Many of us share the same love/hate relationship with fitness and exercise. We know that working out has many great benefits (both physically and mentally) but we either lack the motivation to work out, or can’t seem to find the time to do it. No matter where you are in your fitness journey, you’ll probably experience times where you feel less motivated than others. For me, it happens in winter. It’s totally normal, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pick yourself back up again and get back into it. If you’re in the middle of a gym slump, give these simple motivation tips to help you kick yourself into gear again.

1. Find something you actually enjoy

Not everyone loves hitting the weights room or running, and that’s totally fine. There are plenty of ways to get fit that don’t involve pumping iron or pounding the pavement. Instead of forcing yourself to do something you don’t enjoy, why not try out a group fitness class at your local gym, or using a class booking app like Classpass? This is an excellent way to work out what type of exercise you enjoy, without having to commit to anything long-term. By experimenting with different types of workouts, you may discover that you love going to dance classes, or that you’re a total boss in the boxing ring. Exercise isn’t meant to feel like a punishment and the more you enjoy what you’re doing, the more likely you are to actually stick to it.

2. Find a workout partner

Let’s face it, going to the gym alone can suck. So, why not grab one of your friends and make the commitment to work out together? Not only will it make working out more entertaining, but you can help keep each other accountable. After all, you’re much less likely to skip that 6 am gym sesh if you know your friend is there waiting for you!

If you don’t want to go to the gym, the two of you could always head over to YouTube and do some home workouts. Either way, you’re getting your bodies moving, and exchanging some laughs with a friend. Sounds like a win/win to us!

3. Plan your workouts

 One of the biggest fitness barriers is not having the time to work out. But often, what actually happens is that we try to overcommit ourselves. Take a realistic look at your schedule, and life commitments, and figure out what days/times you can actually commit to working out. Grab your phone and set a recurring reminder so that you don’t forget about your appointment. It’s also helpful to set a reminder perhaps the day before to make sure you don’t forget. If you plan to hit the gym in the early morning, setting out your gym clothes the night before or even sleeping in them can make it much easier to actually get out of bed as you won’t have to think too much.

4. Start slow

Starting slow is especially important if you’ve been away from the gym for a while. Easing into your workout regime will help stop you becoming overwhelmed or worse, injuring yourself, by trying to do too much too soon. It’s a good idea to start with short workouts (even if you just commit to a 15-minute walk each day) and gradually increase your workout time as you get back into the habit of working out.

5. Set goals for yourself

We know it’s easy to get caught up in all those images of super fit, super toned people on Instagram. But don’t feel like you have to hold yourself to these unrealistic standards. Remember, fitness is a marathon, not a sprint and you’re only competing against yourself. Set realistic goals for yourself based on what you are looking to achieve and give yourself the necessary time to reach your goals. It can often be more motivating to set yourself performance-based goals (for example, do 5 bodyweight push-ups or run 5 km non-stop) than purely physical, like ‘lose 5 kg in a month.’

Remember, everyone has to start somewhere and it’s okay to have periods of time where you need a bit of a push. By using these simple motivation tips, you can kickstart your fitness regime again at any time and get back on track with your fitness goals.