When it comes to motivation, our brains are mysterious creatures. One minute you’re pumped, full of enthusiasm for your shiny new workout schedule. A few weeks later the excuses are starting to creep in, and before you know it you haven’t been to the gym all week, muttering to friends about how busy you’ve been or how tired you are and your fitness goals have suddenly taken a back seat.
The good news is: you’re not alone! In fact, your brain is behaving like a completely normal human brain – a huge 50% of people who begin new exercise plans will drop out in the first six months! The thoughts you experience when you’re just getting started with fitness are part of a well-studied science.
We conducted some research into beginners’ exercise and found a few key things that kept them coming back for more:
THE KEY FACTOR – CONFIDENCE
The key factor in how likely someone is to progress through these stages of change is their level of self-efficacy.
Self-efficacy is the confidence you have in overcoming obstacles and resisting temptation (to return to your previous behavior) in order to reach your goals. Studies have shown a consistently positive relationship between self-efficacy and progress through the stages of change; the higher your level of confidence, the greater the likelihood that you’ll achieve your goals. Here are three steps to keeping your motivation in check:
1. CONTROL YOUR WORKOUT
Take steps to actively manage both the duration and intensity of your training. Trying anything new can be intimidating and – as you now know – the key to success is to start slowly and feeling like you’re in control. Check out our SMART START™ guide and workout planner to get you on your way.
2. FREQUENCY BEFORE INTENSITY
It’s more important to just get into the habit of exercising, before you start worrying about how hard you’re working. Remember to take the options offered by your instructor so you can tailor the workout to your ability – allowing you to feel good about what you can do, rather than feeling like you can’t keep up.
3. CELEBRATE THE IMMEDIATE WINS
Focus on the gains that occur as soon as you become active: increased energy levels, feeling more positive, or the endorphin high you get straight after a workout. These things happen straight away, and are much better to focus on than long-term aesthetic goals like getting a smaller butt!
Combining these three tools will reduce anxiety around exercise – increasing your confidence and helping you reach the stage where physical activity is a permanent feature in your life.
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