When it comes to motivation, the last few days in January are a dangerous time of the year.
With February poking its head around the corner, the motivation for all those goals, targets and resolutions that seemed so important back on 31st December, suddenly begins to dissipate.
The drop in motivation is a change that is particularly obvious in gyms and fitness studios nationwide. Gym floors become emptier, spare bikes begin appearing in Spin class- and that outdoor boot camp that you were waitlisted for back on Blue Monday is suddenly drained to the last few, resolute survivors.
This is what I don’t like about New Year’s Resolutions; their shelf life. If you’re serious about your goals then a) it shouldn’t matter what time of the year you create them and b) you should stick at it even when it stops being trendy to be “dry”/gluten free/vegan/going to a different gym-class every day.
Resolutions should be made for you – not for a mark on your calendar.
But how can you keep up that spark of motivation all year round, while everyone else’s January fad is left by the wayside?
How to Maintain Your Fitness Motivation- all year round
Break down your goals throughout the year:
What is it that you want to achieve? Think about what you would like to be in 12, 6 and 3 months time. Give yourself realistic targets that you can then narrow down into a month by month – or even a week by week schedule. Don’t keep it in your head – write it down! If you have something physical to stick to, it’ll be easier to stay right there on that wagon.
Think about why:
What are the big events happening in the year? In two years? Do you have a wedding to plan for? A marathon to train for? Even a target weight to hit? Create and keep visual reminders, whether it’s a photograph, a “save the date” or a dress that you’re darn well going to look stunning in. This will help remind you why on earth you made the resolution in the first place.
Remember, the gym will be emptier.
Unless suddenly everyone happens to be inspired in 2017, all those people who maxed out their credit cards on a fancy gym membership back on 3rd January and packed out the gym during peak hours are going to start dropping like flies. It’s the perfect time to stick to your resolutions because you’ll no longer have to queue for a shower or hover by the squat rack. You’ll get to your goals in half the time!
Create a routine:
Same time every week. Same time every other day. Weekday mornings and Saturday afternoons. There’s a whole selection to choose from! You may not be off to the gym every single morning like you did back in the first week of January, but the regular habit of a routine will slowly start to change the way you think about this new way of life. You’ll stop having to waste energy motivating yourself to get up and go – because it’ll be an instinct, a habit. This is key to long-term behaviour change.
While routine is crucial, and it’s important to try not to build up your workouts into being such a big deal, there’s also nothing wrong with a little bit of positive reinforcement. Rewarding good behaviour is a tried and tested way of learning. So what if it takes a brightly coloured foam roller, a fancy new water bottle or a shiny new pair of gym leggings at the end of the month to keep you going? After all this isn’t a resolution, it’s a lifestyle, so you’ll surely need it. Plus, at least it’ll keep your insta feed looking on point.