Fitness through the Holidays: Motivational Strategies for Success

by Hayley Bridgewater

Winter has finally set in! Cold weather, holiday parties, and sugary treats may be tempting you to pack it in and hibernate. This is the time when many people fall off the fitness wagon and make resolutions to take care of themselves at a later date.
There is no need to fall backward to take steps forward. Employ some small motivational strategies to keep you going through the holiday season and feel ready to start the New Year!

1. Perspective!
I'm a firm believer that attitude and approach can change your life dramatically.  The way in which you envision yourself and your surroundings has a direct link to your behavior. Tell yourself that you can't, and you will be defeated before you begin. Identify yourself as an athlete and you will train like one.

2. Get familiar with your programming log. If you are a routine list maker, you will certainly understand this one. Seeing a visual representation of your workouts can hold great appeal. It will reinforce a trigger to remind you of your workout, help set and keep your schedule, and allow for some reflection on your progress. A tangible account of your growth and achievement is a great motivational tool.

3. Find a buddy. Allow peer pressure to work in your favor. Introduce yourself to people around you at the gym. Or drag a friend to your workouts. Studies have shown that you are more likely to follow through with the support of a training partner to keep you accountable and on track. It is also helpful to find someone with similar goals and comparable fitness level, so that you can consistently push each other.

4. If you are struggling, be it with a concept, schedule, specific exercise, or even personal issue; don’t be afraid to ask questions of the coaches in the gym. We are there for you. Not only will we put you on the right track and help you see progress, we are equipped to cater the motivation to the individual. We want to give you our best, so you can be your best.

5. Join an online athletic group or club.
While I do employ many motivational strategies, I have seen this one work in so many different levels. Online, through work, school, gym, or particular sport, these “common goal” type groups can be a great joy and source of inspiration for your fitness journey. Reading daily posts or group texts are a reminder of how important and essential your workouts are to your life. Of course, getting to know people with common interests is always a plus!

6. Set goals.
Aspire to run a 5K? Learn a new skill? Compete in a sports league? Endurance race? Maybe you are seeking an extra confidence boost for an important event, looking for an outlet to relieve stress, or have your eye on a new outfit. Commit yourself to a realistic goal, lay out a plan of action, remind yourself of it regularly, and celebrate the progress along the way. The satisfaction of achieving a goal will encourage you to set another.

7. Have fun and change it up!

Identify an activity that matches your interests and personality. If you are enjoying your workout, you are more likely to stick with it. Hike, kayak, Kinstretch, or boot camps? Perhaps you like the social feel of dance, camaraderie of team sports, freedom of running, focus of strength training, or the calming benefits of yoga. Don’t be afraid to play with variety. It is great for the body and mind to change and challenge with a new activity from time to time. Staples in the weekly workout schedule are essential, but looking to learn something new can add an exciting boost to your routine.