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Denise Austin's 6 Ways to Stay Motivated To Work Out In 2014

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 (Associated Press)

Having a hard time sticking to your diet and fitness plan this season? You’re not the only one – it is definitely hard work, but the payoff is worth it! Plus, there are ways to make it easier to stay on track. Use these six easy ideas to help you focus and get more excited about your goals in time for 2014.

Have a positive attitude.

I list this tip first because it’s the most important. If you want to change your life, you have to change your attitude. Don’t think negative thoughts like “I’m too fat,” or “I’ll never learn these exercises or be able to run.” Just by trying new exercises and recipes, your attitude will improve greatly. Replace negative words like lazy, fat, or weak with positive adjectives like strong and healthy. Replace “I can’t” with “I can.” Post these positive affirmations on the fridge or throughout your home so you don’t lose sight of how great you’re doing!

Download a new playlist.

Music is one of the best things to help you get motivated – I blast all of my favorite songs when I’m working out! Create a “Workout” playlist and download high-energy songs that will pump you up. Only allow yourself to listen to this fun, upbeat playlist when you’re working out. It will give you something to look forward to! Another idea is to find a DVD with great music already built in, like my "Fat Burning Walk" DVDI picked some really great songs for that one!  If music isn’t really your thing – use the TV to motivate yourself. You could DVR your favorite shows and work out while watching those, or use the commercials to do exercises like squats, crunches, and push-ups.

Be proactive and plan ahead.

Take a look at your week on Sunday night and figure out when you can fit your workouts in, then plot them out on a calendar that you look at often. You can give yourself a star sticker or a special mark once you complete each workout. Seeing evidence of your hard work will inspire you to keep it up! If you can stick with a consistent schedule, like working out Monday, Wednesday, Friday, it may help you stay on track. Another way to plan ahead is to lay out your workout clothes the night before – or keep your gym bag stocked in your car. The sight of your workout clothes is a great reminder to make it happen!

Keep a food log.

Food journals are a great way to hold yourself accountable for what you’re eating. Studies show that people who kept food journals lost more weight than those who didn’t. Plus, knowing that you will have to jot down every single thing you put in your mouth can help to prevent mindless snacking and help you to make smarter choices when it comes to food.

Remember how you feel AFTER a workout.

Believe me, I know it’s a drag to get out of bed early to fit in some exercise – and I also know it’s also the last thing you want to do after a long day at work. But try to focus on how good you feel after your work out! Exercise gives you endorphins and energy, so you’ll likely feel refreshed and energized after even just a quick 20-minute session.

Reward yourself! If you’ve been sticking to your diet and fitness goals, you definitely deserve to reward yourself with something healthy. One rule you must follow: There may be no food rewards! Instead you could get a manicure or massage, buy yourself flowers, treat yourself to some new workout gear, like a yoga mat, yoga block, or even just a new workout DVD to make your routine more fun. You can also reward yourself by taking some time just for YOU by curling up on the couch with a good book or magazine. It doesn’t have to be a big thing! Just something to validate how great you’re doing.

Most importantly, stick with it! As you start scheduling your workouts and logging your foods in a journal it will start to feel more like a routine, and you’ll be more likely to stick with it! Don’t be too hard on yourself, if you mess up one day, you can always start over tomorrow.