Ask the expert: Enda McNulty
Q: I’ve lost count of the number of fitness programmes I’ve started – and by week 2 I’ve already given up. How do I stay motivated?
A: 1 Start small – it might be as little as doing stretches while you’re watching TV - and build from there and you’ll be amazed by what you achieve.
2 Decide on a goal – make a 30- or 90-day goal that’ll give you a good sense of achievement such as a lap of your local park or a 5km run. Make it meaningful and then, most important, set a plan for it.
3 Write a simple one-page plan for what you want to improve in terms of your health and fitness. Work out your bigger motivation – is it to inspire your kids, to improve your self esteem – and write that down. Use it to remind yourself when motivation is low.
4 Find a friend, partner or colleague who’ll help you along the way, who will pick up the phone on a Saturday and say, ‘Come on, let’s go’ or phone if you don’t turn up to the gym.
5 Hook up with a group that supports you – run with a local group or join a team – social cohesion is associated with higher levels of health and fitness.
6 Do something that’s fun – everyone can find some type of exercise that’s fun. You might be bored doing yoga but love hiking or kicking a ball around with your kids. You are much more likely to keep doing something you enjoy.
7 Make sure when you get derailed that you reconnect with your purpose or motivation. Plan in advance how you will react to slipping off your health and fitness track, because everyone does. Think about your bigger motivation, get your friend who will pick you up involved. Go back to another smaller goal if you don’t achieve your initial goal.