Many people need to see changes in the mirror, the scale, or in the way their clothes fit, in order to stay motivated to workout. The good news is that small changes really do add up in a big way—especially if you keep at it. Consistency is the key to seeing results, so make sure you don’t give up too soon. Change for you could be just around the corner!

1. Carry water with you wherever you go.

Drink at least eight glasses of water a day and start first thing in the morning when your body is naturally dehydrated.

The payoff: Water aids your digestion, flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your body and improves your skin tone.

2. Stop eating at least two hours before bedtime.

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Eating right before bed doesn’t give your body any time to burn those calories. Plus, it makes your body use energy on digestion instead of recuperating from your long day.

The payoff: Wake up energized and refreshed.

3. Get 8 hours of sleep.

Getting enough sleep—eight hours a night—can actually help you keep weight off. When you don't get enough sleep, it drives your leptin levels down, which means you don't feel as satisfied after you eat. Lack of sleep also causes ghrelin levels to rise, which means your appetite is stimulated, so you want more food. Getting about seven hours of sleep a night can help you retain information, keep your metabolism and weight in check, and improve your mood.

The payoff: According to Harvard Women's Health Watch, too little sleep can lead to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat. Sleep deprivation alters immune function, and keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer. Quality sleep for at least seven hours can keep your health in check and your appetite under control.

4. Enlist a friend.

Ever notice when you are at a park, walking path or gym that people tend to be there in twos? That’s because working out with a friend is fun. You can walk and talk, motivate each other and you are less likely to skip a workout if you know you have someone counting on (or waiting for) you.

The payoff: Working out with a friend will boost your discipline—and your mood.

5. Plan to get exercise.

Don’t see how your day goes and try to squeeze a workout in if you end up having time. Make it a priority and if you don’t exercise first thing in the morning, at least determine when it’s on your calendar for the day. View your exercise like an appointment with a doctor or a friend—don’t break the commitment, even when it’s to yourself.

The payoff: Regular exercise improves your health and mood, builds your strength and endurance, helps you manage stress, boosts your energy level and helps you lose weight.

6. Buy yourself something!

Sometimes gifts motivate! Do you have a workout outfit you love? Do exercise classes motivate you? Would you workout with free weights if you bought a set for your home? Do you love music? Whether you buy an ipod to download a cool playlist with your favorite tunes, or buy workout gear in your favorite color, splurging a little can help get you out the door. Who knows, you just may link your happiness over your new gift with getting healthy.

The payoff: Purchases you enjoy can make your workouts rewarding, and feeling good will motivate you to look good.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com


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