You know you need to work out, but you’re having trouble getting up the enthusiasm. How do you find motivation to exercise when you just don’t feel like getting off your butt? I ask myself this question every now and then, and I have the feeling I’m not the only one.
There are a million ways to motivate yourself to exercise, actually, but these are a few that have worked for me.
Have fun. If you hate running, don’t go to the track for exercise. Find something you like. The list of different kinds of exercises are nearly endless. The only really important thing is to get your body moving and your heart rate up.
- How you feel after a workout. I always feel great after a good workout. It’s a high. And I let that motivate me the next time.
- Calories burned. If you count calories (and it’s really one of the most effective ways to lose weight), you know that the more you exercise, the more calories you burn — and the bigger your calorie deficit.
- How you’re going to look. Imagine a slimmer, fitter you. Now let that visualization drive you.
- Change it up. Even if you have a routine you enjoy, mix it up from time to time. Try entirely different exercises. You can check out a tape at the library and try yoga or kick boxing for an afternoon. This will not only keep you interested, it will break your muscles out of their routine and help produce better results.
- Get a buddy. Exercising with a friend introduces a positive kind of peer pressure. You will be more likely to go to the gym if you know someone is waiting there for you. Talking and laughing while exercising will also keep you from being bored.
- An exercise log/graph. For some reason, writing it down is extremely important. Really. Do it for a week and you’ll see what I mean.
- Get appropriate clothing. If you don’t have the appropriate clothes for the excercise, it can be irritating, uncomfortable, frustrating, or even unsafe. If you exercise outside after dusk, be sure you have reflective clothing to prevent traffic accidents. Also be sure the clothing looks nice; if you don’t like the way your clothing looks, you may feel uncomfortable, and less likely to exercise.
- Pack Ahead of Time: An iPod, athletic shoes, a towel… whatever. Walking around the house trying to find stuff is a good time to lose your resolve. Put everything together in your gym bag. When you finish working out, take out things that need to be laundered and replace them immediately.
- Have a Goal. What do you want to achieve? Make it specific, make it meaningful, make it obtainable. Be sure to have short-term benchmarks along the way. It’s OK to change your goals if the original plan doesn’t work, but have a goal. Regularly evaluate how you are doing on your goals.
- Success stories. I find the success stories of others incredibly inspirational. If a fitness website has success stories, I’ll almost always read them.
- Reward Yourself. Have a healthy reward when you reach a goal. Buy yourself that cute pair of bike shorts. Go for a weekend hiking tri. Soak in the sauna for your “workout” that day. Buy a new yoga video. Whatever works for you to celebrate in line with your healthy lifestyle!