So, you told yourself you’d “strive for five” classes this week, or even #obéeveryday. Then life got in the way, you lost the motivation, and, well, your workouts didn’t happen exactly as planned—or at all.
First, cut yourself some slack. Guess what? You’re human—and that means you’re not perfect. We all struggle with feeling motivated at times—even our instructors who work out for a living! “Self-motivation does not always come easy to me,” says instructor Mary W. “It does take discipline and consistency, but when I start moving, I’m always in a better place.”
Fortunately, motivation isn’t some murky, hard-to-pin-down emotion that comes or goes as it pleases. In fact, it’s a feeling that’s fully in your power to control—as long as you have the right tools at your disposal.
Set yourself up for fitness success with these six solid tips, gathered from our instructors, science, and members of the obé fam.
1. Find your why.
“Finding your why” is a quote you’ve probably heard before (like in an obé class!) and it’s not just a feel-good phrase. Instead, it’s drawn from a psychological concept known as “intrinsic motivation”—defined as doing something because it’s enjoyable and interesting to you, rather than because of an outside incentive or pressure to do it. (Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, means you do something in order to gain something or avoid a punishment in return—such as losing your job, or going on medication.)
Right now, take one minute and ask yourself: Why do you want to work out? Answer that, then ask “why” again. And again—until you feel like you’ve arrived at the deep-down reason you’re pressing play on obé.
Hint: Don’t make it about a number on the scale, or looking good to impress people at an upcoming event (i.e. extrinsic motivations). Instead, go deeper: Do you work out to have more energy in your day-to-day life? To feel more confident in your skin? To be strong for everyday life? To keep up with your kids? To have the stamina to travel more? To love who you see in the mirror? Whatever it is for you, that’s your why—your intrinsic motivation that keeps you coming back to obé.
2. Remind yourself of how you’ll feel after.
Yeah, we know—sweating on a mat doesn’t always sound appealing, especially when you’re warm in your bed or cozy on the couch. But that feeling you have after you’ve lifted heavy, danced your heart out, or flowed it out? Priceless.
“When I am lacking motivation, I think of how I will feel after I work out,” says instructor Alex S. “Sometimes it’s much better, sometimes it’s a tad better, and sometimes it’s just a teeny-bit better, but regardless, it’s BETTER!”
In our private Facebook group, Gabriella Z. shared a similar sentiment: “I find what always works for me is thinking about how I’ll feel when I finish. I always am so happy that I worked out and did something good for my body.”
3. Just show up—and start small.
Breaking your goals down into bite-sized pieces isn’t an excuse to do the bare minimum; it’s a proven way to power up your motivation. In positive psychology, there’s a concept known as neuroplasticity, which refers to your brain’s ability to rewire itself over time and create new, more successful pathways. Achieving a small goal allows your brain to experience the feeling of success, which helps create a new pathway that says “working out feels good—I got this!”
For example, set your goal to take three Express classes this week, rather than shoot for five 45-minute workouts. Said another way: Motivation follows action, so when you actually make a move—however small—you will be much more likely to pick up momentum and keep going. As Mary puts it, “The moment you start moving you’ll realize that’s exactly where you want to be.”
4. Speak kindly to yourself.
It’s all too easy to get down on ourselves and think negatively about your behavior—or lack thereof. The problem: “Humans are not motivated by our shaming thoughts; we are motivated by encouragement!” as instructor Kathryn A. reminds us. “Try to reframe every negative thought that arises for a positive one and see what happens.”
For example, rather than focus on thoughts such as, “I am just so dang tired” or “I feel like crap, I’ll just stay on the couch,” try to think encouraging thoughts like, “Even if I just do 10 minutes, I’ll feel better!” or, “I have the energy for ____ today.” “You’ll be amazed how your body responds to the positive feedback loop,” Kathryn says.
5. Grab a motivation accountability buddy.
Teamwork truly makes the dream work(out). Studies have found that people are 65% more likely to meet a goal after committing to another person—and their chances of success increase to 95% (!) when they build in ongoing check-ins with their partners. That could look like: Sharing your workout schedule on obé with your friends, posting your #SweatySelfies on Instagram or Facebook, or simply texting a buddy that you’ve completed your workout for the day.
As our co-founder Mark Mullett says, “You are the company you keep. Surround yourself with people who embrace an active lifestyle. On the days you’re down, they lift you up. And on the days they’re down, it’s your job to do the same.”
Where to find these fab folks? For starters, there’s an amazing obé community on Facebook and Instagram, just waiting to cheer you on. Pro tip from Mark: “Listen for the other names you’re hearing in the live classes you take, and look for them in the FB group! Chances are it’s a friend match.”
Member Emily A. echoes that advice: “The group is a great place to find an accountability buddy—everyone here is truly kind and supportive.”
6. Make it easy to press play.
Lucky for you, we’ve done a lot of the legwork for you here at obé. On the app or web, you can set up your schedule and add classes to your online calendar, so there’s no “forgetting” about a live class! You can also “favorite” classes so you can easily access your go-to’s.
There are also curated programs to help you stay on track, no matter your fitness level or mood. “I really like the one-week Rev-Up programs—there’s one for arms, one for legs, and one for abs,” says member Megan K. “They’re so nice because the first six days are all 10-minute classes, so you can do them all together each day or do just a little a day to get back into a routine. And then the seventh day is a full 28-minute class.”
Another helpful hint from member Hannah S.: “Create a few filter searches of classes you like on obé, and save those searches as bookmarks in your web browser! For example, I love Sculpt classes with no equipment, so that’s saved as a search. If ever I don’t know what I want to do, having that saved makes it super easy to just hop into a workout!” The less guesswork, the better!
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