We’ve all been there – whether it be post-Christmas, post winter, post injury or even post baby – finding the motivation again after a period of time off can be hard. Here’s a few things to help you bounce back into your exercise routine.
1. Don’t be hard on yourself – Get rid of the guilt, stop setting high expectations that are unrealistic to achieve – this only leads to negativity and punishment. If you have been feeling bad for missing out on exercise, turn it into excitement and confidence about starting again and reaching your goals.
2. Set a goal & write it down – Going into anything without a plan is a sure way to increase your chances of failing. Have it clear in your mind & put in down on paper. Think about both short and long term goals and make it specific – Eg; how many days do you want to run, what distances/duration you want to achieve & ultimately the long term goal might be completing a fun run on a set date. If it’s written down and in a place you regularly sight it, it will make you accountable for your actions and is often the best form of motivation.
3. Prepare & set yourself up for success – Plan or allow adequate time for what you want to achieve in your running session or workout. Take note of your progress by ticking or crossing or recording what you have achieved beside your list of goals. Prepare yourself by packing your lunch or gym gear the night before to allow yourself a better night sleep to wake up fresh and lastly if you have good self-control you will spend less time resisting desires against exercise and you are more likely to achieve you goals if everything is prepared.
4. Start out slow – If you’ve had a break from exercise due to injury or just simply not having the time, it is important to start out slow to reduce the likelihood of re-injury or a new injury from overloading your muscles and joints too quickly. It is also important to allow time to warm up and cool down properly with exercise to best avoid muscle soreness the next day.
5. Don’t procrastinate & never give up – Whilst it’s easy to procrastinate in life, it is bad for our will power, only making us more stressed as a result. Our willpower can be overused and weakened just like our muscles, but it can also be strengthened by making positive choices. So bite the bullet and stop making excuses, you will feel better for it in the long run.
6. Try something new – Sometimes routine can become mundane and after a period of time doing the same thing causes a loss of motivation. Stop it in its tracks and make your exercise routine a variety. If it’s running – include some steady state runs with some interval/speed or hill running. If you are a gym goer – try exercising outdoors, if you struggle flying solo – try a team sport or recruit a friend to exercise with. Don’t make exercise a chore, for you to be successful at achieving your goals you must enjoy what you are doing.
7. Reward yourself – Starting anything new is hard, it takes willpower to adopt a change in behaviour, so make sure you reward yourself along the way to further drive your motivation to keep going. It might be little rewards along the way such as a new item of clothing or a massage or even a bigger reward like a holiday once the final goal is achieved.
Remember the important thing is to have a positive outlook on starting a fresh, don’t beat yourself up if you miss a session here or there, recognise you are doing well for having started and keep moving forward. Goodluck!
About The Author – Megan Dickinson is a physiotherapist and a keen runner herself. Having completed distances up to the marathon, she has an in depth understanding of sports injury and injury prevention.
Posted 5th November 2015
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