"How do you stay motivated?" This is one question that I am asked most often. It is also the one of the hardest questions to answer. The truth is motivation is fleeting. And while it may appear easy for me on Instagram, there are plenty of days I wake up with little to no drive. Health and fitness can be mentally exhausting, but here are a few things that help me to get my butt to the gym even when I don't want to:
1. Schedule workouts. Put it in your planner. It's easy to stress about finding time and easy to make up excuses as to why you can't fit it in your already busy day. If you set aside a specific time to go to the gym or do an at-home workout, you'll be more inclined to follow through because you actually have room for it in your scheduled. You have to make it part of your routine.
2. Set goals. Write em down. Reward yourself when they're accomplished. At the start of each week, I set small goals for myself to help me stay on track. These can be as simple as drinking 100 oz of water each day. And for longer-term goals, write down what you're going to reward yourself with when you can finally cross them off. For example, if you are on a health and fitness journey to lose weight, write down different rewards for each certain number of pounds you lose - you deserve it.
3. Pick out a cute outfit. No seriously. Sometimes all it takes is laying out a bomb ass outfit the night before to get me out of bed in the morning (aka new gymshark or lulu leggings). If you're looking forward to a new workout shirt or new shoes, let that be your motivation to rock it at the gym. Then hopefully when your alarm goes off you'll hit snooze one less time.
4. Find a friend. Find someone to wake up and go to the gym with you. Or even a long-distance friend that you can text everyday to check in after you've completed your workout. Trust me when I tell you its a lot easier to bail on yourself than it is to bail on other people. My Instagram account is one of my biggest motivators. I am constantly surrounded by strong, supportive women that check in and encourage me.
5. Record progress. TAKE PICTURES. I know, it's uncomfortable, especially if you're already not happy with where you are. But NOTHING is more encouraging and motivating than being able to SEE real, physical progress. There have been plenty of times on my journey that I've felt discouraged or that my hard work isn't paying off (mostly because of that pesky scale - read here on why I refuse to step on those now), but taking weekly progress photos gives you a visual. I bet you'd be surprised how much of a difference you can see in a week or two.
6. Accept that you won't always be motivated. Working out is hard. Eating healthy is hard. Getting up early to go to the gym is hard. I'd be lying if I said that I spring out of bed at 5 AM ready to go every morning. But even on the days that I so badly want to turn off that alarm and go back to sleep, I know that that doesn't put me any closer to my goals. You know what does help me reach my goals? DISCIPLINE. Sometimes motivation just isn't enough. Sometimes it takes serious willpower to eat your greek yogurt when someone at work brought in donuts. Bottom line is you're not going to want to workout everyday and THAT'S OKAY. It doesn't make you a failure. It doesn't mean you're not capable. It makes you human.
But if you can push yourself to workout on the days that you don't even know how you'll muster up the energy, that's where the change in mindset happens. That's when you text a friend saying make sure I workout today. That's when you throw on leggings that make you as confident as Beyonce. And that's when you take a shameless selfie so that one day you can look back and see how far you've come. Be your own motivation. Inspire yourself. Be disclipined. You've got this.