Only 8 percent of Americans actually end up keeping their New Year’s resolutions. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make goals. Resolutions give you something to look forward to and they exercise important parts of your brain (source). Getting fit is a common New Year’s resolution, but finding the motivation to exercise on a cold winter day can be a challenge. With some grit and determination, we think you’ll find that you have what it takes to stick to your fitness goals.
Finding Motivation to Exercise
Identify Your Barriers
What is stopping you from getting in your workout for the day? Only you can identify the true cause of your failed goals, but here are some common roadblocks:
- Lack of Energy: As you advance in age, you might find that you have less energy. If you are struggling with low energy, talk to your doctor. You could be suffering from a sleep disorder or even a thyroid disorder. Plan your workouts around your energy levels. Most people feel more energized in the morning, but this isn’t true for everyone. If you are more a night owl, avoid scheduling your workouts before the sun rises.
- No Time: For some, retirement is actually a very busy stage of life. From volunteering with a charity to watching your grandkids, it can be hard to find the time to work out. To overcome this barrier, try pairing exercise with another task you already do regularly. For example, if you already walk your dog every day, consider increasing it to a light jog, or go on a slightly longer walk than normal. You could also try waking up an hour earlier to fit the workout into your day.
- Inconvenience: Is your exercise mat rolled up and tucked away in the corner of your closet? Or is your gym on the other side of town? Making your workout as convenient as possible can increase your success rate.
- Boredom: Workout sessions are a great time to clear your mind, but if you find yourself getting bored during a jog on the treadmill or an at-home yoga session, put on a podcast or your favorite TV show.
Identify What Motivates You
While it’s possible to eliminate the most common barriers that get in the way of your fitness goal, it’s also extremely easy to come up with new excuses. Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and Better Than Before, has studied happiness and good habits. She finds that people generally fall into four categories when it comes to habit tendencies:
- Upholders meet both inner and outer expectations because they don’t want to let themselves down or others down.
- Questioners only meet inner expectations or expectations that make sense to them.
- Obligers have an easier time meeting outer expectations because they don’t want to let others down.
- Rebels struggle to meet both inner and outer expectations. They don’t meet goals easily if they feel forced.
Take the Four Tendencies Quiz if you’re struggling to decide which profile fits your habits. Learning what type of tendency you lean towards can help you in your quest for finding motivation to exercise. For example, if you are an Obliger, share your fitness goal with your friends or ask them to join a fitness class with you. That way, you will be more likely to achieve your goal because you won’t want to disappoint your friends.
Do you need some help staying motivated? Try putting up a visual reminder on your fridge, mirror, or another place you look every day. Print this infographic from the National Institute on aging as a friendly reminder of how to overcome your roadblocks, and you’ll have a much easier time finding motivation to exercise.
Are you looking for a community that provides a positive, healthy atmosphere where you can live out your golden years? The Shores of Lake Phalen is an assisted living community in a quiet, peaceful environment in Maplewood, Minnesota. Surrounded by a gorgeous wooded setting between two lakes, our residence offers the accessibility of apartment-style housing with the atmosphere and elegance of a resort. Thanks to our team of dedicated staff members, residents enjoy a carefree lifestyle, without the common worries of running a household. We offer numerous health and safety amenities, fun events and activities, a friendly and accommodating staff, and so much more. Schedule a tour of the community to explore our spacious apartments, elegant dining room, and more. We look forward to hearing from you!