New Year’s Eve is just around the corner, and with it comes the New Year’s Resolutions list. Aside from quitting smoking, taking up a language course, or eating more green vegetables, the bold phrase appears on the list of millions of people – get in shape!
It happens almost every year. You want to start getting ready for summer in January and pay for your gym membership. Then, you exercise for a while, and in February, you find your sports shoes deep under your bed. Maybe it’s time for a change this year? If you want to have an adonis belt this summer and be the shining star on the beach, follow a few tips that will help you stay motivated!
One of the main reasons for the loss of motivation is the pace at which we start. Of course, you want to kick it off, and once you set out to work out, you go to the gym every day, count each calorie you eat and buy online all the superfoods to increase your metabolism. And that’s the mistake.
If you want to be in shape, you’ll have to be patient. Especially if you haven’t been exercising too much over the last few years, it’s better to start slowly. Begin your workout plan with stretching, or short-distance jogging, even marching or swimming. If you jump into the sportsman’s life completely and begin to do everything at once, you’ll get tired quickly. Exercise two or three days a week, and rest, at least at the beginning. You’ll catch the fitness bug faster as the changes that you implement won’t be so rapid, and you won’t get discouraged early on.
Don’t push yourself to the limit
Everybody has one of those days. If you feel weary, and the only thing you dream about for the whole day is being a burrito blanket with a mug of hot chocolate, don’t push yourself to do the training anyway. Respect your body and listen to it.
The same rule goes with illnesses and injuries. Remember that health is a priority, and even if you’ve promised yourself to run five kilometres and beat your personal record that day, postponing it to a day after won’t kill you. Ease off, and don’t be so strict. However, don’t treat it as an excuse when you just feel lazy!
Get rid of the excuses
Make a distinction between real reasons for quitting the training and dull excuses that you might occasionally find. Winter or chilly autumn breeze is not a real reason to resign. It’s human nature to procrastinate and justify it, but be bigger than that!
You can always do the training at home if you genuinely feel that going out is beyond your abilities today. However, if you decide to fight with laziness and do sports anyways, the happiness because of the elevated serotonin and dopamine levels after the training is going to be the best reward.
Keep it organised
Dieting and exercising randomly, without the plan or necessary knowledge can be discouraging. If you are a freshman in the sports area, reach for a dietician or a personal trainer’s help. They will help you to establish a training plan that you can stick to. You must know what to do instead of choosing the exercises at random and hoping for the best.
Plan your time for training! ‘I don’t have time for it!’ is one of the most commonly used excuses among those who decide to do sports. Often, it’s just a matter of priorities. Think about a hypothetical scenario in which your washing machine doesn’t work. Can you find time for fixing it during a busy day? Yes? So probably you can add that one hour of training to your tight schedule of the day.
Find your cup of tea
Your training doesn’t have to last over two hours if you don’t fancy it. Find a type of sport that fits your lifestyle best. If you don’t like repetitive activities, pick the discipline which enables you to diversify the training.
Moreover, some people are natural competitors, while others find it discouraging when they lose. For those who like the bite of adrenaline and being a winner is their booster, competition sports are the best choice. There are plenty of them; you can choose between tennis, boxing, football, volleyball, and more. If you prefer individual sports where the only competitor is you, start running, swimming, or climbing. There is something for everyone, so find the sport that you genuinely enjoy instead of treating it as an unpleasant duty.
Fitness is not only about getting in shape – it’s about health and lifestyle. When you set your real goal having this in mind, the realisation of your New Year’s Resolution might no longer be just a wish for a summer body, but a habit and a way of living.
Exercising regularly will make you more confident, better looking, but also happier. That’s because physical activity has a wonderful impact on our neurotransmitters. As a result, a quick workout can be an excellent way to relax after a long and difficult day. And remember that it’s okay to start slow – with time, your body will adjust to your new routine.
Helen Bradfield did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.