Tips to Help Stay Motivated for Exercise All Year Long

February is the month of shattered ambitions and dreams. The trainers are collecting dust, and protein bars have been replaced with chocolate bars. The zeal with which we approached our New Year’s resolutions has faded.

You’re not alone if your motivation to keep your New Year’s resolve to exercise more has waned. By February, it’s estimated that almost 80% of people will have abandoned their new year’s resolutions.

However, it’s possible that your motivation is waning since you started with the wrong objectives and goals. And research suggests that setting the correct kind of goal is crucial to staying motivated over time.

Lower the effort

Many of us feel that in order to live a healthier life, we must grimace, contort, sweat, and pant. So, at the start of January, we put in a lot of effort to help us achieve our objectives.

Our brain, unfortunately, pushes us to avoid physical exertion. This is why expending too much effort when exercising will backfire in the long run, making us less motivated to exercise by the end of January. Our brain is always scanning our bodies for any deviations from our resting condition that could pose a health risk. The more physical effort we put in, the more a signal is produced in our brain, and our brain informs us that the activity isn’t worth the effort and risk.

This is why reducing the amount of effort required to exercise may actually help us keep to our resolutions in the long run. If you’re dreading a fifteen-minute jog, for example, do five minutes instead. Alternatively, if you despise running but prefer zumba, try it instead. The golden rule is that whatever it is you’re attempting to push yourself to achieve, it must be enjoyable. And study suggests that if something involves less effort, we’re much more likely to do it — especially when starting new workout routines.

The same idea applies to lowering the psychological effort required to exercise, as our brains also drive us to avoid it – to the point that, when given the choice, we often prefer physical discomfort to psychological anguish. It does this in order to save psychic effort for times of crisis.

Fitting workouts into our schedules or getting out of bed an hour earlier all involve psychological effort when starting a new exercise regimen in the new year. It may assist in reducing psychological effort by reducing wasteful decision-making. Remove judgments like whether to walk or drive to exercise class, or keep your trainers in the same spot so you don’t have to seek for them when it’s time to workout.

Although these may appear to be minor decisions, they might pile up to make us feel less inspired to exercise when we are forced to make them. According to research, we are more likely to attain our goals if we believe they would require less work.

Select short-term objectives

Another common motivating blunder in January was setting our goals too far in the future. Many people begin exercising in order to drop a few pounds, perhaps so they can fit back into their favorite jeans. Our brains don’t correlate the motivator (fitting into our jeans) with exercising when the outcome is far in the future, therefore we’re less likely to exercise.

Because we choose a goal with a more immediate result, our brains will associate the result with exercise because they happen at the same time. Exercise’s mood-boosting benefits, for example, appear more immediately than physical health changes, so this may be a greater reason for you to continue exercising beyond January. In other words, make the motivation for exercising something you can do right now, and the long-term advantages will come naturally.

Instead of focusing on having, concentrate on being

Switching the type of goal you have is the last motivational fix. Our motivational brain is more concerned with other vital things, such as being effective at what we do and forming social ties, thus so-called “having” goals serve little value. Exercising so that you can have a better body is an example of a “have” objective. Because it does not help us fulfill critical goals that help us thrive, our brain considers this form of goal to be less important.

The types of objectives that are more likely to keep us motivated, on the other hand, are “be” goals. Exercising to be healthier or more athletic is an example of a be objective. Because humans have a natural need to bond with those who share our identities, be objectives are superior. This drive is supposed to have arisen in our ancestors’ pasts, when forging ties was necessary for survival. So, if someone is exercising to show off their athleticism, for example, they may find it simpler to persist with it. As a result, compared to other sorts of goals, people stick to their goals better.

Even if you’ve fallen off the wagon a little by the end of January, you don’t have to abandon your goals completely. However, making some changes to them – as well as your fitness routine – may help you stick to your resolutions for the rest of the year.

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