When you’re starting any new fitness program, it can be hard to stay motivated.

We’ve all been there – it’s the New Year, you have an event looming in the future, like a reunion or wedding, or you just want to get in shape and feel better about your body. You start off eager and motivated – this is the time you’re really going to do it, and you’ll stick to your program, eat right, work out every day, and be healthy.

And then you remember that this workout stuff is hard. It takes time, dedication, and commitment, and it can be disappointing not to see the results you want right away. Once you realise that this is a long term commitment, and it’s going to take a lot of time and effort, it’s perfectly normal for your motivation to wane significantly, and you’re less likely to continue with that gung-ho, early week effort, which slows the appearance of results even further, making it harder still to stay motivated. That’s perfectly normal – it’s just human nature. However, whether your fitness goals are to increase muscle mass through bodybuilding, to lose weight and tone through regular workouts, or just to get healthy, here are some tips to help you stay motivated on your fitness journey.

DON’T THINK OF IT AS EXERCISE – MAKE IT FUN!

If your focus is bodybuilding, vary your routine – not just alternating leg and shoulder days, but find a variety of exercises to work each muscle group so you don’t get stuck in a rut. If you enjoy cardio, find activities you enjoy that build strength and endurance – it doesn’t always have to be at a gym. Things like roller skating or trampolining are a great total body workout and seem more like play than working out.

DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP!

If you slip up and cheat on your diet, miss a few days working out, or just aren’t seeing the results that you want, give yourself a break. If you have an “all is lost” mentality, you’ll never reach your goals, but if you allow yourself some wiggle room, kindness, and understanding, you’ll be able to stick to your plan for a longer period of time, rather than giving up because you didn’t adhere to your diet and exercise regime perfectly. It’s all about finding balance, which will then allow you to shift into a healthier lifestyle in the long-run, and thus achieve the results that you want.