Did you read my productivity & happiness blog post? I talked about all the ways I’m prioritizing my well-being in order to be my best, most productive self. For example, for the past several months I’ve been consistently using an app called Pacifica to track my habits to understand which ones make the biggest difference in my mood. I found that I’m happiest on days when I get at least 8 hours of sleep and 30 minutes of exercise.
Even though fitness is my biggest hobby and I love working out, I often have trouble finding the motivation to get out of the house and drive to the gym just like anyone else. Especially in the winter when it’s dark out by the time I’m done working for the day. I’ve been trying several strategies to help me meet fitness goals — some are little incentives and others are challenges to the barriers that hold me back. And it’s working!
Incentive: Organize your workout schedule in an appealing way
I hate to mention it for the millionth time, but I use Todoist to manage everything, including my workout schedule. I don’t assign the workouts to specific days because I like to rearrange them based on my energy and soreness levels. Instead, I set the workouts to repeat every week on Sunday, and check them off as I complete them.
I recently added the fun emojis and even though it’s just a little thing, it makes my schedule more fun to look at. And that couldn’t be a bad thing, right?
Incentive: Loop other people in
On days when I’m feeling really lazy but know I’ll feel better after a workout, I text a friend to tell them I’m going to the gym later. Once I’ve done that, I’m letting both me and my friend down if I don’t go. (At least that’s how it feels.) It’s more of an external incentive, but an incentive nonetheless.
Remove a barrier: Set out your gym clothes
If you work out in the morning, lay out your gym clothes at night. If you work out later in the day, pack your clothes in your gym bag and bring it with you. Every tiny inconvenience adds up and makes you less likely to get your workout in, so you need to remove as many barriers as possible!
Remove a barrier: Give yourself a boost before a workout
Since I go to the gym in the evenings, sometimes my issue isn’t a lack of motivation but just the need for a little boost. Drinking coffee or a pre-workout energy drink doesn’t work for me because it affects my ability to get to sleep at night, so lately I’ve been using Alert Caffeine Gum to give myself a pre-gym boost. Since its caffeine content is equivalent to half a cup of coffee, I don’t have to worry about it keeping me awake.
I like that it’s so portable — no brewing, scooping, or mixing necessary! The blister packaging is perforated so you can easily grab a set of two pieces and go.
It’s been a great solution for a little pick-me-up before my evening workouts! You can pick up Alert Caffeine Gum in two sugar free flavors: fruit and mint. Click here to find out where to purchase Alert near you.
Incentive: Check workouts off once they’re done
After I complete my workout, I get a ridiculous amount of joy out of marking it as complete in Todoist!
Give it a try if you’re a techie like me! If you’re more of a paper list person, you could write your workouts on your wall calendar or daily to-do list and cross them out when you complete them.
Incentive: Reward yourself (but not with food)
Find a way to reward yourself for sticking to your workout plan, but try not to incentivize yourself with food since it can be counterproductive to your fitness goals.
I reward myself when I get home from the gym by allowing myself to relax for the rest of the night. That’s why I like to work out in the evening — once I’m done, I don’t have to do any more work-related thinking or strenuous physical activity and I can use the rest of the day to recharge. Bliss! Another favorite post-workout treat is to take a hot, relaxing post-workout bath.
Rewarding yourself for consistency is also a great idea, and there’s nothing wrong with needing a little incentive to keep going. If you stick to your goals for a week, you could get a manicure or pedicure, take yourself out to a movie (alone so you don’t have to compromise on what to see!), or buy yourself fresh flowers. If you’re consistent for a month, you could treat yourself to a massage or a new gym outfit.
You got this. Get out there, meet those fitness goals, and kick butt!