Forget burpees, battle rope intervals, and 60-second plank holds that are somehow longer than an actual minute (right?). Sometimes, the hardest part about working out is resisting the urge to hit snooze in the 5 a.m. darkness or bail before your 6 p.m. spin class at the end of a long, tiring workday.
When it comes to sticking with a workout routine or hitting a new fitness goal, we know that conventional wisdom doesn't always cut it in the self-motivation department. "You have to really want it." "Buying a monthly gym membership will force you to exercise." "It takes 21 days to build a habit." Not very helpful.
Thankfully, science backs up a few motivation strategies that can inspire us to get moving, feel good doing it, and shift our mindset to a more positive outlook so that we even look forward to it. Read on for four tips that, like a good workout routine, go a long way in helping you live your best—right now:
1. Reframe your goal.
There are a few ways to approach goal setting that can help us realistically achieve what we set out to do. First, focus on clear, micro goals versus bigger, more elusive goals. "Get more exercise," "run a half marathon," and "master inversions" are all big goals. Breaking down your big goal into smaller, doable action steps helps turn your brain into a positive-thinking powerhouse as you accomplish them.
Secondly, be careful about basing your end goal on your appearance. Working out to find self-worth isn't just unhealthy—it's ineffective, according to a multitude of research. In fact, studies find that having a positive body image to begin with actually makes you more likely to keep exercising. Try focusing on how good movement makes you feel over how it makes you look.
2. Find the right partner.
It's a win-win: Research shows that we're not only much more motivated to work out when we have a partner spurring us on, but we push ourselves harder, too. The thing to keep in mind is that not all exercise partners are created equal: Experts advise choosing someone with a compatible temperament and fitness level, as well as similar fitness goals.
The icing on the cake is that having a friend around makes breaking a sweat—dare we say?—enjoyable, but the next best part, of course, is filling up on brunch afterward. Toast to your hard work with refreshing zero-sugar, zero-calorie Zevia Energy Drinks, which are organically caffeinated and naturally flavored in four varieties from Grapefruit to Mango Ginger.
3. Tap into an encouraging community.
Permission granted to scroll through social media—at least for a spark of fitness motivation and community support: Research reveals that social networks can be a powerful motivator for encouraging physical activity and keeping the good vibes going in the long run, thanks to the support you can get within a like-minded community. At the end of the day, we're all just trying to make good on our commitment to realize the best, healthiest versions of ourselves—and it helps to know we've got each other's backs.
So, find and follow your friends on fitness tracker apps and cheer one another on. Even more compelling, a major study published in Nature evaluated 1.1 million runners on a social network over five years and determined that the more miles you see your friends log, the more likely you'll rack them up for yourself.
4. Use your willpower wisely.
A recent report by the American Psychological Association suggested an interesting take on the concept of willpower—that we actually only have a limited amount of it. "Some experts liken willpower to a muscle that can get fatigued from overuse," the report stated. In this way of thinking, our willpower is drained by different activities and circumstances throughout the day.
So if you're someone who needs extra motivation to head to the gym, get ahead of the game: Pop open your favorite Zevia Energy Drink for an extra zero-sugar, zero-calorie boost to get you through the day, and try scheduling your workouts for earlier in the day—before other things come up that might sap your willpower.