It can often take a lot of courage to start exercising. Years of bad eating and general neglect can wreak havoc on the body and leave you feeling unfit and frumpy. Having a baby or an injury can also place you out of action and cause your fitness levels to plummet. The biggest challenge that most people have to overcome is to simply start.

In today’s article we look at ways to stay motivated once you have overcome this initial hurdle. Too many people become disheartened too quickly after not seeing results quickly enough. There are simple things that you can do to stay motivated and make lifestyle changes for the long run. A lack of motivation is the biggest obstacle stopping you from achieving the body you dream of.

Visualise your goals

Visualisation is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal, and it’s free! Too often, we get completely absorbed in the past and present. You may have skipped a workout or indulged in a calorific treat and it is easy to beat yourself up and feel like a failure.

In moments like this, it is important to remind yourself that you are only human and to take a moment to think of the future. Visualise what your ideal weight loss goal is and how you will look and feel when this target is achieved. Imagine being on holiday, on a beach, feeling body confident and fit. This is the goal that you are working towards.

It will help you to realise that you are on a long-term journey, and that these goals will not be achieved in a day. Missing a workout or eating a chocolate bar isn’t the end of the world. It’s the steps you are going to actively take between now and your target end goal that will matter. Athletes, politicians, celebrities and business leaders all use visualisation to boost confidence and focus.

Just 60 seconds of creative optimism could change your outlook for the entire day.

Be Accountable

Being accountable to other individuals is a great way to stay on track. Accountability forces you to show up at your workouts, to eat healthier and to report positive progress to your loved ones around you.

Training with a friend or a personal trainer is a great way to stay motivated. You receive positive encouragement during each workout and no matter if it’s rain or shine, your arrival will be expected at each scheduled session. It is much harder to find excuses when you have to explain yourself to another person!

Focus On The Small Things

Many of us start exercising and expect miracles to take place overnight. We are so focused on the finished article, that we are disheartened to find we haven’t lost two dress sizes overnight after an intense cardio session. Achieving your fitness goals takes hard, sweaty work otherwise we would all be sporting a six-pack or toned abs.

Focus on appreciating the day-to-day changes in your body and lifestyle and this will take you much further. Feeling soreness in muscles that you previously didn’t know existed, switching white bread for brown bread and walking to work rather than taking the bus are all great accomplishments that you should acknowledge and be proud of.