Let’s be real—no matter how much willpower you might have, getting (and staying!) motivated to hit your goals can be challenging. And that can be especially true when it comes to hitting your health and fitness goals.
Tackle one goal at a time
Trying to tackle too many goals at once is a recipe for overwhelm—and nothing kills motivation quicker than overwhelm. That’s why, if you want to get, and stay, motivated for your fitness goals in 2020, it’s important to take it one step at a time.
“Come January 2020, intend to make small changes over time, and (almost) never break the pattern of action again,” says Bart Wolbers, researcher and chief science writer at Alexfergus.com, a site that investigates the scientific validity of different health interventions. “So instead of thinking you can go eat vegetables for 3 meals a day, cut out all soda, exercise 4 times a week, go to bed early, and more, it’s better to focus just on the soda for January.”
Narrow your focus to a single, manageable goal—and keep working at it until it becomes a habit. When you successfully hit your first goal, it’ll give you a nice motivational boost, which you can then use to tackle the next goal on your list.
“Through this method, your life might not change much in a one- to two-month period—but it will be totally different in a one- to two-year period,” says Wolbers.
Use accountability to up your motivation
You might have all the motivation to hit your AM workout when your head hits the pillow at night—but when your alarm goes off at 6 AM, you might find it lacking. That’s where accountability comes in. It can feel a lot easier to stay motivated if you have something or someone to hold you accountable for hitting your fitness goals.
“A fitness buddy or group can help keep you accountable and stay motivated,” says Danielle Allen, RD, LDN who runs nutritional consulting company Lunch Box Nutrition.
Having trouble getting up for your AM workouts? Make plans to meet a friend at the gym; it’ll be much easier to muster up the motivation to get out of bed in the morning if you know there’s someone waiting for you. Do you tell yourself that you’ll hit a fitness class on the way home from work—only to drive straight past the studio and directly to your couch? Use a fitness app like ClassPass that charges you if you cancel a class late; knowing that you’d be losing your hard-earned cash can be just the motivational kick you need to make fitness classes a regular part of your after-work commute.
The point is, having some external accountability can help keep your motivation high—and help you continue to hit your fitness goals throughout 2020.
Step outside of your fitness comfort zone—and stay there
When you do the same workout day in and day out, you’re likely going to get bored, which can tank your motivation. That’s why, if you want to stay motivated in 2020, you need to step outside of your fitness comfort zone. Are you a runner, but have been dying to try a salsa class? Switch out your running shoes for some dancing shoes. Are you a CrossFit regular, but have been thinking about trying something a little more low-key? Dial down the intensity and check out a slow flow yoga class.
Just remember, it takes time to really get the swing of a new fitness routine—so make sure to give yourself the time and space to really start to enjoy your new activity.
“Try something new, and try it more than once,” says Terri Dreger, trainer and director of brand development for women’s-only boxing and kickboxing gym 30 Minute Hit. “The first time you try out any new endeavor can be awkward and foreign . . . but often you need more than just one attempt to gain the full experience. Give it another shot! Commit to a week or [at least a few] sessions of a new workout.”
If you try it a few times and discover it’s not for you, no harm done; at least the novelty acted as a temporary motivation to get you working out and trying new things. And if you end up having an amazing time? Then you’ve got a new workout to keep you motivated all year long!
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.