You’re not alone if you skipped a few workouts in favor of “hot vaxxed summer.” Or maybe you finally got into a solid exercise routine, only for the changing of the season to throw a wrench in your consistency. Now that fall is here, and obligations tend to fall into a more predictable schedule, it’s make-or-break time to ensure fitness is part of your routine. Whether you’re trying to stick to your summer habits, or you’re learning how to start exercising for the first time, here are some tips to help you stick to your goals.
Change doesn’t come from one specific workout; change comes from consistency. In fact, consistency is the solution to most of your fitness problems.
To start small, you first need to drop the all-or-nothing mindset. Isn’t one push-up better than no push-up? If scheduling large chunks of time to exercise isn’t an option for you, you can try exercise “snacks” instead. (Although we’re not saying that a “four-second workout” will bring you major gains). The mental battle is a lot more feasible when your goal is to crush a five-minute workout right in front of you, rather than getting burnt out too quickly in pursuit of some abstract bikini body. When in doubt, take it day-by-day.
Some of us simply aren’t driven by an innate love of doing hard things. Weird, but okay.
Your goals may be physical, but it helps to have your motivation come from within. If you’re only driven by a desire to look a certain way by a certain far-off time, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Instead, focusing on something other than “getting hotter” can make you realize that exercise really does work.
Even if your goals don’t have to do with hotness, you might still be sabotaging yourself with a binary of “yes, I crushed my goal” versus “nope, I failed.” Consider starting with an open-ended question to kick your training in gear.
Make the most of the weather! Think hiking through foliage in the fall, signing up for local holiday-themed 5K runs, or even learning how to lift weights in the cold. Plus, “switching up your workout or even your workout environment can work wonders if you feel like you are a little unmotivated,” said Chris Ryan, a certified functional strength coach, former Division I athlete, and MIRROR trainer. So even if you don’t partake in your town’s turkey trot, adding variety to your regime has its own mental and physical benefits.
Breaking news: Winter weather sucks. (At least, it sucks some—or most—of the time in many areas). Learn how to dress the part, or get ready to hunker down with at-home workouts. We compiled our best home workout advice of 2020 (I wonder what happened in 2020 to inspire that advice?).
I’ve already signed up for a spring marathon, which means my winter running schedule is set. One of my greatest motivators happens to be financial: If I’m going to spend money to run, well then, I better run.
Sign up for a fitness class, get a hiking trip with friends on your calendars—anything that adds an extra layer of accountability (and excitement!) to help you work toward your goals.
It’s easy to fall into hibernation mode as the season turns. But when you personalize your fitness goals, both mentally and physically, it’ll be a lot easier to stick to them.