Having a big goal is a smart idea, of course, but when you’re trying to encourage yourself to push through those last few sets, it may be more helpful to chase super small, specific accomplishments instead. Think: “I’ll sprint to that tree,” versus “I want to beat my personal best 5K time” or even “I have to finish five intervals today.” That way, you don’t risk feeling (mentally) exhausted before you even start.
Stare Straight Ahead
Literally. A study published in the journal Motivation and Emotion reported that participants who narrowly focused their sights on a specific target were able to run faster while feeling less tired. So after telling yourself you’ll “sprint to that tree,” put your blinders on and stare at only that tree, and you’ll be rewarded with a burst of energy and power.
You may feel a little silly, but training your phone’s video camera on yourself while you work out will give you that sense of accountability you’re missing out on by not having a trainer or buddy at your side. Plus, playing back the video later can help you spot mistakes in your form that you might normally ignore.
Stick to a Program
There are two motivating things about training programs: First, they tell you exactly what to do, eliminating the mid-workout stall you can sometimes fall into, and second, they provide measurable results. Training programs are designed to help you lift heavier or move faster. If you stick to it, you’ll generally be setting PRs every week or so. Luckily, there are lots of qualified expert-backed training plans to get you going.