14 tips on how to stay motivated and rock your health and fitness goals

by Apr 8, 2019Healthy living

With the crazy busy and hectic lives that we are living nowadays, it can be so hard to stay motivated to keep working on our health and fitness goals.

It feels like there is always an excuse as to why we just can’t do it today. Perhaps another time.

But I’m telling you, it doesn’t have to be this way.

In order to stick with our goals, and to live the healthy lifestyles that we really want, it is important to have the right mindset and the right motivation tools available.

I struggled a lot with finding the right motivation myself in the past. Either because I didn’t have clear goals, set unrealistic expectations, or because I just didn’t believe that I was capable. And while I’m still having some difficulties with sticking to my nutrition goals, I’m really doing so much better when it comes to my fitness and training goals. I’ve made a list with tips that I think are absolutely great to find your motivation back. I know they have done wonders for me, so I really hope there are multiple tips in there that will work for you guys as well!

1. Pick a workout you actually enjoy

This may sound obvious, but I’m still surprised how many people drag themselves to a workout that they don’t like. Chances are much lower that you stick with a workout, if you don’t actually enjoy doing it. How else would you find proper motivation to keep going? There are SO many different types of sports and workouts out there. I’m absolutely sure that there is at least one sport in the world that you’ll enjoy, if not more. Working out shouldn’t be a punishment, it should be fun! Imagine being excited to go to your workout. Sounds much easier to stay motivated that way, right?

2. Don’t try to do too much right away

What I also believe to be very important, is to not overdo it right away. Keep your goals small and simple at first, especially if you haven’t worked out in a long time. Every time you reach your goal, increase it step by step, and build it up like that. This approach will help you to feel less overwhelmed by your goals, so that you’ll find it easier to stay committed. Let’s say your first very simple goal is to go for a walk outside every weekday for only 10 minutes. It’s so small and simple, that it will be much easier to stick with than for instance wanting to go for a run every day for 30 minutes right from the start. Over time, you’ll start to feel quite confident with your little routine, that it will only feel natural to want to step it up a bit.

3. Clearly define your goals and plan everything out

Whether you’re just starting out, or have been working out for a while, it’s always super important to clearly define your goals so that you stick with it. Winging it just doesn’t work very well for a lot of people. It’s much easier to find excuses if you don’t have a clear plan.

A bad example would for instance be: “workout 3 times per week, run 2 times per week”. This really is not the way to go if you want to rock your fitness goals. Because what workout are you talking about? Which days would work best for your schedule? Because right now, it’s so much easier to just say: “ahh I’ll just do it tomorrow, the week is still fresh”. Or: “I don’t really know what kind of workout I want to be doing now, ahh better next time”.

So make sure to make your workout plan super specific and put everything on your calendar. I always plan out my workouts a few weeks in advance, so that I know exactly at which time of which day I have my strength training, cardio conditioning training, and Thai boxing training. And for the strength training I have exactly written out which exercises I’m doing with how much weight and for how many sets and repetitions. For the cardio conditioning I know exactly if I’m just running for 30 minutes at heart rate of 135 bpm. Or for instance doing 10 sprints of 12 seconds with 1 minute jogging intervals. And I religiously stick with this plan.

It’s so easy to just follow a plan, if it’s already written out! And for me the end goal is clear: I want to be fit and ready for my next competition. So make sure to clearly define your own personal goal(s) and write out a super specific plan.

4. Find yourself a personal trainer

As I just mentioned, I have a very specific workout plan. But no way that I came up with that plan myself! It is highly specific to the sport that I’m doing, and made by an online personal trainer who has worked in the sport for decades. It’s safe to say he knows his stuff! So if you really don’t know where to start, as there is so much information out there, I highly suggest you find yourself a qualified personal trainer. It takes out the whole decision process for you, and makes it much easier to just get started and follow a plan you can trust. It’s also great for accountability. When you know that someone is waiting for you because you have a training appointment, I promise you’ll have extra motivation to go!

5. Set realistic expectations

If you want to stay motivated and stick with your fitness goals, then I believe it is super super important to set realistic expectations. If you don’t do this, you are only going to be really disappointed, risking to stop your health journey altogether.

So, make sure to set realistic and achievable goals. Don’t expect to have a six pack in 2 months, or to lose 10kg in a month. Not only are those unrealistic goals, they are also going to be very difficult to sustain. Instead, make sure to set small victories to keep building momentum towards achieving your realistic goals.

Just like you didn’t expect to graduate from University in a year, you also shouldn’t expect your fitness goals to come easy without putting in sufficient time and effort.

So rather than looking at achieving massive results in the very near future,  focus on the longer term and see it as a lifelong process of getting ever more healthier and fitter along the way.

6. Pay beforehand

This trick doesn’t work for everyone, but I know it does for some people! In Thailand day passes are so cheap, that it doesn’t even matter. But for me, this trick has also worked in the past when I still lived in the Netherlands. But only in combination with some of the other tricks. It would for instance work for me if I already payed for the rest of the month for my kickboxing classes. I loved going there, but some days when I felt like watching Netflix in bed with a bag of chips, I thought: no. I already spent my money on it anyway, so I’ll just go! And of course once arriving there, I was so happy I did.

However, I don’t think this works if you for instance have an annual membership at a fitness gym, and you really don’t like going there. The money will just be written off your account silently each month. And yes it hurts a little every time, but not enough to actually keep going there. You need more motivation than that!

7. Always be prepared

Make sure to always be prepared when you have a workout planned. The trick is to make things as easy as possible for yourself, so that you’ll feel less resistance and have less excuses to fall back to. So let’s say tomorrow evening right after work you have a training planned. Then it would be a great idea to already pack your sports bag with everything that you’ll need. Such as gym clothes, shoes, a bottle of water, a towel, shower gel, etcetera. After packing, put the bag right next to the door, so that you’ll only have to grab it before work, and you’re good to go! A few less excuses for that day to skip your workout. 😉

 

8. Find your mantra

This might not be for everyone, but I suggest you keep an open mind and at least give it a try! For me personally it works wonders, and I know plenty of people out there who also love to use this to get their motivation back.

So how does it work? Choose a motivational phrase that you really resonate with, and always keep that with you somewhere. For instance in your hand bag, or your pocket. In that way, you can always access it when you feel you really need it.  

A few examples of powerful motivational mantras are for instance:

 “Plans don’t work unless I do”

“I’m aiming for progress, not perfection”

“If I change nothing, nothing will change”

But these are just examples. Find a mantra that really hits you on a deep level, because in that way it will have the most powerful effect.

Whenever you are in need of your mantra, take it from your pocket and start repeating it over and over. It doesn’t matter if you just think them or say them out loud. Either way, it’s a very powerful way to get your motivation back.

9. Accountability

I believe accountability is something very powerful to motivate us. There are several ways how you can approach this. One of them I already mentioned in tip number 4: get yourself a personal trainer! Having someone wait for you because of your appointment in his or her busy schedule is a great way to hold yourself accountable. Another way is to have a friend or buddy to do your activities or workouts with. Hard to say no if you’re friend is counting on you!

You can also find a group of people who are on a very similar health journey as you. Think for example about team sports, running groups, eating healthy groups, the sky is the limit. In these groups, you can share your struggles with people who have been or are going through the same issues. And therefore this is an excellent place for people to motivate each other and get each other back on the right track with useful tips and tricks.

Similarly, you can find like-minded communities all over the Internet, such as on Instagram or Facebook. There are many great support groups out there where people share the ups and downs of their health journey and are able to hold each other accountable.

10. Track your progress

A great way to keep yourself motivated is to track your progress. Not only can you be really proud to write down what you just did. You will also be able to look back at everything you have accomplished already along the way. It’s very easy to forget about the progress you’re making, if you don’t have it written down somewhere.

You can track your progress old-school by writing everything down on paper in a journal. Things to write down, would be: what went well in training, what could have been better, how did I feel before, during, and after this training? You’ll be much more aware of what’s going on with your body and mind when writing these things down after every workout.

Not a big fan of pen and paper? Don’t worry! There are plenty of apps out there to track either or both your fitness goals and nutrition goals. I really like to use “My Fitness Pal”. But I suggest to search and compare different apps out there, depending on what it is you’re looking for specifically. For example, if you just want to track your nutrition “Lose it” might be a great choice. Or if you just want to track your running, then “Runkeeper” is an excellent app.

One way or another, make sure to track your progress, so that you can look back where you’ve come from and how much you have accomplished already!

 

11. Remember why you started

When you find it hard to find motivation to get of the couch, take a step back and remind yourself why you started in the first place. Remember how you felt before you started your health journey? Remember why you decided it was time for a change? There is a reason you wanted to change your lifestyle, and remembering what that was can be really helpful to keep going. And of course this all doesn’t change overnight. It is a long term process. But each and every step you take, each time you commit yourself to that reason, is a step in the right direction. It’s the progress that counts. This shows again the importance of number 10: to track your progress!

 

12. Reward yourself

I believe it’s really important to reward yourself to stay motivated. And I’m not talking about rewarding yourself with cakes and cookies. I’m talking about a reward system that adds to your healthy lifestyle instead of the opposite. The thing is, in order to get things done, people need incentives. That’s just how humans work. And especially in the beginning, it’s not enough to have an incentive such as wanting to lose weight. The reason for that is that it is not readily accessible. You are going to need something more than that, to make it worth the effort until you get the results you really want.

So for instance, to reward yourself for sticking with your goals, at first pamper yourself every week with a nice at-home spa day. And then when progressing further, perhaps treat yourself to a day at a wellness-resort each month. And perhaps every two months reward yourself with an awesome new training outfit. Of course these incentives are very personal, so find out what really does the trick for you! As long as they add to your health and fitness goals.

 

13. Find a good cause

This tip really works wonders. While I find it relatively easy to bail on myself, no way that I’m going to bail on a commitment that I made towards a good cause! And I know many people feel the same way. This is a great way to not only help yourself stick to your fitness goals, but also to help other people out. A big win-win I would say! This is very popular nowadays, and does not only cover actual events such as running for charity (which are awesome by the way!).

There are also fitness apps out there now that link your fitness goals to charity. A great example is the app called “StickK”. With this app, you can set up a “commitment contract”. You can bet money on whether you’ll accomplish a specific goal you set for yourself. If you fail to achieve this goal, you can donate the money to a charity, or anyone else for that matter. Pretty cool huh?!

Last month my team mates and I joined a run for charity in Chiang Mai for refugees from Myanmar. Everyone who promised to be there showed up, because no way we were going to bail on charity! It really works.

14. Put on your gym clothes already

This is a funny little trick, and for some reason it really works! Sometimes I just don’t feel like going to training, or going for a run around the neighbourhood. However, as soon as a put my gym clothes on, my brain switches and gets ready to go for it. Pretty awesome huh? So next time you don’t feel like sticking to your planned workout, I’d suggest to just put on your workout clothes and see how that changes your feelings and willingness to go rock your fitness goals.

Wrapping up:

I hope these tips will be helpful for you to find your motivation back when you need it. So that you can keep going forward to rock your fitness goals!

Of course, not everyone is the same, and different motivations work for different people. But whenever you are having difficulties with your motivation, make sure to try out these tips and see what works best for you.

Please do let me know in the comments which tips really do the trick for you.

And also please leave a comment if you have a great motivation tip yourself, that’s not in this list yet!

About Me

My name is Lenore and it is my mission to present women with tips and tricks on how to create a healthier lifestyle, but also on how to live more sustainably where less is more. So if you're looking for just that, you're in the right place!