How to Find the Motivation to Exercise: 10 Ideas to Keep You Going
1. Schedule it: Date, time and duration, goal for workout
You have a busy life and less enjoyable activities are put on the back burner. How to fix this? Just like you schedule work, taking the kids to football practice and other recurring activities, enter workout sessions in your weekly planner. Be specific, plan the exact day, time, and the goal for each workout. For example: Tuesday 12/20/2016, 45 minutes of full body strength training followed by 10 minutes of stretching.
2. Reward yourself for being consistent
So you are scheduling workouts and completing them. Good job! You deserve a reward for being consistent. Set a goal, then choose a reward that is a real treat for you (e.g. a massage or a trip to your favorite destination). Say you complete every planned session for a week or two weeks in a row - time to treat yo’self!
3. Go with a buddy – but only if they are motivated
After a day at the office you are feeling tired and there is nothing you want more than to put your feet up and have a beer while watching your favorite Netflix show. But you have a gym date with your buddy and you don’t want to be a flake. Having a workout buddy is a great way to stay accountable to your workouts (and friends). However, don’t let a flaky friend ruin your exercise schedule. If they turn out to be less than reliable, trim the fat, so to speak.
4. Track your progress
Before you start your fitness journey, snap a few shots of your current physique. Then, as time goes by take new pictures wearing the same, or a similar, outfit. If you have kept consistent with a solid routine you should be able to see results within the first month. If you have already started and don’t have any “before”-pictures it's not too late to start. Continue taking pictures every month and use them as workout inspiration for your vision board.
5. Eyes on the prize: Vision board
Make a vision board where you write down your specific fitness goals and include some pictures you find inspirational, including your own progress pictures. Any time you feel like skipping a workout, have a look at your vision board and remember why you started your fitness journey.
6. Incorporate exercise in other activities: Walk or ride your bike to work
There are certain things you must do in a day. Unless you work from home (in which case, lucky you!) you must get to work somehow. If you live within walking distance, consider walking to work at least a few days of the week (schedule this as you would any other workout). If your work is not within walking distance, consider riding your bike. I ride my bike to train most of my clients and I use a cycling app on those trips. I feel motivated seeing the distance covered, calories burned, and of course trying to beat my previous time.
Have a dog? Spend some quality time with your canine companion by taking him or her for a long walk or hike. It’s good for both of you.
Tired of listening to whatever the gym decides to play that day? Bring your own music player loaded with tunes that keep you pumped.
8. The majority of your workouts should be activities you enjoy
Making exercise enjoyable is a key to consistency. The bulk of your workouts should be activities you enjoy and look forward to. Keep in mind, if you’re a cardio bunny don’t skip your resistance training, and if you prefer lifting don’t eliminate cardio from your repertoire. Which brings us to the next point:
For anyone who wants to improve their overall physical fitness, a well-rounded workout plan will consist of multiple forms of exercise to facilitate improvement in strength, endurance, body fat composition, and flexibility. This will not only ensure that your overall fitness improves, but also keep your workouts from getting stale and boring.
10. Hire a personal trainer
Just as with a workout buddy, you won’t flake out knowing someone will be at the gym waiting for you. A competent trainer will be on time and prepared for each workout. As the training is completely focused on your individual goals, you don’t have to worry about exercise planning, all you have to do is show up and follow the trainer’s instructions. If you have good chemistry with your trainer and the trainer keeps the workouts varied and interesting, that may be all the motivation you need to keep going.