The first step to getting fit is getting yourself to the gym—and getting in the right headspace
By: Dan Welden
Before I started working out regularly, I always wanted to get in shape, but I lacked the motivation, self-esteem, and maybe even the courage to hit the gym. Any time I would gather enough nerve to go to the gym, I would see how strong everyone else was and notice how they navigated the gym with ease, whereas I looked like a lost toddler. It was discouraging and I would give up before I even started.
I found myself constantly searching online for ways to get and stay motivated to work out and to overcome the intimidation I felt every time I set foot in a gym. I found a lot of great advice, but nothing that really resonated with me. Lots of sites suggest that motivation comes from within. But how do you find the kind of internal motivation that can’t be sidetracked by low self-esteem or intimidation? Here’s what I discovered:
Decide why fitness is important to you.
Looking good in a swimsuit—or out of one—is great, but there are other, less superficial reasons to work on your physique. Are your trying to prove something to yourself? Have you been unable to do something because of weight or lack of strength? Were you dumped because you let yourself go? Whatever your reason, identify it and keep that in mind.
Set realistic goals.
Your fitness goals should be modest at first. These can be daily or weekly goals that are easily attainable: taking the stairs twice today; walking to work once a week; or replacing one of your daily sodas with water. Setting modest goals in the beginning will get you in the habit of achieving them. Once you’ve been at it for a while, make slightly more demanding goals.
Put an alert in your phone.
Setting a constant reminder will keep your fitness goals at the forefront of your mind. Use a picture, a phrase, anything that will trigger the memory.
Find a gym buddy.
You want to find a friend who is just as passionate about getting in shape as you are. You’ll be able to hold each other accountable, motivate each other to push yourselves, and be there to support each other when you’re having an off day.
Track your progress.
Take pictures and measurements to document when you hit your goals. Look back on these periodically to see how far you have come and how much further you have to go.
Don’t give up.
Know that every day is a battle until you’ve incorporated fitness into your routine. You’ll have great days and days when you want to give up. Remember why this is important to you and keep pushing yourself.