Tomorrow is week 24 of running. It’s hard to believe that I am coming up to my 6 month runiversity. Six whole months.
I’ve been approached a lot with questions about my motivation and ability to stick to my fitness goals lately.
At first, I felt silly giving out advice on how to meet your fitness goals when I am still 11 months away from my goal of running a half marathon, but looking back, I have learned a lot.
Here is a list of ways to keep to your fitness goals:
1) Find an exercise that challenges you.
To say I’m not a born athlete is an understatement. I was the kid who walked away from track meets with participation ribbons.
Running is a huge challenge for me and I’m having to research and learn as I go. If it was less of a challenge, I’m sure I would be less motivated to keep going.
2) Getting your shoes on is the hardest part.
A lot of doubt went through my head before I ran for the first time. In fact, I almost doubted myself right out of trying. I’m sure glad I didn’t.
Instead of picking a date or waiting for the perfect time to start, put your shoes on and go. Stop waiting.
3) Make real goals.
I hear a lot of resolutions like “I’ll go to the gym 3 times a week.” Although I’m sure the intention is good, it’s a goal setup for failure.
What does success look like for this goal? When will you know you achieved it? How many weeks are you going to go to the gym 3 times a week? How long are your gym visits? What are you going to do when you get there? So many questions.
4) Tell everyone you know about your fitness goals When I started Couch to 5k, I wrote about it in my blog, tweeted about it and told my Facebook friends.
Making my fitness goals public adds accountability. When I miss my regular running days, people notice. When I meet people for the first time, they almost always ask how my training is going.
Turns out, my fear of public failure is quite a motivator. On the flip side, the people following my fitness journey are the same ones that I call on to help me get through a tough run. It’s a fantastic support system.
5) When you need motivation, remember how far you’ve come.
When I wrote that I had just completed run 2 of 160 for 2013, my friend Amy commented that I was 1/80th of the way there. Although it was meant to motivate, it put me into a panic. I started to doubt my goal and my ability to meet it. I felt overwhelmed.
Instead of letting this beat me down, I remembered my first run. I remembered how hard it was to run 90 seconds and how I gasped for air and felt like I was dying. I’ve come so far already, I can totally do this.
6) Don’t compare yourself to others.
Instead of comparing myself to other runners and feeling defeated, I compare my workouts to each other. My running stats keep going up and I’ll get to a point of competition, it’ll just take some time. I’m not trying to hurt myself.
Everyone has their own personal best. I’m trying to break mine every week.
7) Appreciate your body.
I wake up every morning and thank my body for breathing through the night. I used to put myself down for my weight and size. Now I appreciate my body for allowing me to run. The way I see it- if this body can grow babies, it can certainly get me through a finish line.
Negative self talk has never done anything good for me, so why I use it as motivation?
8) Don’t focus only on weight loss
I figured that running would make me lose weight. It hasn’t. I’ve lost over 20 inches off of my body, but have only lost a couple of pounds. If I was focusing in weight loss only, I would have accepted defeat and have moved on.
9) Find a way to actually work out
I have a full-time job, 2 young kids, a husband, friends, family, networking events and volunteer commitments. If I wanted to make excuses to skip my workouts, I could find them.
I tried running after supper and it was too hard to get off the couch when I was relaxed. I tried running on weekends and it was hard to find time with both girls at home.
The only time that works for me and my schedule is running at 4:45am. At this time, everyone in the house is still asleep. I can run and then shower and start getting ready for work without being interrupted. I’ve also found that I have much more energy during the day after I had a morning run.
Is getting up at 4:30am tough? You bet. I could always use the extra sleep, but my goal is worth the time. I’m worth this time.
10) Get a good trainer
Jessica is my online trainer. My schedule doesn’t allow me to make it into her studio, so she helps me virtually by checking in on me, setting fitness goals, and emailing monthly workout plans. She’s always there when I need her and I really appreciate the support.
These last 6 months have been filled with new experiences and learning opportunities. I’m sure I’ll learn so much more in the next 10 months. Can’t wait.
Is there anything else you would add to this list? I’d love to hear your tips in how to stick to your fitness plan.