You made a New Years Resolution to get in shape, you signed up to the gym went a few times and then you stopped. It happens. Now's the time to get back to the gym.
No matter what your motivation for going to the gym, it's important to turn regular exercise into a habit. Lapses in the past aren't an excuse to stop you from trying to build those habits again and get back into shape.
You want to work out, but when the gym is so packed that every machine and bench are taken you need all the self-control to not say, "Screw it!" and kick something on your way out. Don't worry. You might not get the workout you planned for, but with a little ingenuity, you can still get a good one.
Work With A Personal Trainer
Personal trainers can help you build a routine, work within your limits and correct your form.
A good personal trainer doesn't just motivate you to workout when you're there, they motivate you to get to the gym in the first place. After all, if you've made an appointment with someone you should show up.
The one-on-one style of working out isn't for everyone. Most gyms offer regular classes for everything from yoga to high-intensity interval training. Having a class you're committed to going to every week keeps you going back again and again.
Your classmates can help give you social motivation to keep coming back too. Start chatting with people before or after the class to make friends and they will fast become your reason to make it every week.
Dear Lifehacker, I recently joined up at the gym (again) and had a few regular weeks of working out, until other things seemed to get in the way of going consistently, and now I haven't gone in three weeks! How can I stay motivated to keep going after the initial thrill is gone? From Gym Junkie Wannabee
Set Achievable Goals
One of the simplest motivational tricks is to give yourself achievable goals and then - once you reach them - set a new goal. Setting a benchmark gives you a clear direction to head towards. Achieving that benchmark is gratifying.
Feeling out of breath on the treadmill after ten minutes? Set a goal to jog for fifteen minutes and work your way up to it. Doing deadlifts? Set a weight goal and safely work towards it.
Even when you're just starting out (again) the simplest goal of completing a full routine can be deeply satisfying.
Your gym culture can often make or break your fitness experience, so it's important that you go to one that suits you. There's a reason CrossFit appeals to so many fitness first-timers and veterans alike. It's more of a community than it is a place where you splash around in a puddle of your own sweat.
Be Social And Just Go
Terry Crews recommends treating the gym like a spa. Just making a consistent effort to get to the gym and treating it as a pleasant, social experience builds up the habit of going to the gym. Once you're at the gym, you might as well work out.
Alternatively you can drag a friend along as a workout buddy. Using each other as mutual motivation is a great way to make sure you're going to the gym. Just don't use your buddy's inability to make it as an excuse not to go.
Habits are hard to form. Don't become demotivated if you've missed a few trips to the gym. Use them as a reason to be better and try again.