What separates those who can stick to their body transformation fitness resolutions from those who call it quits within months has nothing to do with fitspiration or the latest fitness trend or even will power.
It’s your attitude about fitness and your underlying motives for getting fit that determine whether you’ll make fitness a lifelong habit that will forever improve your body, or drop it until you become tired of the way you look again.
The main thing healthy fit people have in common is they know the intrinsic value of fitness. To them fitness isn’t JUST about external motivators like looking good in a bikini, losing weight for the class reunion, or getting healthy because the doctor said so. Fit people know the intrinsic health benefits of exercise and truly believe that exercise improves their life as well as their physical, emotional, and mental well being.
According to fitness expert Jay Williams, PhD "70% of those who make a lifestyle change for extrinsic reasons do not stick with it after a short period of time". So how do you make the transition from external motivation to internal motivation? Focus on evolving from resolutions to smart fitness habits and you’ll discover your intrinsic reasons plus endless fitness motivation too! Get started with the 10 habits of super fit people below...
Set Better Goals Than Just Looking Like A Fitness Model - Losing weight and looking good will always be the end result but you have to focus on other aspects of fitness like getting stronger for something specific, having more endurance for some event or activity, getting leaner for a certain personal reason, or increasing lean muscle mass to look more toned because [ insert your most personal reason here ]. It's what my resolutions pic above are about and they work better than silly goals like 13% bodyfat or having fitness model abs.
Write down every single thing you would like to accomplish from your workouts beyond the "looking good and feeling good about how you look" factors. Want more upper body strength so you can start rock climbing, want really toned legs so you can stop hiding your legs in summer and play in the ocean with your kids, or maybe you would love to be fit enough to participate in a race or take a more exciting fitness class. Be as specific as possible about what you want to accomplish and why you want to accomplish it. Having smart goals and great reasons is what keeps you on track for life!
Plan Your Workouts Weeks & Months Ahead - Getting from flabby to ultra lean and fit requires a fitness blueprint which is why fit people don’t wander around trying to decide what exercises to try next. They usually have a fitness plan for reference when they're training. Do some research to find a fitness plan that is right for you then get the plan, print it out, and follow it to the letter for the amount of time prescribed, just like medication. This eliminates frustration and gets you results faster.
Focus on Health First Workout Plans - What good is ripped abs, lean toned legs and defined arms if your workout plan leaves you feeling depleted, injured, unhealthy, or even depressed. So many of the latest workout plans address the visible changes you want to see at the expense of the health changes your body needs for results that last beyond 12 weeks. The best workout plans take a health first approach to fitness and are as concerned with your physical mental and emotional health as they are with good looks. The truth is that looking great is a natural progression once you get healthy. Good health always precedes flat abs, a firm butt, toned arms, and a fit body. Any program that claims the opposite will most likely hurt you and/or disappoint you in the long run.
Choose An Exercise Plan You Enjoy - Have you ever started an exercise plan that was a complete drag, signed up for a health club that you dreaded attending, or worst of all forced yourself to participate in exercises that felt like complete torture? The old “no pain no gain” mantra would have you believe that this is all just a normal part of the exercise experience and to a small extent this is true. There are various forms of discomfort you will experience when starting a new fitness plan including fear, pain, embarrassment, anxiety, difficulty, etc.
Some discomfort is normal but persistent discomfort that makes you unhappy is not. When your exercise program hurts and makes you miserable most of the time, you are unlikely to continue to “just do it” for very long because humans prefer pleasure over pain and real exercise masochists are about as natural as ripped abs are on normal women who aren't taking steroids or over-training. Your workout plan must make you happy to some extent in order for you to continue with it long after the newness wears off.
Prioritize Fitness Like You Do Your Work and Family - NOBODY has time for fitness. Everyone these days works 60 hours a week, some work two jobs, some are stay at home moms with four kids, others juggle school, part-time jobs and a significant other, plus extra-curricular activities, while others travel for business frequently. The fact is nobody has time for fitness unless they make it a priority. If you think or say you don’t have time then you won’t have time but if you prioritize fitness you will always find the time for it. So the key is to put fitness at the top of your daily to do list and don't make it optional. Seeing it as a will do instead of as a might do will make it happen consistently.
Prepare for Exercise Like You Prepare for Life - Would you go to school without your books, show up at a work meeting without necessary paperwork, or forget to pack a diaper bag for the baby when going out? Of course not and the same goes for fitness. If you don’t have workout gear and a fitness plan to follow then chances are you will resort to excuse to not workout. As the boy scouts say “be prepared”. Get fitness gear and the fitness plan you need and place them where you will see them daily. If you’re planning to workout before work, make getting up extra early part of your preparation as well. If you workout at home like I do keep your workout gear organized in bins or visible in the room where you tend to workout. Visual cues are a great way to get/stay motivated.
Stop Wondering If You Should - Fit people never wonder whether they should workout, they just do. Being tired, depressed, bored, busy, moody, feeling bloated, having cramps, a minor headache, or any other issue doesn't matter. Those are not valid excuses for skipping your workouts because once those endorphins kick in they take care of all that. Never ponder whether to exercise, just show up and get started with ten minutes of whatever and if after 10 minutes you still don’t feel like doing it (which is highly unlikely) then you can either stop or keep going at a moderate intensity. Your goal is to just show up and be active until it becomes a habit bordering on an endorphin addiction.
Have or Make Fit Friends - It’s difficult to get motivated when everyone around you thinks that fitness is silly. Sometimes your family members, friends, or co-workers don’t care about fitness or share the same enthusiasm as you do. This is one of the greatest benefits of having fit friends. Having friends who believe that fitness is a good thing can be incredibly motivating plus you can share tips and get feedback on your workouts too. If you don't have fit friends or find it difficult to make healthy friends then follow other fitness enthusiasts online or sign up for a newsletter that sends positive motivating helpful tips and exercises.
Reward Yourself for Consistency - This is one of the most important ways to stay motivated and something that fit people truly enjoy. Set mini fitness goals then every time you accomplish your goals reward yourself in a healthy fun way. Buy a new outfit, get a massage, or start a rewards savings account and deposit a set amount into it each time you reach your goal. At the end of the year take out the money and splurge on a trip, spa day, or anything else that will make you happy. Doing any of the above will get you thinking about fitness in a positive way and you will begin to focus more on the health benefits rather than on the aesthetic benefits resulting in 100% commitment on your part and the results you want faster and forever.
Create A Fitness Bucket List - Create a long list of things you would like to be able to do with your body. These things should be meaningful and exciting to you so that they help boost workout motivation from within and keep you focused on fitness forever not just for 12 weeks. The pic at the beginning of this article includes things I've crossed off my bucket list including kayaking, hiking in Hawaii and Colorado, burlesque dance class and aerial dance class. A quick article with more bucket lists is coming soon!