Staying Motivated in 2019 at the Gym

The new year means new goals, including a brand new fitness regime that you are actually going to stick to this year! New year’s resolutions often come with the stigma that you stick to them for a few weeks, maybe a couple months, but then eventually you stop committing to your goals. I found that I personally did this with fitness goals in particular. I often start the year off with a new membership or class bundle and stick to it for roughly two months and slowly wean off my strict plan. The good news is this article provides my top tips for sticking with your 2019 goals, fitness and non-fitness related!

1. Make sure this goal is something you personally want to achieve    

Just like when you choose your New Year’s resolutions, you want to ensure that your goals are actually attainable and something that you want to achieve for yourself and not for anyone else. Often, goals are projected onto us by our friends and social circles and they may not be something we actually want to achieve. To be truly successful, these goals must be personal and specific to you as an individual. For example, one of my goals is to add more upper-body weight training into my routine.

2. Pick something you enjoy at the gym

A lot of people force themselves to go to the gym and end up dreading their workouts because they are choosing a workout style that might not be the best for their body or their interests. The best way to get yourself motivated is to pick a form of exercise that you enjoy the most. I enjoy anything that involves a game or competition. Some people enjoy classes like Sculpt and Sweat, Step class or Cycle which are all offered at our Western Recreation Centre. Picking a form of exercise you like will help motivate you to stay on track and enjoy the workouts you are doing.

3. Write it down before you start and catalog your workouts

I keep a workout journal to record my future gym goals, my daily accomplishments and a difficulty score.  This journaling strategy helps me prepare so I am productive in the gym. It also helps knowing exactly what I am going to do so I don’t even have to think about it. I know how long it will take and what range of difficulty I am looking for on that day. This process helps me stay on track and not quit halfway through my workout. This strategy is really helpful if you are new to the gym. Of course, this is what works for me and may not be for everyone!

4. Track your progress

Documenting my journey and tracking my progress is really important to my overall personal success. I enjoy looking at my progress in photos and recording my weight every few months to see what works for my body and what does not. This is obviously a personal preference—there is no need to track your weight or keep images of your changing body. I, however, enjoy looking at my progress and find it helpful to determine what works with me. Any kind of tracking is helpful, even tracking the date you started to go to the gym and 8 weeks following that to determine your progress. Tracking is a great method and I recommend it to everyone looking for differences in their body because even the smallest bit of progress shows!

5. Gym buddy: hold yourself and your friend accountable

This tip is my favourite and it has made the biggest difference in my routine. By working out with a friend or even a personal trainer, it holds you accountable to work out and meet your goals for the week. I work out with one of my roommates and we find times we are both available. This way, we can help hold each other accountable. You can also learn a lot by working out with someone else.There are many different styles of training and more games that can be played with another person, changing up your routine a bit. I love to workout with a partner because they push me to work out longer and harder, maximizing my workout to the fullest.

6. Schedule your workouts into your calendar with school and work

This last tip is important for busy individuals like students who have different schedules everyday and cannot always have the same routine. It is super important to schedule in time blocks for working out as it gives you a bit of personal time every day—or however often you work out. As a student, I understand that it’s hard to prioritize the gym, but I treat the gym as a bit of self love every other day. The gym time block is time I dedicate to improving myself and to help reduce stress. I go to the gym now as a habit, but also as time where I'm focused on myself and nothing else and it’s important for everyone to do this. Whether it’s at the gym or doing your nails, dedicated self care is very important to any routine!

I hope these tips help you get yourself motivated in and out of the gym! Fitness was the main focus of this article; however, these tips can be applied to studying or daily life habits. Overall, finding something you enjoy and prioritizing yourself is important above all else!

And, if you find yourself struggling to form habits, always remember that a recent study conducted by the University College of London says it takes an average of 66 days for habits to take an effect. So do not lose hope if your habits do not form right away!

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