Why Should You Go to the Gym This Year?

#NewYearNewMe is in full swing by now, which means about 50% of people have already given up on their resolutions. One of the most popular resolutions is to work out, get fit and be swole (as the kids say). If you haven’t given up that hope, or want to start fresh, there’s no better time than now to learn a few ways to push yourself towards the gym!

Tip One: You Won’t Regret It

The first step of going to the gym is… well, going to the gym. You’ve got to get yourself off the couch, out of bed and away from your room. Likely, you don’t have anyone physically dragging you there, even if you’ve agreed to go with a friend. The best way to force yourself to go there is to develop a mantra. One that my own roommate once told me was that, “You may not want to go, but you’ll never regret having gone.” That stuck with me, and to this day I find myself repeating it to others who are on the fence. They may roll their eyes, but they never try to argue the point!

Tip Two: You Choose the Tunes

In the age of Spotify and Pandora, it’s easier than ever to create a library of themed music. Even though gyms usually have their own music pumping through the speakers, it’s always fun to throw together pump-up playlists (or find someone else’s). One downside I’ve noticed with music is that it makes the workout seem slower, and I get tired out more easily. On a whim, I tried listening to podcasts instead, and that completely changed my life. It feels like you’ve got friends right there in your ear, cracking jokes and keeping you invested. The workout breezes by, but stays as fun and effective as ever.

Tip Three: You Set the Goals

Some people want to lose weight. Some people want to build muscle. Some people just want to get some good old endorphins. Whatever reason you have for going to the gym, make sure you’ve thought up some ways to achieve those goals. Set smaller subgoals to help you achieve what you want. These can be as small as you want, such as losing one pound or running five minutes longer on the treadmill. For example, I started at the gym only able to do about ten minutes on the elliptical without dying. I set a goal to reach 15 minutes, and when I hit that sooner than expected, pushed for 20. That same semester, the week of finals, I hit 20 minutes. Hitting those small goals will keep you invested and bring you that much closer to your big goal!

Tip Four: You Won’t Be Alone

It's natural to worry that others will judge you for not being able to bench the equivalent of a truck. Going to the gym with low endurance can be super intimidating, especially when dudebros with tubs of protein powder are crowding the weight racks. Still, it’s important to realize that everyone’s at the gym to better themselves, not to put people down. No matter how muscular someone looks, they have their own goals and challenges they want to reach and overcome. If you have a question, these seasoned veterans aren’t going to laugh—in actuality, they’ll be thrilled to be able to pass on some of their expertise. And if you’re truly worried about being judged, you can always bring a gym buddy along.

Tip Five: You’ll Feel Much Better

Exercising will make you feel better—you’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating because it’s true. Exercise is good for your heart, sure, but it aids your mind as well. Want to rid your body of research paper stress? Take that tension out on some weights. Getting antsy after a Netflix binge? Go for a stroll on the treadmill. Need a distraction from the homework you should probably be doing? It’s a good time to start going to the gym!

Going to the gym doesn’t have to be scary or overwhelming. With the right attitude, it can be fun. So get your sneakers on, buy some cute leggings and get on that exercise bike!