5 Tips to Keep You Motivated to Exercise All Year Long

At the beginning of a new year, my motivation to exercise is always at its peak. I’m ready to shape up and tackle my fitness goals for the year! But as the weeks pass and the long, dark winter days begin to wear on me, my desire to stick to these healthy habits start to wane. Instead of letting my new workout routine fall by the wayside, here are five ways that help keep me motivated all year long!

Think about how it feels.

When I’m not excited about exercise, I use a simple trick to motivate myself: I remind myself how I feel after a workout. As I always say: You never regret a workout! And to further motivate myself, I remind myself how I feel when I skip a workout. Usually, it’s that second reminder that really lights a fire under my butt! I hate knowing that I missed a workout simply because I felt lazy.

Get dressed and get there.

When I don’t want to workout, I do these two things: I put on my workout clothes and immediately get into my car to drive to the gym. If I think about either of these things too much, it becomes really tough to motivate myself to just do it. Once I’m at the gym, I see other people exercising, so my motivation comes right back. For me, getting to the gym is the hardest part, so once I make it there, all I need to do is get started!

Train for an event.

My favorite way to stick to my workouts is by registering for road races. (If running isn’t your thing, any sort of event that you train for would likely motivate you, too!) I start by finding a training plan online (I like Runner’s World SmartCoach) to build up my endurance and keep me on track with my workouts— I’m training for a race after all! I then add my workouts to my calendar to keep me accountable with my race training, so I stay motivated for many weeks (sometimes as many as 16) and kick butt on race day!

Schedule your sweat session around your favorite TV show.

I used to get so bored using the cardio machines at my gym until I figured out how to keep myself entertained for my entire workout: I scheduled my sweat sessions around my favorite TV shows! Now, I select a few shows and add them to my weekly calendar, so I don’t miss a program or a workout. I typically start my workout a few minutes before show time so I’ll be inspired to push past the 30-minute mark to see how the show ends. I also like to add some intervals to my workout by picking up the intensity during commercials. When I’m engrossed in my favorite show, my workout always flies by!

Find a workout that you enjoy.

When it comes down to it, finding an activity that I really enjoy is what keeps me motivated on the fitness front. Over the years I’ve tried many different kinds of exercise, including spinning, Pilates, yoga, running, and more. I’ve found that if I spend my workout hours doing what I enjoy, I’m more likely to stick to my sweat session, no matter what. Body Pump and CrossFit are workouts are that easy for me to stick to because I really enjoy them. I wasn’t great about strength-training on my own (I found it really boring), so the camaraderie and support of a group setting has helped me stick with my fitness goals.

Tina Haupert
Carrots ‘N’ Cake http://carrotsncake.com
Columnist, Health.com
Twitter: @carrotsncake