6 ways to become and stay motivated

In an ongoing series on health, nutrition and becoming a better you, Modern Mississauga has teamed up with local fitness and health enthusiast Julie Cropper to provide tips, advice and inspiration to help you become the best you possible. Got a question for Julie? Send it to info@modernmississauga.com.

Autumn is a busy time of year with many of us trying to get back into a routine after a warm, beautiful summer. However, getting back into the swing of things can be difficult and finding the motivation to start or restart your fitness routine can be even harder.
Everybody has a reason or few as to why they aren’t able to stick to it. Remember though, motivation does not simply appear. You have to pursue it and figure out what motivates you. 
It took me a few months to realize that there were a few things that kept me going and wanting more. 

Lack of motivation is probably the hardest part of getting healthy. It’s the hardest step you have to take on the road to fitness but once you find what motivates you and make exercise part of your lifestyle, you will start to feel better, have more energy, and may even look forward to going to the gym! Here are a few my secrets that have kept me motivated.

1. Rise to the occasion

Go to bed early and get up an hour earlier. A good night’s rest will allow you to re-energize your body and get you through a morning workout. If you plan to go after work, it's a lot easier to tell yourself you had an especially exhausting day and throw in the towel. Working out in the morning is the best way to start your day. It wakes up your mind, your body and gets your metabolism jump-started.

2. Buddy up

Find a workout friend who will keep you accountable. If you know this person will be waiting for you at the gym at 6:00 AM, then you will be less likely to skip. This person is counting on you and they will push you. Working out with a friend can be a lot of fun and there’s nothing wrong with a little friendly competition. My Sunday morning runs are a perfect example. Everyone has a great time running together, and the group feels accountable as they all know I’ll be waiting for them at the track and they always discuss how many laps were done to see who ran the farthest!

3. Keep your gear out

I’ve been called a neat freak so this one was harder for me to do, but it’s worked. I leave my gym bag and sneakers out in the open to remind me that it’s part of me now and part of my routine. These visual clues will tell you that exercise shouldn’t be forgotten.

4. Look the part

Sporting the same sweats day after day can get old fast and can be another reason not to stay motivated. Once a month (sadly in my case it’s more like 2-3 times a month), treat yourself to a new piece of fitness fashion. Looking the part echoes the “look good, feel good” mentality.

5. Surround yourself with positivity

I hang motivational pictures everywhere as a constant reminder of what I’m working towards. I read blogs, books, magazines and success stories to see what others achieved which inspires me to keep going. I’ve also surrounded myself with like-mined people who have similar goals, enjoy exercise, and maintain a positive attitude. Feed off their motivation, excitement and encouragement. There are many people who have gone through what you are attempting to do and most are willing to help.

6. Have a backup plan

Invest in the basics for a quick at-home workout like an exercise mat, some light free weights and a kettle bell. That way, when you really don't feel like making the trip to the gym, or something comes up and you just can’t make it, you can spend 30 minutes flexing your muscles at home. Even if you do a few crunches, lunges, and bicep curls at home, it's better than skipping out on your workout altogether.

Think about your “why” and how great you’ll feel. I can tell you from personal experience that these tips work and you’ll start feeling motivated in no time!  

What helps you stay motivated?  Chime in on our Facebook page!

Julie has a passion for health and fitness and is on a mission to help others be the best they can be at any age. Follow her on Instagram @julescropper.