It’s hard enough to stay motivated during normal times; add a pandemic on top of that and motivation becomes even more challenging. Gyms are closed in many areas, and in the areas they’re open, not everyone is comfortable to go in. The weather is slowly getting colder and greyer, and that plays a huge role on our overall mood. Finally, it’s been close to 8 months of not knowing what tomorrow is going to bring, so needless to say that makes it tough to be motivated to achieve any goals.
I know what you’re thinking: “Thanks for the pep talk, Michelle!” which is fair because it feels like I kicked this off with all of the reasons not to keep active during a pandemic. The truth is, I know it’s hard. I find it hard on some days, and I love to work out. The goal here is to acknowledge that it’s getting tough, and to take that struggle and flip it on its head. There are ways to keep motivated even with times being a bit weird, and that’s what we’re going to look at now!
These are my tricks to keep myself motivated and encouraged to stay active during the pandemic. The idea is to give yourself SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time specific). I know, I know, it doesn’t sound like fun, but really, you’ll see that by setting realistic goals for yourself, you achieve small wins. Small wins feel great, and lead to bigger wins. With time, it just becomes part of your every day routine.
- Find Movement You Enjoy
Seems pretty easy and straightforward, right? Not so much. Since there are so many platforms available online, it can quickly become overwhelming to find something you enjoy. Sit down and ask yourself a few questions before your start looking for workouts. Do you like cardio? Do you want short workouts? Are you interested in a specific type of workout (Barre, Pilates, HITT for example)? Once you’ve narrowed it down, start to search these workouts online. You’ll find studios or trainers offering classes, and then give everything a try. You’ll find trainers you love, and you’ll want to keep going back to them. You’ll find workouts you love, so you’ll keep looking for more. Fortunately, most places are offering free trials and free classes, so you’ll be able to try as much as you want until you find something that sticks.
- Schedule It
Don’t just say you want to work out, make sure you plan time for it. Start by putting aside 2 days a week at a time that’s convenient for you. If you’re not a morning person, don’t schedule yourself a 6 am time slot for your workouts. Find a time that works in your schedule and with your personality. If you start off with a time that makes you miserable, you’ll quickly lose interest. I used to be an end of day workout person, but since the pandemic, I’ve switched to a morning routine. I have the days I’m committed to, and I’ve discovered I love starting my day with a good sweat. It puts me in a better mood to start the day too, which is always a win!
- Dress the Part
“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.”- Edith Head
This is true (in my opinion) for any and all aspects of life. When you go for a job interview, you put on your best outfit, you instantly feel confident, and you’re ready to slay. A workout should be no different. Find workout gear that makes you feel awesome, and each time you’re ready to get moving, put those outfits on. You’ll instantly feel ready to slay a workout, and you’ll love the way you look doing it. The outfit you choose won’t make or break you, but I always feel better when I put on an outfit I love, so I treat working out the same way.
- Get Creative
Fitness doesn’t just have to be about taking a class. There are lots of creative ways to get daily movement into your life. Go for a long walk, find a hiking trail nearby and explore nature, go for a bicycle ride, try roller-skating or roller blading. The list goes on. What’s great about a lot if these outdoor activities, is they don’t feel like typical workouts. Your body is moving, your heart rate is up, but you’re doing “normal” activities. There’s also nothing better than getting out and getting some fresh air. We’re all spending WAY more time at home these days, so finding ways to be active outside is more important now than it’s ever been.
- Be Kind to Yourself
It’s OK to skip a day. One day off is not a setback. If you don’t listen to your body, you will start to hate working out, and eventually you’ll just give it up. Now more than ever, we need to listen to our bodies. If you need a little more sleep, take it. If you’d rather go for a walk than do your HITT class, do it. If you’d rather watch Netflix and chill, that’s OK too. The goal is to create a routine you love that will get you excited, not one that you’ll dread.