Whether on the “New Year, New Me” bandwagon or trying to lose the extra inches before a special event, finding your fitness path is critical as it will lead you towards better life choices, making you a healthier version of yourself.
But is it enough to be on the path? The answer is both yes and no.
On the one hand, your fitness path can guide you in the direction you have to take towards your fitness goals. On the other hand, it may not be enough since fitness is not easy for everyone.
You’ll go through doubt, struggles, and other experiences that’ll make you ask why you need meal prep or hit the gym first.
If you’re struggling or on the fence about getting fitter, leaner, and more robust, have no fear: I’m here to share my secrets for finding your fitness path, whether you’re finding it for the first time or trying to find it after losing track of it.
I’ll also share some motivation hacks to get you through the most challenging bumps in your fitness journey.
Let’s get started!
1. Think About Why You’re Finding Your Fitness Path
Without a good reason for getting into fitness, you may go around in circles and abandon your fitness journey altogether. For this reason, you need to think long and hard about why you’re starting in the first place.
Are you getting into fitness to lose body fat?
Do you want to develop your physical strength?
Are you getting into fitness so you can be around longer for your loved ones?
Whatever your reason is, choose one and keep it at the center of your thoughts as you walk, run, lift, jump, or sprint. This will make you more likely to stay on your fitness path.
After all, having no goal is like having too many goals. To paraphrase the words of Dan John, having too many destinations will get you nowhere.
2. Start with Small Changes
Yes, start small. And by “small,” I mean the simplest and easiest change you can make to your activity and lifestyle choices.
Small and simple choices make the journey less challenging. Smaller changes are often the easiest to make, so they’re sustainable and easier for you to stick to.
Let me give you an example.
Often, I hear clients talking about starting their fitness journeys with a full-body session at the gym or running their first four miles at 4:25 in the morning. These can be excellent lifestyle changes to make, but I often hear these from previously sedentary people.
With this big of a change, many don’t follow through. The ones that get started can’t sustain their efforts for more than a couple of weeks or months.
Imagine if they made realistic and actionable changes, like simply walking more or doing 20 bodyweight squats daily. Do these sound too easy for you? They are, and that’s the point!
The smaller the change, the easier it will be. The easier a task is, the more likely it will become a habit. Making fitness into a habit is what your fitness path is all about.
So, to summarize: start small and build up from there.
3. Rethink What You Know About Progress
Whether it’s a toned bikini line to a faster mile time, we love it when we see that we’re making progress. Here’s the problem:
Having this mindset means that you’re motivated by external motivators, and this isn’t a sustainable mindset to have. After all, you can only keep chasing and crushing visible goals like chiseled abs and bigger lifts for so long until you break down.
Instead, measure your progress based on how you chase after intrinsic motivators. Intrinsic motivators are sensations of fulfillment and satisfaction from performing a task.
So, what does progress through an intrinsic motivator look like?
Imagine that you’re in a Vinyasa yoga class. You move through various positions while breaking a sweat. If you’re after an extrinsic motivator, you may think, “at the end of this year, I’ll have a slimmer and tighter physique.” This means you’re measuring your progress based on whether or not you attain your goal — which may or may not happen.
However, if you’re doing yoga because of the satisfaction it brings you, you’ve already achieved progress. You’ll be able to find satisfaction from the simple fact that you’re showing up for yourself. This is what basing your progress on an intrinsic motivator looks like.
Here’s a quick tip for progressing using an intrinsic motivator:
Recall your positive emotions from a particular physical activity. From here, continue to perform that activity regardless of whether or not you meet your goals; just focus on the satisfaction you feel from a job well done.
4. Get a Workout Buddy or Someone Who Can Hold You Accountable
Intrinsic motivation works well, but not for everyone. You may benefit from the fear of being called out when you’re not feeling the drive to move. This is where a workout partner comes in handy.
Your workout partner isn’t just there to spot you when you’re lifting weights. Your partner is also there to help you stay on your fitness path and call you out when you fail to commit to your plans.
Your workout buddy can also help you set realistic long-term and short-term goals. Together, you’ll be able to identify the best ways to sustain these activities and develop plans for what to do when one of you hits a rut.
Workout partners are also well-known to improve focus, and — most importantly — you’ll feel less alone on your fitness path, encouraging you to stick to your journey longer.
5. Just Get Started
Starting on your fitness path takes no more than two things: a split second of willpower and your choice to act on it.
Does starting your fitness path seem daunting? Remember why you’re starting it.
Don’t you know what changes to make? Think of the easiest and simplest lifestyle adjustment you can follow through with.
Is exercise too hard? Dial back the intensity and volume with low-impact exercises, like swimming or yoga. The goal at the start of your journey is to make fitness a habit, not to set personal bests.
Finally, call a trusted friend or coach to push you and hold you accountable if you feel alone in your journey.
The best motivation hack is to simply take action. Take action, no matter how small, and do it every day. This shouldn’t be too challenging if you’ve set realistic goals and kept your lifestyle tweaks simple and attainable.
Take Action and Get on Your Fitness Path
Making the smallest and simplest changes to your lifestyle can go a long way in keeping you on your fitness path. These seemingly negligible efforts will add over time once they become part of your daily life. Before you know it, you’ll be leaner, stronger, healthier, and faster and won’t even dread exercising anymore.
All you need to do is do something — anything, no matter how small, but daily. This is what keeps you in the game and on the path!