Struggling to make it to the gym? Here are some life-hacks to get you out the door and on your way to fitness:
Before we start hacking, groundwork comes first: Give yourself a break. You’re not the only one who struggles with getting a fitness regime sorted. For every person you know that is hard at it in the gym every day, there will be 99 others who had planned to go – but didn’t. That puts you in the majority.
That’s not to say that we want to keep you in no-man’s (or no-woman’s) land forever. But what we are saying is that change has to be a positive thing – beating yourself up for being a lazy sluggard is not going to help you get out the door tomorrow – in fact, it’s more likely to hinder you.
Secondly, realise that you do need some help. Clearly you haven’t achieved your goals to this point by relying on pure willpower and motivation. You need some extra support. Reading this article is a good start. It’s ok to reach out for help. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness.
So with the groundwork put to bed, here are our awesome get-to-the-gym hacks:
- First up, an old favourite: Hook up with a gym buddy and agree on a time you will both meet at the gym. Bringing someone else into the picture who will miss you if you are not there, is very motivating. Assuming you are not the sort of person to stand up your partner at a dinner date or your colleagues at a meeting, you should have an existing mindset of being on time for a scheduled appointment. Use this to your advantage. Even better, arrange to car-share with your gym buddy. That way you will be extra-focused on being there at the right time – or risk a very uncomfortable conversation down the track.
- Sort your gear out the night before. Have it packed, sorted, and ready to go by the door. Have your car keys and gym gear sorted and ready. Doing this means there is less stress in the way of you and the waiting treadmill at the gym. Wake up. Throw on your clothes. Out the door. Easy.
- Give your workout a quick think-through the night before. Imagine any new goals you may have set yourself. Simply giving it a minute of mindfulness will help you prep mentally for it.
- A variation to the above hack is to focus on just turning up. Imagine if the only goal you had was to walk through those doors at 6 a.m. There you go, you did it. Now that you’re here you might as well hop on that treadmill over there. Sometimes it’s easier to focus on small, attainable goals rather than the whole mountain.
- Many gyms offer classes. Just like the gym-buddy trick, this one forces you to plan the class into your schedule. Choose the classes you want to do and book them in. Classes are a fun way to meet like-minded people – especially if you are new to a gym.
- Make yourself a goal: Book yourself into a fun run. Plan to do a large hike. Commit to doing the next belt grading in your martial art. Whatever it is, it will give you a reason to hit the gym. Seeing a slight improvement in your waistline might not be enough motivation to keep you exercising. Adding an extra incentive provides more motivation.
- Enjoy yourself at the gym. Fitness regimes come in all shapes and sizes so if your current one isn’t working for you, change it up. Some machines, classes, or exercises can be much more enjoyable than others. Find what works for you, through on the headphones, and have some fun.
- Make sure you reward yourself for going to the gym. That doesn’t mean you undo your hard work with a doughnut and a chocolate bar. Your reward could be shouting yourself a Lotto ticket, a magazine, or 10 minutes at your favourite coffee shop. It could be as simple as writing a ‘well done’ happy-face message to yourself. Psychology research tells us that behaviour that gets rewarded, gets repeated. Reward, and repeat. Make sure that you reward the behaviour if you do it. This is vital. In addition, it’s a good idea to give yourself that treat only if you go to the gym. Don’t cheat yourself.
- One neat trick is to punish yourself if you don’t do as you promised. Imagine donating $10 to a political party you despise. Or visiting someone you would rather not. Play this psychological trick on yourself. It works even when you know the mental mechanics behind it. Once again you need to carry through with your threat-to-self – the trick loses its power if you don’t. Our first point about scheduling around a gym buddy shows the power of this trick – particularly when you imagine the penalty of not picking your gym buddy up on a cold wet morning and having to explain why you didn’t make it.
- Still not happening for you? Consider trying a different gym or a different time if you can. Changing your schedule can create the extra energy you need to get over the line.
There you have it. Our 10 top hacks for hitting the gym. Good luck.