For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
Display screen shot 2016 07 15 at 7.55.14 am
Jul 15 2016
by Alyssa Lam

8 Tips to Stay Motivated on Your Fitness Journey

By Alyssa Lam - Jul 15 2016

Whether you just got started on your fitness journey or are well into one, I think it is safe to say that we have all experienced a time when giving up feels like the only option. You have been going strong for quite a decent amount of time and you know it’s best to keep going, but something about it has brought you down and has made you completely uninterested. Lucky for you, here are some tips to maintain that goal and stick with it, even when life makes it all the more difficult.

1. Take it one day at a time.

As cliché as this may sound, slow and steady most often wins the race, especially when it comes to fitness. With working out and eating right, we often over-anticipate the results and when they will arrive. However, one of the best pieces of advice I’ve received recently while practicing yoga is to live in the present moment and to learn to enjoy every aspect of your routine. As much as we’d like them to, miracles don’t happen overnight and it’s not always about the destination. If you feel like you’re coming to a standstill, change it up so you look forward to something new every day. If you don’t already, go on a bike ride around your neighborhood, visit the local park, go hiking, participate in a road race or try out a fitness class you’ve never tried before--or simply change your actual routine. Whatever you decide to do, have fun with it. Life can be boring at times but your fitness journey doesn’t have to be!


2. Surround yourself with positivity.

While you are taking each day as it comes, simply encompass your lifestyle with things that will make you optimistic about what you are doing. Be around people who will encourage your strive and determination; maybe even pick up a workout buddy or someone to join you on your endeavor. Wake up every day hopeful and go to bed each night grateful for your experiences. An easy idea that I use constantly is posting sticky notes with motivational quotes on them around my room or house so that no matter what I am up to, I receive happy little reminders and daily affirmations. You can even try writing on the side of your mirror with dry-erase markers. For hundreds of motivational quotes, visit Pinterest or even download this daily quote app.


3. Create a vision board.

Whether this vision board is physical or electronic, creating a board or space to collect images of what you want to achieve or quotes to keep you going will help you realize the reality of your goals. Like the sticky notes, if you see it every day or very often, you are more inclined to take it as something that MUST get done, rather than something that is more of an optional choice. If you are crafty, this can be fun project to gather a collage of different pictures and eye-catching pieces. And even if you are not artistic, making notes for yourself on your phone or creating a Pinterest board will assist you in staying on track. Constantly add to it from time to time and watch it build character as you build strength!


4. Create a mental image of a future you.

If all of these other tips don’t work for you, at least try this one. Think to yourself what you want to achieve and see yourself in that shape in the future. Envision what you will look like and how you will feel. When you begin to picture a future where you are happy and healthy, you are more likely to strive to get there. Time will pass no matter what, so make the most of the time you have and when you finally reach that moment, you will thank your past self for it. Maybe you have an event coming up where you want to look your very best. Maybe you are embarking on a brand new direction in your life where being happy with yourself is essential. No matter what the occasion, you’ll only get there if you try. One day, your dreams may come true. So work hard now, and relish in your successes later.


5. Make specific, realistic goals with deadlines.

Something that most of us often forget is to create a goal that is not only going to challenge ourselves but one that we can actually achieve. Of course, you never want to undermine your abilities, but we must realize that if we want to achieve something great, we must put in hard work. You have to ask yourself, how much hard work are you willing to put effort into? Is your goal possible? Understand your limits. And when we also acknowledge a specific goal and deadline, there is a sense of responsibility and urgency to complete the task at hand. For me personally, I feel very determined when I see a countdown timer counting down to my deadline so that I not only have something to look forward to, but know that time is running out for me to be where I want to be.


6. Remember to reward yourself.

This is self-explanatory but can be challenging to some. Through the days of persevering and determination, you will get tired. You will get sore. You will feel like you have made it far enough that you deserve something special for your efforts. And that is completely normal! As humans, we are wired to want reward, and no one ever said a little indulgence is the worst thing you can do. But the most important thing to remember is not to over-reward. Indulge yourself with a soothing bath or time in a sauna or spa. Have a wise-portioned dessert that you know you can work off soon after. Exercise should not be stressful--relax, breathe and enjoy it. Simply don’t go overboard on the praise and remember that the true reward is a healthy you.


7. Be kind to yourself and acknowledge your positive attributes, as well as progress.

Something I think we all forget from time to time even when we are not on that workout grind is to care for ourselves. While you are pushing hard to get to your goal, remind yourself why you are doing this and how important it is to take care of your health. Don’t be too hard at times, and pressure yourself to a healthy extent. Be mindful and have a positive image of yourself. On many occasions, your fitness journey will alter your self-esteem and how you look at yourself. When you struggle, try not to think about what you can’t do and don’t look like, and rather what you can do and look like now. Have a positive body-image, remind yourself to keep going as you begin to see progress, and remember that though you may want to appear better, a healthy body needs a healthy mind.


8. Don’t compare yourself to others.

In my opinion, this is the major “don’t” of staying in shape. You are beautiful and strong just the way you are. Remember that the journey is not to change completely, but to improve and discover a better version of yourself. Stay true to who you are and remember that often what you see in social media is unrealistic and not genuine to what real people look like. Having the enthusiasm to work out and eat right is not so much a way to be more attractive, but a means to live a life at a lower risk for diseases and health complications that may come up if you don’t take care of yourself.


So I wish you guys the best of luck on your fitness journeys and hope this helped in any way! Keep going! You've got this.

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Alyssa Lam - Northeastern University

Alyssa Lam is a freshman at Northeastern University and one of Fresh U Northeastern's Junior Editor-in-Chiefs. She is undeclared; however she has interests in following a pre-medical track. In her free time, Alyssa likes to cook, work out, draw, write, hang out with friends, explore, and try new things. She prides herself on the fact she is short yet fierce. Find her on Instagram @lyssalam6.

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