This article first appeared on Mind Body Green.
There’s no doubt about it: working out alone is tough.
But the truth is that it’s not always possible to work out with a trainer, in a group, or even with a friend. So how do you stay motivated to keep working out and keep challenging yourself when there’s no one there to force you to do it?
Here are five simple tricks you can use to keep motivated, even when you work out alone:
1. Keep a workout log.
The easiest way to do this is to keep track of your workout frequency, progress made and any measurements you care about such as your weight, body fat percentage and your waist size. Then, when you need a little motivation boost, all you have to do is go back and look through your old workouts to know that all your hard work is paying off.
2. Make a schedule. (And stick to it!)
How many days a week do you really want to work out? Three? Four? Five? Do you want to do high intensity interval training (HIIT) three days a week, and yoga two days a week? Get really clear on this first, then go ahead and actually schedule your workouts in your calendar—just as you would any other appointment.
3. Create trackable goals.
When you work out by yourself, there’s no one there to encourage you to push through one more rep, to run a little faster, to jump a little higher. That’s why creating personal goals is so important when you work out alone.
Goals can be anything, whether small or big—maybe you have a goal of doing 20 burpees in a row without stopping, or to run in a half marathon next spring. Whatever your goals, make sure they’re trackable (i.e. more specific than just to “lose weight”), and always remember to record your progress along the way.
Having a goal in mind can help push you through that tough workout even on days when you’d rather be doing anything else.
4. Find a virtual community.
Just because you can’t physically work out with others doesn’t mean you can’t find a support community of like-minded people with similar goals to help keep you on track with your workouts.
Whether it’s a group of people in your neighborhood you meet with once a month to help encourage each other, an online community or forum, or even just social media, having others there to share your struggles and successes can give you a huge motivational boost.
5. Reward yourself.
At the end of the day, when you’re struggling to find that last bit of motivation to lace up your training shoes and get moving, a reward might be the only thing that gets you off the couch and in workout mode.
And while you shouldn’t make it a habit to eat a piece of cake every time you finish a workout, giving yourself a worthwhile reward every time you reach a milestone or hit a goal can be a huge motivator.
This could be a nice dinner out, new workout shoes you’ve been eyeing, even a massage—just make sure you want the reward badly enough to keep working toward your goal, day after day.
And remember, 80% of success is showing up. So get out there and crush your workouts. You can do it—you just have to believe in yourself.