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Starting an exercise or weight loss program is easy! I bet you’ve done it dozens of times. The problem comes with maintaining that motivation long enough to start seeing results. We always seem to start with such high hopes and expectations, but within a few days we find ourselves skipping the gym and sitting in front of the TV like before.
The key to succeeding with an exercise program is finding a way to maintain your motivation. We’ve put together 7 ways for you to not only get motivated, but to stay motivated:
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1. Have Fun With It
Exercise shouldn’t feel like a chore, it should be fun! If the program you’re doing is boring, switch it out for something you enjoy. Try aerobic kickboxing, swimming or Latin dance classes; anything that gets you moving and boosts your heartbeat will do.
When you find an exercise routine that you like to do, you stop dreading the drive to the gym, and start looking forward to it!
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2. Set Realistic Goals
Many people make the mistake of setting unrealistic goals for their workout/ weight loss program. Have action-based goals that are measurable and definable, and be specific.
Start with a specific goal and a time by which you’ll reach it; then break that goal into smaller tasks. For example, if you want to lose 50 lbs over the next year, decide what you will do to make that happen – perhaps hitting the gym 3 times a week, and eating one vegetarian meal each day. Those are specific actions you can take, they’re easy to track and you’ll know when you’re succeeding.
As you reach each goal, your momentum will grow, helping to increase your motivation and keep you moving forward.
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3. Plan To Succeed
It becomes all too easy to skip the gym because you forgot to bring your gym bag from home when you left for work.
Instead, make sure you pack your things the night before, and have it ready to go in the morning. You can also keep an extra gym bag at work or in your car.
4. Track Your Progress
There are many ways to track your progress, and they don’t all have to do with weighing yourself. Keep a chart, marking off each day you make it to the gym; those marks are very motivational, because no one wants to break a winning streak!
What’s more, there are times when your weight may not change because heavier muscle is replacing fat. Instead of relying on the scales, measure your waist, hips and thighs on a monthly basis and look for the changes there.
5. Stick To A Schedule
We women are creatures of habit and we love sticking to a routine. Make it a point to workout at the same time every day, and it soon becomes a habit you don’t even have to think twice about.
Remember to make this time sacrosanct – it’s as important as any other appointment on your calendar, or even more so!
6. Re-Evaluate Often
Take stock in how you’re doing, and how you’re advancing toward your goals. If you find yourself slipping, figure out why. You may want to switch to a new exercise program or change your goals.
7. Reward Yourself
All of us have different motivations, so all of us enjoy different rewards. While one of us may be motivated by a day at the spa, another might love the idea of a new handbag or sexy new dress.
When you’ve broken your goal into smaller, more manageable mini-goals, you can give yourself a small reward for each one. Made it to the gym for one whole month? Buy yourself those new shoes you’ve been dying for!
Creating realistic goals and rewarding yourself for reaching those goals is one of the best forms of motivation.
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