How To Get and Stay Motivated
Are you someone who dreads working out? I want to talk specifically to you because I used to be you. Look, Instagram and Pinterest have glamorized the idea of working out. Even I am guilty of glamorizing working out! See? Here I am fake running --
Notice anything missing? Yeah, the look of pain and anguish on my face! And the sweat! You guys, I look absolutely nothing like the above picture when I run. This is how I look 89% of the time --
For me, running wasn't about putting one foot in front of the other. It wasn't about making it through the first mile, it was about digging really, really, really deep to force myself to stick with something that felt unnatural and impossible. In fact, if I'm being honest, those first few months of running were awful. I was slow. I felt like my legs weighed a million pounds! I assumed that every car that drove by was judging me or feeling sorry for me. I would get side cramps every 10 minutes and I spent more times crying on street corners because I was still a mile or two from home. It wasn't fun. For every "OK" run, there were 6 bad ones. But luckily, I was so miserable and unhappy with what I was doing with my life that suffering through a 1-3 mile run sounded like a better idea than the pity party I was used to throwing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I always say that I was just desperate enough to become a runner but looking back, I didn't have the motivation to push through the doubts to motivate myself to stick with it. If you're struggling to find the motivation to to get active (and actually enjoy yourself in the process), I have 6 tips for you.
1. Make your goal tangible.
Register for your first half marathon and then find a training plan that maps out every single day of your training or join the couch to 5K challenge. Set a goal to attend a fitness class like spinning, barre, yoga, or swimming at least 3 days a week for an entire month. (And if you still don't enjoy it after a month, try something else! Working out is a lot more fun when you actually like what you're doing. Who knew?!?) Having a tangible goal will not only give you something to work towards, but it helps you learn how to enjoy the journey instead of waiting for it be over.
2. Find an #accountabilibuddy.
Don't do it alone if you don't have to! Recruit a coworker to take a class with you after work twice a week. Ask your squad if they'd like to join you for a dawn patrol spin class once a week. Find a group of people to walk or run with. Even if your support system is online, having people to talk to helps you stay accountable. It's a game changer. Find an accountabilibuddy and then work together to accomplish your goals!
3. Don't get frustrated when it gets hard.
Look, getting active sucks. Being new at anything isn't fun so don't act surprised when everything hurts and you feel like you're dying. When I was getting started, people who made working out or running look easy frustrated me to no end. I felt like I was the only person in the world struggling. Ignore the people who make it look effortless. Don't compare yourself to anyone. Just focus on your weekly goals and march to the beat of your own drum. It's all about patience, persistence, and perseverance. WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT GIVE UP.
4. CELEBRATE EVERY SINGLE WIN.
The days when you'd rather skip a 30 minute run to watch Netflix after a 12 hour day at work but begrudgingly make it happen? CELEBRATE THAT. Do a little dance, buy yourself a headband, or post a sweatie selfie proclaiming that you're a boss. The days when you wake up, hit snooze, and then drag yourself out of bed? YUP, YOU GUESSED IT, CELEBRATE IT! When you run your first mile without having to stop to walk? YOU BETTER BELIEVE YOU CELEBRATE IT! The power of positive self talk is magic. In fact, every time you look in mirror just silently say to yourself, "I am so strong." Just do it. I promise you it will change your life.
5. Find what works for you.
You know when you take a fitness class and you're sweating 10 times more than anyone and you struggle 100 times harder than anyone else. THAT is what just happened right now. My ass just got handed to me by @sltnyc with a giant reminder that I'm neglecting a HUGE part of training... I'm not going to be able to walk for a week! Thanks a lot @runningonveggies. #runselfierepeat
Don't feel too intimidated to try something new. Ask someone how to use weights at the gym. Try a new class that scares the sh*t out of you. (My first few times in a spin class? A train wreck. Now it's my favorite thing in the world.) Just last week I went to my first Pilates reformer class with my friend Lottie and I was a hot mess. I couldn't do half of the exercises and I almost fell off of my machine two (OK FINE THREE) times. There's safety in numbers so if you're nervous about looking stupid, bring your silliest friend (or anyone who will come for that matter). I hate this idea that the only people who should go to the gym are the people who are ripped or who know what they're doing. No one is judging. Everyone has to start somewhere!
6. Stop working out to hit a number on a scale or for a "bikini body".
I spent well over a decade struggling in a gym trying to look like the girls I saw in fitness magazines. Tiny waists, perfectly toned quads, jogging around in their sports bras and tiny shorts. I wanted to be able to wear a sports bra like they did. I wanted to wear tiny shorts and not have my thighs chafe. It wasn't until I started running that my idea of what strength looks like became a realistic expectation. My goal went from being able to run confidently in a sports bra to just being able to look in the mirror and not feel disappointed in what I saw. I look nothing like the girls you see on the Instagram channels of our favorite brands but now I know that their indication of it and strength is one sided. I know that just because I don't see myself in the industry norm doesn't mean I'm not strong. I was miserable working out to hit an unrealistic number on a scale. But working towards a goal time or a finish line? That motivates me and makes me feel empowered. Don't worry about your weight, it will take care of itself.
Life is too short. Stop wasting your time dreading every moment you have to spend in a gym so that you can look desirable for someone else. The only person who needs to love you, is you and here's the best part; you're already the best version of you right now. Unless you know how to time travel, the only body you have is the one you've got today. So ask yourself, what do I want? What sort of challenge excites you? Pick one that terrifies you because it's in discomfort where change lives. Then take it one single day at a time.
It's all about putting your strongest foot forward. Go kick ass. Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.