Consistently Exercising as a College Graduate

Felicia Atkinson

Tips for staying motivated.
A person planking.Minna Hamalainen/Unsplash

In July of 2020, I graduated from college and retired as an athlete. I had been a runner and basketball player for years, and all of a sudden it was gone in a blink of an eye.

With these sports I played for years growing up, I had set schedules for each of them. Basketball practice was set for 2 hours after school, and even if I didn’t feel like going on a particular day, I still had to attend.

That’s not the case anymore. No one is forcing me to go to practice or to workout at all. While this has its advantages, it also has its drawbacks. Now you have to find the motivation yourself to stay consistent with working out.

While it may not always be easy, there are a few things that I do that have allowed me to stay motivated to workout despite no longer being a traditional athlete anymore. Here they are.

Find exercises you enjoy

This first tip is key, because if you start working out by doing exercises that you greatly dislike, it will only be that much harder for you to stick with them.

For me, I love running. It has always been something I enjoy doing, and it hasn’t changed since. Running makes me feel good, and it’s something that I don’t have to force myself to do.

Every morning, I go for a run. It has been something I’ve done for years, which is why it isn’t too difficult for me to continue doing.

While it’s important to do different exercises that target different muscle groups, if you’re only doing exercises that you don’t like at all, then it will be incredibly more difficult to stick to a routine.

Some of my favorite exercises include:

  • running
  • weight lifting
  • biking
  • swimming
  • walking/hiking

There are so many different workouts that you can choose from. Find exercises that you enjoy doing, and it will greatly help your chances of staying consistent with them.

Choose the right environment to workout in

Some people can workout in their living room with no problem at all. They grab their equpiment and get their workout done with time to spare. Others, however, have more difficulty staying focused and getting in a good workout.

This next piece of advice is to find the perfect space for you to workout in where you’ll be most productive. For me, I prefer going somewhere to workout — whether that be outside for a run, or to an actual gym. The only exercises I like doing in my living room are core exercises.

Whenever I go for a run, I try and find a running trail or somewhere nice to run. Part of the reason I enjoy running so much is because running in nature surrounded by birds, rivers, and scenic routes greatly improves my mood.

Places to workout:

  • outside
  • gym
  • house
  • with friends

Set goals and keep track of your progress

As a former athlete, goal-setting is ingrained in my brain. I have set goals for years, and I continue to set goals to this day. For me, if I’m not working towards something, it can feel uneventful.

I like to set goals with my workouts so that I have something to shoot for. Maybe that’s running 4 miles every day for a week, or lifting at least twice a week in addition to running. Setting goals helps keep me on track, and it makes me more motivated to reach them.

According to Psychology Today,

“goal-setting helps motivate athletes, entrepreneurs, and individuals to achieve at higher levels of difficulty.”

Take five minutes at the beginning of each week and set a few goals for yourself. It might help more than you think.

Fitness is something I’m deeply passionate about, but with work and extraccuriculars, it can be difficult at times to find the time or motivation to workout. I’ve been there many times before, but there are a few things that always help me stay on track.

Doing exercises you enjoy, choosing the right environment to work out in, and setting goals each week are a few things that I do that work for me, and they’re things that you might want to try out yourself. If you’re struggling with staying motivated and consistent with your workouts, changing things up is never a bad idea.

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I'm an avid runner and a passionate vegan. I enjoy writing about food, work, productivity, health, fitness, and more!

Raleigh, NC

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