, it may be time to change it. A new routine will make the gym-going experience feel new again. In turn, that could reinvigorate your desire to reach your goals. If you’re not sure how to change up your routine, ask another gym member or a personal trainer. One of the best ways to learn new exercises to include in your routine is to simply watch what others at the gym are doing.
Don’t be afraid to ask the biggest guy at the gym what he does to train certain body parts. After all, everyone at the gym, big or small, is still on their fitness journey and had to start somewhere. People will always be willing to share their own personal tips and tricks with you if show to them the genuine interest to learn. You might even get a new workout partner out of it, and at the very least you’ll be able to try something new.
#6 Make It A Habit
One of the biggest hurdles you’ll find on the path to success is maintaining consistency. As with any other hobby or skill, not being consistent will be detrimental to your goals and can de-motivate you quickly. The first few weeks will undoubtedly be tough. But, after a few weeks, your routine will become a habit and you’ll find yourself legitimately wanting to go to the gym instead of feeling like it’s a chore. Once it’s a habit, you’ll be motivated to go simply because you’re used to going.
Perhaps the best recent advice to encourage making going to the gym a habit came from celebrity and fitness fanatic Terry Crews.
He recently said, “I tell people this a lot – go to the gym, and just sit there, and read a magazine, and then go home. And do this every day. Go to the gym, don’t even work out. Just GO. Because the habit of going to the gym is more important than the workout. Because it doesn’t matter what you do. You can have fun – but as long as you’re having fun, you continue to do it.” Stick to it!
#7 Have Fun With It
If the gym isn’t fun for you, it will be almost impossible to get motivated. Find out what you like to do. For some, it might be lifting weights. For others, it could range from running, to rowing, playing sports or even taking classes. Figure out what it is and focus on that first.
Once you get in the habit of finding the gym fun you will be more likely to branch out and try new exercises or routines. Not every aspect of the gym is for everybody. But, if you can replace what you don’t like with something that you do, you’ll be in better shape soon enough. For example, if you hate running but need to do cardio, simply replace running with rowing, cycling, boxing or any other option. The great thing about the gym is that there are so many options you’re bound to find one or two things that you truly enjoy.
When you treat the gym like a chore and loathe going, it will become a chore. But, if you look forward to going and are excited about it, it will be a fun experience you’ll want to repeat many times each week. Just thinking about going to the gym and having fun will be more than enough motivation for you to show up and get in shape.
#8 Take A Class
Most gyms these days offer a wide variety of classes that range across different goals, from fat burning to weight training to full body workouts. Taking a class that interests you can be a good source of motivation for both going to the gym and staying focused when you’re there.
If you become a regular in a class, you’ll be motivated to show up because others will notice when you’re missing. This accountability is similar to having a workout partner who relies on you, as you won’t want to let them down and are thus motivated to go to the gym because of that.
Classes are also great because you are receiving pro training that is designed to encourage and motivate you to push your limits and work out hard. They are a great way to make sure you’re working out for a designated period of time, ensuring you are getting in a full workout each and every time you go to the gym and take a class. You’ll likely even learn something!
#9 Use Music
If you are feeling slow or sluggish at the gym and need to get going, put in your headphones and crank up the tunes. Play some music that is upbeat and energizes you. This will help wake you up and put you in the zone. It also helps get you in a rhythm when you are lifting weights. Chances are, you will also find that the time feels like it is passing faster than normal.
Many people dislike using corded headphones because the cord bounces and gets caught on machines or weights. A simple trick is to tuck the cord under your shirt so that it won’t get caught on anything. Being able to focus on your exercises without worrying about your headphones snagging on equipment can help you workout harder than normal. Good music will help you have a quality workout because it will help you to focus and be more energetic and motivated during your routine.
#10 Read Motivational Articles
If this seems like a no-brainer, that’s because it is. Still, it’s surprising how few people read motivational posts, articles or books to really inspire them. An easy way to get into reading motivational articles is to subscribe to motivational social media pages. Seeing inspirational content when you are checking your feed will subconsciously put it in your head for the rest of the day, even if you just glance at the article for a few seconds.
This content will refresh daily so that you are never short on new motivational material. There’s really nothing better to get you motivated than articles and stories designed specifically for that purpose. These are generally very uplifting stories that offer quality info you may have forgotten and fresh new insights that are a surefire way to get you encouraged to go the gym and give it your all.
Even just one of these 10 motivational strategies should be all that you need to achieve your goals. But, the most important thing is to get your mind focused right from the start. Set smaller, attainable goals. With those goals, your head will be in the game and that’s the first step to achieving your goals.
So what are you waiting for?
Your better, healthier body is right around the corner!
By Mark Rubino