For most people, finding the motivation to get to the gym is not always guaranteed. Everyone has off days, or days where honestly, you just can’t be bothered, and you’ve got 100 flimsy excuses to justify why you’ll be spending your evening accompanied by Netflix and Doritos.

Especially during the winter months, the days get colder, shorter and darker, and the last thing you want to be doing is waking up early in freezing temperatures to go for a run or hitting up the gym after a dreary day of work.

If your favourite inspirational quotes and energetic music just aren’t cutting it, we have a few other proven methods to help get you fired up and motivated to train consistently:

1. Track your progress

One simple way to stay motivated is to remind yourself on how far you’ve come. Keeping a simple calendar of the workouts you’ve done gives you something tangible you can look back on. Plus, knowing you have to write your accomplishments down may give you that extra push you need to get moving.

This could be writing down your physical measurements, getting your body fat tested, taking regular progress photos, or even creating your own markers of fitness e.g keeping a tally of how many press ups you can do without a break. A progress chart or journal is a great way to track how you’re doing.

2. Reward yourself

It’s not all about blood, sweat and tears. Rewarding yourself is just as important as the hard work and it will make your achievements feel a whole lot sweeter too. A good way of doing this is to set a tangible fitness goal (such as running a 5km personal best) and assigning a reward for once you’ve hit your target. Some rewards you could try: buying new workout gear, buying a new health and wellness book, a day at a spa, a night out at your favourite restaurant etc. 

3. Make it fun

By nature, humans need change and variety to stay motivated. We also need to have fun — even while we’re working hard. 

Whether it’s a routine that includes high energy sessions full of resistance and HIIT rounds, interspersed with regular swimming and outdoor running, design your exercise routine around a variety of exercise methods. Consider changing the location in which you exercise, and remember to rotate the methods you’ve chosen every couple of months so you’re regularly trying new things. Making sure you include activities you truly enjoy and look forward to doing is key.

Workout variety also challenges your body in unique ways, which may introduce you to new muscle groups you didn’t even know you had. 

4. Stop making exercise about how you look

When exercise is all about the way you look, you can easily fall short of your expectations and end up just giving up. This is because, everyone has a different body, and what works for one person won’t always work for you.

Instead of focusing on bigger, more elusive goals (hey, six-pack abs), try setting micro goals that’ll help you celebrate small victories along the way, like nailing a push-up for the first time or running one mile without stopping.

5. Find someone to hold you accountable

Some people prefer solo workouts, but for those that need a little push in the motivation department, finding someone with a shared interest in fitness can make all the difference. Even if you don’t live close enough to regularly train together, just talking about your fitness routine with someone else, will make you much less likely to find excuses not to train.

If you don’t have someone to buddy up with, a personal trainer is the perfect person to keep your fitness fire alight. There will be no one more invested in your progress than a trainer, and having them cheering you on will help pick you up on the days you might have considered giving up. Plus, working with a trained professional will likely mean you’ll see results much faster than going it alone, and there’s nothing like seeing and feeling your health and wellness improve, to fuel your hunger to keep going.