Whether you’re already in decent shape or you have extra pounds to shed, a rippling set of six-pack abs can feel like a lofty goal and doing crunches and situps repeatedly day after day can become tedious after a while. It’s easy to feel like giving up and deciding a washboard stomach just isn’t for you. Staying motivated enough to push yourself past the inevitable low points in your workout plan is essential to achieving the abs you’ve always wanted.
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Change your perspective. Instead of thinking of your workouts as a difficult chore, think of them as a gift to yourself. Not only can they help you look better and become more fit, but they can also give you some "me time" that can help you relieve stress and clear your head.
Set realistic goals. Although getting ripped like Jillian Michaels or Channing Tatum might be your ultimate goal, set yourself up for success by creating short-term, achievable goals such as working out three times a week or losing one inch off your waist. Goals like these can function as milestones to help you measure your success along the way.
Add variety. Instead of just doing crunches over and over, take fitness classes that incorporate ab workouts. Alternate standard crunches with Pilates and yoga and use the ab machines at the gym. This can help ensure that all of your ab muscles get worked and help you avoid a plateau. It can also help to keep you from getting bored or burned out.
Make your workouts a social activity. Working out with a friend or with a group can help you stay accountable and make your workouts more fun.
Reward yourself each time you reach a milestone. Splurge on a non-food treat, such as a spa day, a massage or a new gadget you’ve had your eye on. Share your successes with friends and family who can cheer you on and help you feel good about your achievements.
Stay focused. Extrinsic motivation can only go so far, according to Jessica Matthews, MS, E-RYT, at the American Council on Exercise. For long-term motivation, work on building positive associations with your workout, such as how good it makes you feel afterwards. Visualize the end result of all your efforts to help you keep reaching for your end goal. Read success stories and motivational quotes and look at before and after pictures of people with a six-pack stomach.