It may be almost February already, but it feels like it wasn’t very long ago when we said goodbye to the last year and welcomed the new one.
It was time to analyze the last year and set some goals for the upcoming one. I hope you made your goals challenging, but still achievable, so that you are able to actually keep them.
The New Year usually comes with resolutions that call for some sort of habit change. You may have heard that it takes about four weeks to form a new habit. Right now is the critical time—it’s been four weeks after making your resolutions. That’s why we wanted to check in and see how you are doing.
So if you’re already struggling with motivation post-New Year’s, and if keeping a consistent workout or heathy eating regimen is getting a bit hard, don’t give up!
Here are seven practical tips that you can use to stay on top of your goals and keep going:
Clearly picturing that you’re already where you want to be and achieved what you want to achieve is an awesome mental tool and a trick that many elite athletes use to reach success.
A long jumper visualizes every step before her attempt: the take-off, the jump itself, the landing. By playing the whole process through, she sets herself up for a great jump.
You can do the same thing. Picture yourself doing a pistol squat, a pull up, 100 burpees under 6 minutes, or whatever your current goal is. When you visualize and see yourself doing those things, you’re getting your mindset ready for success.
Focus on Achievable Goals.
What do you ultimately want to achieve with your workouts? I think that it’s always better to set goals that are related to strength (doing x number of push ups in one minute) or skills (being able to do a full pistol squat), than aesthetics.
Besides, the feeling of accomplishment is so much greater when you can do something that you have been dreaming about for a long time—that’s what keeps you pumped and makes you keep putting in some hard work.
Looking good is just a great by-product that comes with gaining strength and learning new skills.
Celebrate Current Progress.
If you’ve been working on a new skill or on improving your speed or strength for the past four weeks, you’re already that much closer to your goals.
That’s awesome, and you should keep working—because if you stop now, you may need to start over again. Because even if you feel like you may have plateaued, all that hard work you’ve put in already this year means it’s more likely you’re just about to reach a turning point.
Double unders are a great example of this—if you stop practicing them, you may find that after a one month break you’re right back to where you started. And that’s frustrating! So don’t give up now.
Be a Role Model.
If you have kids, they are your motivation. Making sure that you have some me time for working out is not selfish—quite the opposite. Working out makes you a better parent.
You’re a role model for your kids and the one they’re learning their habits from. Providing them healthy homemade food and showing a great example by staying active is really a gift you can give them.
Besides, you want to be able to run, jump, climb and do all the other fun stuff with the kids, instead of just sitting at the playground and feeling bored. Be a cool parent!
And if you don’t have kids, be a role model for your friends, family, spouse, co-workers, and everyone around you! They’ll be inspired by your hard work and more likely to take on healthy habits themselves.
If committing to a workout is hard, just remember how good you feel after you’re done. Even if staying on the couch seems like a good idea right now, you’ll most likely regret it later. And that will only lead to blaming yourself and feeling like a failure.
The same is true about choosing your food. I’m sure you feel so much better both physically and mentally if you choose whole, nutritious foods over junk and not so healthy food. Again, junk food may feel like a great idea now because it’s convenient and easy, but try to think one step ahead. We’ve all been stuffed from eating too much or suffered from a sugar coma after polishing off a whole bag of jelly beans or a huge chocolate bar.
Besides, when you are not eating well, your workouts will suffer.
Find a Workout Partner or Community.
Having a workout buddy or community can boost your motivation when your willpower is fading. You and your friend(s) can keep each other accountable by setting a workout date and putting it into your calendar to be sure you don’t forget it. If you’ve promised someone to show up, you’ll be less likely to slack.
And if you don’t have that workout buddy yet, talk someone into working out with you or connect with another person in the 12 Minute Athlete community. You’ll benefit from it even more if you are a competitive person—that way you’ll both work as hard as you possibly can.
Enjoy Life More.
If you can’t find motivation to work out, think about all of the fun things and activities that being in a great shape allows you to do. There is so much life and fun activities outside of your workouts that you can enjoy, like hiking, biking, kayaking, wall climbing, dancing…
If you want to be able to do those things and enjoy them the fullest, you have to be in a good shape. Working out consistently will take you there.
So, keep it up, athletes! Sticking with your new habits takes time, but your goals are worth it. Nothing comes without hard work. Always remind yourself of where you want to get, and then go after it.
What do you do to keep your motivation up? Share with us!
Kersten Kimura is a NASM PT, kettlebell enthusiast and a fan of HIIT workouts. After relocating from chilly Estonia to California, she has taken full advantage of the area and works out outdoors whenever possible. You can find her throwing around her sandbag or swinging kettlebells at local parks, or sprinting along the gorgeous Bay Trail.
Find out more about Kersten here and sign up for her newsletter to get her one week equipment free workout plan and seven simple dinner recipes.