A few months out from our New Years Resolutions, we might find ourselves slipping back into old patterns. If those old patterns include slowly but surely skipping your workouts until next January rolls around and you resolve (again) to get back into the routine, perhaps some adjustments are in order?
Consider these tips to stop skipping your workouts, or prevent that habit from starting:
Do exercise you enjoy
This one has to be on the top of the list, as it is the most sure-fire way to not skip your workout. If you are routinely forcing yourself to engage in exercise that you hate, that’s a good reason right there to look for excuses to skip it. And, just think of how many options exist for types of exercise! They are limitless, really.
Some people are “gym people,” and others are not. Think about what type of physical movement you enjoy. Perhaps you love the peacefulness of yoga, or the intensity of spinning. Or, maybe a team mentality inspires you, and joining a sports league is what will motivate you to move. And who says going out dancing isn’t exercise?
Whatever it is, find something that you look forward to, and make it part of your weekly routine. Of course, don’t be afraid to try something new that you might just love.
Get a workout buddy
Whether it is meeting for a jog, walk, the gym or a Zumba class, heading out with one or more friends is excellent and effective motivation. Not only will you feel a bit guilted into it because someone else is counting on you, but you’ll look forward to the opportunity to socialize. Perhaps you can make it a habit to go out for a lunch or coffee date afterwards.
Ideally, choose a friend who is just a bit fitter than you, as he or she will push you to work harder.
Track your workouts
There are many ways you can track your workouts, and it is just a matter of finding which method works for you. It could be putting them all in your calendar, or keeping an exercise journal (especially if you are weight training and want to track weight, reps, etc). Or, try one of the many apps that were developed for just this reason.
Do high intensity interval training (HIIT)
Perhaps the number one reason for missing a workout is not having enough time. The good news is, you don’t need an hour or more for a workout; in fact, some studies show that short, intense, interval-based workouts are the most effective for fat loss. If you search “HIIT Workouts” on YouTube, you’ll find hundreds of great, at-home options that will take you less than 20 minutes, and leave you sweating.
Don’t get obsessed with the number on the scale
If weight loss is your goal, weighing yourself obsessively is not effective in helping you stick with a fitness program. First of all, muscle is denser than fat, so if you are gaining muscle and losing fat (which is usually the goal), your weight might not go down much. Instead, focus on how your clothes are fitting, and take measurements, if you’d like. This is a far more accurate judge of progress.
Preferably your reward won’t come in the form of ice cream and cookies, but instead something like a spa day, a new pair of shoes you’ve had your eye on, or a weekend away. Having a system of rewards does work, not to mention you deserve some luxury after all of your hard work!
Allow yourself proper rest time
Your workout routine should not involve 7 days of exercise per week, as this is a recipe for mental and physical disaster. Schedule in adequate rest time; for example, if you have an intense workout one day, plan for a total rest or active rest day the next. Aside from planned rest days, listen to your body. If you are sick or simply fatigued, don’t be afraid to change your plan or take an extra day off, if needed. You are much more likely to fall into a habit of skipping workouts if you don’t give yourself enough rest than you are if you give your body an extra rest day here and there, as needed.
Listen to music that inspires you
The power of music is amazing, and picking tunes that truly pump you up and inspire you can make a big difference in both the duration and intensity of your workout. Additionally, studies show that the right music can thoroughly boost your mood! If possible, make the investment in whatever type of device you need (depending on the type of exercise you do), and let it rev up your workouts.
Write down your goals
We all feel lack of inspiration sometimes, and this alone can make it easy to want to skip a workout. Writing down our health and fitness goals and placing them where we can see them, every day (or even in multiple places), can be that extra-added push you might need to put your sneakers on.
Be kind to yourself
Last but certainly not least, be kind to yourself. Allow for life to happen and for plans to change. If you simply must skip your workout for one or two days, move on and get back to it. People commonly fall into a rut of skipping workouts after vacation or illness, as they are frustrated with themselves and their lack of progress. Breathe through it, accept that we cannot control everything, and get back to your workouts as soon as possible.