So, you want to work out. But, oh no! You’re feeling a little unmotivated? You don’t know where to start? It isn’t always helpful to hear “just do it,” even if it’s a little bit true. There are times where we all feel unmotivated and that’s why we need to be dedicated, let out a deep sigh, and just do it.
It’s more mental than physical. Now, I know what you’re thinking. I know exactly what you’re thinking.
How do we become dedicated? It can take weeks to months for a habit to solidify so how do we break down a few of these mental barriers to even get there in the first place?
You don’t need a gym: A lot of people get stuck on “where” before “how” and there are a number of reasons why a gym membership is actually an inconvenience or out of budget for many individuals. There are also people who find the gym absolutely boring. That’s fine! Our bodies already come equipped with cardiovascular machinery and can be used as a resistance tool. Our own homes, parks, and backyards are perfect places to workout and with the addition of a few small, affordable tools you can even up to ante without ever setting foot inside a gym.
Small steps before big leaps: If you’ve never worked out before or simply need to get more active in general; then don’t worry too much with whipping your ass into a protoplasmic pile of goo quite yet. We’re all beginners at some point in time, and you need to let yourself be a beginner. The risk of injury is high for a beginner and that’s the biggest mood killer of them all. Don’t pop in a “Maximum Hardcore Power Shred 9000X²” DVD and expect to come out of that experience with a positive outlook on the days and weeks to come. You probably have some idea of where your fitness level is at, so be generous and be forgiving. For some people, fitness starts simply at taking more stairs and walking longer distances around town and that’s absolutely great.
Write out a plan for the day: At night, I often write in my phone’s little “sticky note” application what I want to do at the gym tomorrow morning and what weight, sets, and reps I may want to attempt them at. Not only will it help you zone in and focus on the task, but you’ll be thinking about your workout in advance as well. Having a plan will reduce the number of “unknown variables” so you can just get started and stop second guessing yourself, a life-saver for the anxious.
Set out your workout clothes and supplies the night before: No matter when you’re planning to workout, just be ready well in advance. Don’t get stuck in a situation where you’re frantically trying to slap things together, getting stressed out, and only to discover your shorts are dirty and your water bottle has mysteriously been stolen by gremlins.
Try a different time of day if you’re stumbling with your current one: This one is dependant a lot on personality and the mercy of your schedule and home life. Understandably, some people have less flexibility so it’s not always possible to switch time slots around. This was personally my biggest game changer, though. I used to workout in the evening but by the end of a day my “introvert battery” was clocked and more times than not I said, “it’s blanket time.” Morning is my favorite time of day and I’m fresh when I wake up, so I started going in the morning. It sounds obvious but it honestly was the best thing I ever did.
Find an exercise that genuinely excites you: The best workout is one that is fun for you to do, not the one that burns the most calories. Don’t waste too much time on running if you’d rather have your toenails ripped out with a pair of rusty pliers. There are a million ways to get a workout, so shop around!
Switch it up and be open to trying something new: Having a game plan in place certainly is a pillar of success, but a good dose of spontaneity can give you that twinge of excitement you’re looking for and even introduce you to new workouts you never guessed you’d like. Personally, I’d love to try a Zumba class sometime!
Try a podcast or audiobook instead of music: Only continue your playthrough a little before a workout, while working out, and a little after a workout. If you’re getting somewhere juicy, guess what? Gotta workout.
Do something if you’re not up for everything: Making a good habit and becoming dedicated isn’t about having all cylinders firing at max 24/7. That is the key difference between motivation and dedication. If you don’t feel like challenging your personal records today, that’s fine. Pick a comfortable intensity, pick a nice small chunk of time. Also, going for a walk is an absolutely marvelous workout. It counts. It all counts. Feeling like a shut in today? Keep a jump rope and a yoga mat around. Build a list of Youtube videos you could do on that rainy day. Get some bodyweight routines in or jog in place a little. If you’re sore, just stretch. Doing a little bit of anything will uphold your habit and your dedication. Some days we achieve, other days we survive.
Sometimes rest days are announced, not planned: If you’ve been getting into the swing of things but wake up feeling sick, exhausted, or have unexplained pain take the rest if you really think you need it. You’re not “skipping the gym,” if you seriously need the rest. Try as we might to have a super tight plan, sometimes we have unexpected issues. Rest is also necessary.