How to Stay Motivated

Assessing your schedule, seeking guidance and trying new avenues of exercise are all great ways to stay motivated through muscle pain and missed goals.

Deciding to embrace a healthy lifestyle may be a no-brainer, but implementing it is rarely easy. All too often, New Year’s resolutions fizzle out by mid-February due to poor time commitment, lackluster results, or simply a lack of guidance. So how do you keep your eye on the prize and stop that energy from fading?

First, rather than spontaneously deciding to go from not working out at all to exercising an hour a day and eating nothing but steamed broccoli, think about what’s reasonable for your schedule, says Laura Tiedge, senior director of healthy living at the Rye YMCA. Then seek guidance and support from others. “People have greater success not only when they have the support of someone else, but when they have the support of a group,” she says. “More and more, you’re going to find people in group settings—whether it’s one-to-one with a trainer or small-group personal training or a group exercise class—because there’s that whole issue of accountability. And when people are accountable to other people, it increases the likelihood that they’re going to follow through.”

Guida acknowledges that exercise can get repetitive and people can get bored. The key to avoiding “the monotony of the daily grind,” he says, is finding ways to enjoy what you’re doing. To achieve this, Reiner advises trying something new every week, “even if it’s just taking a walk in the park, taking your dog out, or going to a new class that your friend enjoyed one time. Just go enjoy it. And make small goals that will turn into larger goals in the future so that you feel comfortable with it over time.”

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Finally, don’t be narrow-minded when it comes to seeing results. Michael Wohltmann, owner of Strata Health Club in West Harrison, warns that the scale can be as much a hindrance as a help. In addition to those numbers between their toes, fit-seekers should take into account how well their clothes fit, how they feel in the morning, and how much better life is getting. Wohltmann calls to mind clients who couldn’t even walk to the ends of their driveways when they first came to him, but who can now do so much more. “I get people who now play with their grandkids because they don’t get tired,” he says. “There’s no measurement for that in the gym.”

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