Check out these 12 simple ways to harness your drive and finally make fitness both fun and effective.
Stick to a set time.1 of 13
You wouldn't skip a meeting at work or shrug off an important conference call with your boss, would you? When it comes to fitness, you're in charge of your progress, and the only way to get better is through the same consistency and dedication you devote to things like work and family.
Consider your 30-minute or hour-long workouts a meeting with yourself. Do your best to pick a time of day that works with your schedule, and make it a non-negotiable.
Bench your ego.2 of 13
After a few good training sessions, it's easy to feel like we can take on the world, but benching your ego is essential to workout longevity. Lifting too much too quickly can leave you disheartened when you fail, or worse, it can leave you injured, out of the game and back on the couch before you've barely started.
When it comes to staying fit for the long haul, slow and steady wins the race.
Break free of your comfort zone.3 of 13
Sure, the treadmill has its appeal—it's always there waiting for you, it's familiar and you're confident you can use it correctly. But after a while, doing the same workout daily can feel a lot like going through the motions.
Keep the wind in your sails by stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying new workouts every few weeks. Maybe take that Zumba class you've been eyeing from afar, put yourself in a new element by signing up for water aerobics or cool down by testing out a yoga class with a friend.
Go in with a plan.4 of 13
Whether you want to train chest on Monday and back and biceps on Wednesday, or you've made it your goal to do yoga once a week, having a plan and sticking to it is key. Knowing what you're going to train before you walk into the gym and having a roadmap to your progress is the only way you're going to see the results that ultimately fuel your journey.
Knowing why you're doing what exercise, as well as what that movement targets, is also key to proper form and building the mind-muscle connection.
Lay your workout clothing out the night before.5 of 13
If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail—simple as that. Something as small as picking out your gym outfit the night before can give you the morning motivation to get out of bed. Repeat this process multiple times a week, and you're well on your way to becoming a fitter you.
Learn to adapt.6 of 13
Life happens, but getting better at working out means making modifications that work for you. If a workplace meeting bled into your planned lunch workout, see what you can do with the time you have left. It's easy to scrap plans entirely, but opting for a quicker workout—maybe a HIIT cardio session instead of a long run—will still get your heart pumping and put a dent in your fitness goal for the day.
Find a workout buddy.7 of 13
Nothing gets you consistently moving quite like a workout buddy. Not only are you less likely to cancel, but you have a built in motivator and spotter. Put simply, it's a triple win.
Set attainable goals.8 of 13
We all want to get "better," but nailing down what that means is essential. Before you even start a training program, write down your goal for that month. Then break that long-term goal into weekly wins. By having something to shoot for every few days, you'll be more cognizant of your progress—even if the scale hasn't budged.
Use social media for fuel.9 of 13
Vocalizing your goals and making them public can help you stick with them. In fact, a 2013 research study published in Translational Behavioral Medicine found that people who posted their weight loss progress on Twitter lost more weight than those who kept their progress to themselves.
So go ahead, post that selfie, map your run and document your journey for all to see. Not only will you benefit, but you might even inspire others along the way.
Learn from (but don't become consumed by) your mistakes.10 of 13
The only bad workout is the one you didn't do. If you feel like your training session was lacking, take a moment to evaluate why. Were you tired? Did you skip breakfast or dinner the night before? Are you simply in need of a rest day? Pinning down your "why" could help you avoid future missteps. After you've assessed, let it go and start fresh the next day.
Allow for the occasional cheat.11 of 13
A large part of staying fit is eating right, but adopting a healthy lifestyle shouldn't leave you feeling deprived. When you've consistently stuck with your plan for a week, allow yourself a cheat meal. Think of it as fuel for your next workout.
Getting fit isn't a punishment, and a constant diet of chicken and broccoli shouldn't make you feel like it is. Just make sure to keep portion control in mind.
Reward yourself.12 of 13
Take time to acknowledge the hard work you've put in, and then treat yourself—whether that pampering yourself with a manicure, buying that latest thriller you've been eager to read or getting a new pair of running shoes to help carry you through the rest of your journey.