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If there’s one thing more difficult than actually doing exercises, it’s maintaining your motivation. Working out for one day and doing it consistently are two entirely different beasts. If this is familiar to you, do not get completely discouraged because you are not alone. According to Lifehacker, 90% of people quit after hitting the gym for three months.

To avoid becoming part of that statistic, here are some important steps to keep yourself motivated.

Understand your priorities

We’ve all been there, the family or the gang has planned a day at the beach, and you’re panicking. Just the mere thought of exposing your misshapen body is enough to make you want to run to the gym. But while the thought may push you to a desperate 15-minute round of jumping jacks, it isn’t enough to get you off the couch the next day.

So what’s the problem? It lies in how you motivate yourself. There is nothing wrong with being body-conscious, but societal standards can crush your confidence. You don’t have to be fit because of social pressure. You must want to be fit because you want to feel better about yourself. This may be in the way you look or how healthy you feel, your motivation should be self-betterment and nothing else. A trip to the beach can give you a little nudge to add some rounds and reps on your workout, but if you get priorities right, you’ll not give up that easily.

Set attainable goals

One of the most common tips regarding motivation is that you should set attainable but challenging goals. WebMD claim a good fitness goal should follow the S.M.A.R.T rule. It should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. How many pounds would you like to lose? Set specific and measurable goals that you can realistically attain.

You want to build your pecs? Sure, but how relevant is that goal to your overall health? Maybe instead of building your chest muscles, you should improve your cardio. This is what relevance means. You also need to set a time period. Will you do this for one week, then move on to another goal?

This kind of thinking will make your fitness routine more organised, and seeing the results of your routine can motivate you further down the line. Make it a habit you look forward to, not a chore you want to avoid. One of the biggest mistakes that people make when undertaking a fitness journey is that they think of it as some sort of ‘work’ or ‘challenge’ to get the reward (e.g. a good-looking body). There’s nothing wrong with pushing yourself every now and then, but if you are in this mindset, you are unconsciously reinforcing the activity negatively. Every time you see a treadmill, you will be reminded of the ‘suffering’ you need to put up with. This way, you are already setting yourself up for failure when you get into a bad mood or a demotivating situation.

To make your workout routine feel less like a chore, make it work for you and not you working for it. Don’t push yourself too hard and just do what you are comfortable with. Improve incrementally and at your own pace.

And most of all, enjoy it. This is a big reason why Zumba is very popular. People who stick with their Zumba routines usually love dancing and know when to stop and rest. Listen to your favourite music while running, or watch a movie while lifting weights. All of these will remove negativity from the experience and condition your mind to enjoy every single second of your routine.

There is no voodoo in maintaining motivation. All it takes is a deliberate and organised routine, the right mindset, and the will to continue. If you get all of this right, you will have no problems motivating yourself in the future.

For more insights on health and fitness, browse through the other posts here on Techiedoodlers.