Let’s face it, for many of us it can be hard enough to stay motivated to exercise even without shorter days, colder weather, and with the holiday season fast approaching. So, what can we do to stay motivated during these shorter, darker, colder days ahead?
- Workout with a Friend
One of the best ways to stay motivated to exercise is to have someone you’re accountable to and can have fun with. In other words, an accountabilibuddy! If you’re unfamiliar with the term (a portmanteau of the words accountable and buddy), an accountabilibuddy is a friend or loved one that helps you stay accountable to your goals and, in turn, you do the same for them. When you start thinking about how it’s too cold outside to got to the gym think about being there for your workout friend or reach out for some help from them.
- Focus on Achievement
When you work out with a friend your motivation comes from them but when you focus on your own achievement you can unlock what we call intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is defined as performing an action or behavior because you enjoy the activity itself and one of the best ways to tap into these internal rewards is to focus on your own mastery and competency. Track your progress as you exercise and routinely compare your current state to your previous state. For example, have you increased your bench press by 10 lbs.? Your mile time by 10 seconds? Have you improved your crow pose in yoga? Have you improved your endurance in your spin class? Prove to yourself that you are getting better with practice.
- Get Inspired
I love watching documentaries and one of my favorites is a film called Eddie: Strongman which follows the life of English strongman Eddie Hall as he strives to become the World’s,Strongest Man. To watch Eddie work towards his goals, overcome his challenges, and cope with his sacrifices is enough to get me moving… and I don’t even powerlift! However, you choose to do it find something and/or someone to inspire you in your physical fitness. Other suggestions might be to read inspirational quotes or follow inspirational people on Instagram. Which leads me to my next suggestion…
- Get Social
When we share our progress and success with friends and family or on social media it fills two needs; accountability and praise. We already talked about how having someone you are accountable to can help you be more successful so let’s talk about how praise and reward can keep us exercising. Social acceptance and praise is very rewarding and therefore very motivating however there is an important caveat here. We don’t want to publicly announce our intentions to do something but rather what we have already accomplished. This is important because when we receive praise and reward for our intentions we actually become less likely to follow through, however, when we receive praise and reward for our effort and progress then we are more likely to follow through. So, go ahead and post that gym selfie… you’ve earned those “likes.”
So, if you’re like me and you struggle to stick to your workout routine during the colder, darker months then use these tips to stay motivated!