“Is getting fit after 50 a reality? If it is, how do I get motivated?” I am asked this all the time by women over fifty who truly want to get healthy but just don’t know how to get started and stay committed. Getting motivated and staying motivated is hard — even I struggle. These are my best suggestions for baby boomers who sincerely want to make positive lifestyle changes.
Visualize the body you want. When you see something you want your natural instinct is to do whatever you can to get it. Find either an old picture of yourself or choose a picture from a magazine that represents the body you aspire to. Even if the image seems slightly unrealistic, remember nothing is impossible and it’s good to have a clear vision of where you would like to be. For most people, seeing is believing.
Set goals. To get the body you want you need to make an actionable plan. Setting realistic fitness goals will help you stay motivated on a daily basis. Even the healthiest and most fit people can hit a struggle period where they lose sight of their goals. To stay on track you should create short and long term goals. The idea is to challenge yourself every day until it turns into a lifestyle change. My post “Making Changes: How Women Over 50 Can Meet Goals in the New Year” explains my philosophy on how to make the changes you want.
Create a Morning Mantra. “Be bold…be brave…be fearless…” Our truth and reality come from what we tell ourselves. We dictate our success, worth, and values. From inspiring quotes to slogans, there is always a way to find motivation to keep health routines going strong. Starting your morning with these messages can help you stay on track to being your healthiest and happiest. The main reason why people are successful is because they keep trying and keep believing. Even something as simple as “today is going to be a great day” will work to keep you motivated.
Have Fun. Many women over fifty think of exercise as a chore and it’s hard to get motivated with that mindset. When choosing an exercise program make sure to find something you like. I love to lift weights but maybe you find that activity onerous. There are so many options to choose from that I’m certain there is something for you. Like to dance? Try a Zumba class. Enjoy walking? Find a friend and schedule a daily walk. When you find the right fit for you exercising will change from a chore to a choice.
Make a Great Playlist. Never underestimate the power of music. Listening to the music you love while exercising can really help you get motivated. Sometimes I actually find myself singing along or busting a move on the gym floor. Although embarrassing (not that I care) listening to the music I love has definitely gotten me through many grueling workouts.
Talk to Yourself. Instead of saying “I can’t” say “I can.” And yes, it’s that simple. Stop thinking of yourself as a couch potato and start thinking of yourself as an athlete. It’s critical that we rethink the messages we send ourselves. It’s important to get motivated from within. Do not allow others to define you. If you’re a woman over fifty who wants to get fit think it and work for it and it will come!
Healthy In. Junk Out. This is an oldie but a goodie. A great way to ensure you won’t reach for the junk food is to surround yourself with nutrition-packed foods. Dump the processed fatty foods and stock up on healthy options. For diet success, shop for fruit, healthy snacks, pre-cut vegetables, organic greens, lean proteins, etc. Remember to not shop when you are hungry—you’ll most likely end up buying junk food. Stay focused on your journey to fitness and the right decisions will follow.
Hire a Personal Trainer. Personal trainers aren’t just coaches, they serve as role models, educators, and a huge source of motivation. If you find it hard to stick with a program, scheduling appointments on a regular basis help fight excuses not to exercise. A personal trainer will instruct you on safe uses of exercise equipment and will observe your form as you exercise. It is great to have a trainer who pushes you to do your very best and gives you positive feedback on your performance.
Schedule an Exercise Class. Increase your motivation by joining a group exercise class. These sessions shout encouragement that are seen and heard in the studio. Classes don’t just offer physical benefits, but also allow socializing with other group participants who share similar goals. Uplifting music, an instructor with a positive attitude and good people can make working out fun! It may take a few classes to find the right one for you, but once you do you won’t want to quit.
Getting fit after 50 is not only possible, it’s critically important to health and wellness. Once you get motivated and start achieving even the smallest of goals I am sure you will be hooked. Not only will you stop dreading the work, you will find yourself embracing the journey. You will feel strong, empowered and successful!
This post has more great fitness motivation tips:
Losing Weight After 50: Am I Too Fat to Exercise in Public?