Everyone wants to be in good shape, but few of us enjoy doing what it takes to get there. Sure, it sounds simple: just eat right and exercise regularly. But sticking to our commitment to our health can be really, really tough.
But there are ways to make it easier. Exercising can become a way of life for you if you approach things in the right way. Here are a handful of ways to make working out just a little less miserable, so that you can more easily keep at it and meet all of your fitness goals.
Invest in athletic wear you actually enjoy
What do you need in order to work out? You don’t need anything, really. You can do body weight exercises without needing free weights or exercise machines. You could go running with little more than an old pair of sneakers. You could do jumping jacks in your room in your regular clothes.
But while you don’t need much to work out, there’s a lot you can invest in that makes it easier. And when it comes time to invest in your workout plan, don’t underestimate the importance of liking what you’re wearing.
The right athletic gear can wick away sweat and help you work out, but one of the main reasons to get better clothes and gear is so that you feel good when you’re at the gym or running the roads. If you’re self-conscious when you work out, you’re going to get frustrated more easily. So ditch those old gym clothes and get something that makes you feel sharp.
Get the right gear, too. Look at your options for nice gym bags, or consider cell phone pouches to help you carry your smartphone while traveling light. And speaking of smartphone pouches, let’s talk about phones.
Bring your smartphone along
Working out can be a little boring, but it’s a lot less boring if you’ve got a podcast or music to listen to, or a film to watch while you jog on the treadmill. So bring your smartphone (or your tablet) when you work out! It helps you pass the time.
Combined with the right clothes, having your smartphone makes you more likely to run errands on your way to or from the gym, or meet a friend before or after your run. Invest in a smartphone pouch to hold your phone while you’re wearing those pocketless yoga pants, and you’ll find that you can fit your workouts more seamlessly into your schedule, because you’re able to go out in public and get things done.
When your gym trips are simple point-to-point affairs that end with a shower at home, you’ll find working out to be less convenient and will have a harder time building habit routines.
Choose activities that actually interest you (at least a little)
This may sound obvious, but not all workouts are created equal. If you hate running, consider rock climbing. If you hate boring gym days, try joining a recreational sports league. The more your workout feels like play, the easier it is to get up and go get the workout you need. Make exercise a hobby, not a chore! That will help you establish habits, which we’re going to talk about next.
Build habits and routines
Never underestimate the power of routines and habits. We human beings are driven by our habits to an extraordinary degree. Much of what we think of as our own decisions — including both good things and things that we view as repeated failures — are actually driven by habit loops.
But there is good news — we can program our own habit loops. If you summon enough willpower to workout at the same time every day, you’ll soon find that working out at that time becomes second nature. Commit to doing the same things in the same ways, build your workout into your schedule (remember, you can run errands on the way home thanks to your hip clothes and smartphone pouch), and repeat everything until it becomes easier.
Focus on positivity
Workouts can be tough, but they’ll get easier as you build habits. And building a great relationship with your workout routine means being positive. Think of working out as a celebration of your abilities and goals. Workouts are not your penance for the things you ate. You are not punishing yourself.
Positivity can actually improve your results, so stay upbeat and try not to get down on yourself. Remember, you are growing and bettering yourself, and viewing things that way will help you build a healthy outlook on exercise and improve your happiness as well as your physical fitness.