Motivation Week! Secret weapons for staying motivated.

This is a list of the top five life hacks I’ve road-tested in my quest to stay motivated to exercise. (Preview of coming attractions: Tomorrow I’ll showcase the life hacks my Facebook friends have used in their quest to stay active on a regular basis.)

Top 5 Life Hacks for Fitness Motivation

Life Hack #1: The Money Jar. Two bucks for my workout, two bucks for every day I eat healthfully. Result: swag money at my next big race.
Life Hack #1: The Money Jar. Two bucks for my workout, two bucks for every day I eat healthfully. Result: swag money at my next big race.

1. The Money Jar. This works particularly well when you have an event to train for and you’re trying to stay motivated. Let’s say you’re running a race in twelve weeks. You put two dollars in your money jar for every day you follow your nutrition plan, and two more dollars in your money jar for every day you do your planned workout. Now, it’s not quite that easy: you also take out two dollars on any day when you don’t follow your nutrition plan, and two dollars on any day when you don’t do your scheduled workout. The money that is in the jar on race weekend is your Race Swag Budget. Want a cool race jacket, or a branded pair of nifty running shorts, or even…gasp…new shoes? Is it in your jar? There you go!

Life Hack #2: Cool signage. A mantra, a photo, a calendar: whatever motivates you to keep on keeping on.
Life Hack #2: Cool signage. A mantra, a photo, a calendar: whatever motivates you to keep on keeping on.

2. Cool Signage. I have a 2014 calendar hanging in my office called Run Inspired: Motivation for your Yearlong Journey. It has nice big squares for each day for me to track my workouts, and even space underneath each month to log every run: mileage, pace, and other details. The photos are beautiful and the motivational sayings are inspiring. I love love love it.

3. Gym bag packed with fresh clothes…as soon as I get home from the gym from today’s workout. This one goes like so: I take out the gym clothes I was just wearing, I put them in the laundry, and I immediately pack my bag with a fresh set of clothes. That way, when it’s time for the next workout, there is zero effort involved in wondering where my gym bag/clothes are. They’re waiting and ready to go. (Works with yoga too – and YES, I did get in that 6 a.m. yoga class on Monday that I was hoping to do!).

Life Hack #4: My "before" and "after" photos hang prominently in my office, because I need the reminder sometimes of the fork in the road (literally) that goes from there to here.
Life Hack #4: My “before” and “after” photos hang prominently in my office, because I need the reminder sometimes of the fork in the road (literally) that goes from there to here.

4. Photos of me at my most active and/or happiest…alongside photos of me at my least happy/least active. There are two photos that hang in my office: the picture that changed my life (when I was forty pounds overweight), and a picture of me killing it in a 5K in Seattle two and a half years later at what I think is likely my ideal racing weight (forty pounds lighter). The juxtaposition of those two photos side by side keeps me honest. I can choose either path at any time, and I know I’m capable of falling down either of those particular rabbit holes. I fight like nuts to choose the healthy, active me every time.

5. A very fancy gym membership. This one works as long as you’re willing to shell out the cash. After a close examination of my budget, I decided I needed fewer lattes in my life, and more cool gym experiences. The place where I work out gives you lockers and towels and shampoo and oodles of classes and oodles of equipment and four swimming pools and lots of expert trainer-types walking around to help you with just about anything. It’s worth it…as long as I use it at least 10 to 15 times per month. And therein lies the magic. It’s only worth it if I actually use it. <Grin.>

These are just the top five life hacks for fitness motivation that I came up with today. Try one and see if that helps get your fitness life in gear this week.

Yesterday’s #Evert48 workout: A 6 a.m. BIKRAM YOGA class – 90 minutes of stretching and bliss. Going to sleep, with no “screens” in the bedroom, at 9 p.m. the night before really helped with the early wake-up call.

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