If you’ve had to stop working out for a period of time, it’s hard to get going again.
Q: What’s the biggest mistake people make?
A: They think it will easier to get started when you feel motivated.
Feeling motivated is awesome – that’s true.
But because motivation is a feeling, it’s not going to be constant.
If we want to make changes, we must do the work. Motivated or not.
I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. We all have things we do that need to be done whether we feel motivated to do them, right?
The trick is to just get started and get that routine established again.
And no – it won’t be easy or comfortable at first. That’s ok. It still needs to be done.
Here are 8 ways you can reset your gym habit even if you’re not motivated to get started again.
Start with your favorite movements.
What are those things you look forward to doing at the gym? What’s the one thing you miss? (I miss the leg press.)
Don’t worry about starting with the best program right now. Just go. Do things you enjoy.
Plus, you can’t walk back into the gym after a couple of months off and do what you were doing before anyway. In my last blog, How to Get Back to Lifting After a Break, I shared how to set up a program if you’ve been off for a while.
Related: New to lifting? Read How to Start Lifting
Put “workout” in your planner.
Set a day and a time. I know that’s not fool-proof. I’ve crossed off plenty of things instead of checking them off. But it helps to see it written down and you’re more likely to do it if it is written down.
Related: 2021 Habit Trackers
Get a new workout logbook.
Write out the routines you plan to do this week.
I do this the night before. If I have it planned out before I go to sleep, I can mentally rehearse the workout.
That helps me to look forward to it and make time for it the next day.
Pack your gym bag the night before.
If you need a gym bag with a change of clothes, get that ready the night before. Maybe even put it in the car the night before. One less thing to think about. (Don’t forget your headphones!)
Have a reliable workout buddy?
Set up a time and place to meet them. It’s extremely effective to set up an appointment to meet someone at the gym.
Purchase a package with a trainer.
Invest in your restart! Not only will you have an appointment you need to keep, all you have to do is show up. They will have the workout ready for you.
Remind yourself that “done is better than perfect”.
Go and do things. It doesn’t matter what you do. If you’ve been sidelined for a while, even a goofy workout will be a better than a workout you didn’t do. Get it going again and dial it in next week or the week after.
You’ve probably lost strength and stamina, but it will come back. You may have gained weight – that’s ok. You’ll lose it.
Use this experience as a reminder that all our programs, lifting and nutrition, need to be sustainable and enjoyable because self-care requires consistent attention.
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Hi! I'm Tammy! I was a busy, stressed, and unhealthy teacher until I decided to take control of my health. I did not become an athlete until I was in my 50's!
I earned personal training and fitness nutrition certifications, then retired from teaching to dedicate my work life to fitness education for other busy women over 40.
My results are obviously not typical because most people don't train to compete as a bodybuilder.
But I believe everyone can make positive changes with healthy habits! Each of us has a unique combination of strengths and challenges that need to be considered to customize a program that will work for us. Science-based principles, flexibility, and consistency make all the difference.