You vs February

It hurts. You’re tired. It’s too early. You’re sore. The gym always plays obnoxious music. You hate getting sweaty. You feel ridiculous dressed like this. You look silly to all of these skinny, fit people. You never liked gym class anyway. Is this even making a difference?

Go ahead: Add your reason to quit working out to the list. You set a goal to get fit, lose weight and improve your health last month, and now you’re into the month where New Year’s resolutions go to die: February. This is when your workout stops feeling new and fun and starts feeling downright hard.

Want your New Year’s resolution to survive February? Want to keep it up long enough to see actual results and really change your life? So how do you get your head straightened out?

Find a Fitness Nemesis … er, Buddy
Having a fitness pal can be a positive, but it’s not for everybody. How do you know if it would be a good thing for you? Well, if your fitness friend outperformed you, would you…

a) feel discouraged and quit working out?
b) feel competitive and try to get the upper hand by the next workout?
c) not even notice?

If you chose b) or c), go get a workout partner. If you chose a), keep working out solo. If you chose Having a partner keeps you accountable and gives you additional motivation. If that’s not enough, you could ask your workout buddy (or buddies) to publicly shame you with embarrassing pictures on a website or social media if you fail to show up for your workout.

Get a Mantra
This trick comes from marathon runners and endurance athletes, but there’s no reason you can’t take this same strategy into the weight room or indoor cycling class. Choose a phrase, or even a single word, and repeat it when times get tough. One marathoner told The New York Times he repeats the phrase “pain is inevitable; suffering is optional” over and over again as he taps out 26.2 miles. Need a few more examples?

“You don’t have to feel good to run fast.” “Sweat is your fat crying.” “Bigger, stronger, faster.” “Go hard or go home.” “Pain is weakness leaving the body.”

Focus On The Process
Say you want to lose 15 pounds. When you step on the scale, will it inspire you to work harder? Or will it remind you how far you have yet to go? And how many nagging reminders can you take before you throw your hands up and quit?

If standing on the scale every day motivates you to get better, by all means, do it. But if measuring yourself every day leaves you feeling discouraged, for goodness’ sake, stop doing it. Instead, focus on what you have to do to achieve your goal: exercise and eat better.

Real results come when you execute your plan over the long term. In an ideal world, you’ll even come to enjoy it. And when that happens, goal or no goal, you’ll keep doing it.