Workout Motivation: How to Maintain the Motivation to Work Out
We’ve all done it – promised ourselves we will start working out… tomorrow. We’ll even go so far as to buy the cute shoes, the personal weights and the trendiest new exercise DVD sets, only to watch them build dust in the corner from our cozy perch on the couch. We all know that getting and staying in shape is a huge factor in living a long and healthy life, yet still we struggle to find the motivation to lace up those shoes and get moving. So what is the secret to convincing yourself to work out, not only tomorrow, but also the day after that, then the day after that, for life?
Here are some tricks you can use to get and stay motivated:
Find the right workout for you. If you are already struggling to make yourself exercise, choosing a workout you absolutely cannot stand will make matters even worse. There are tons of exercise options for you to explore, so test them out until you find something that you find appealing. If you thrive in social atmospheres, search for group classes in your area like cycling, yoga or Zumba. If you’d rather die than have others see you shake your sweaty thang in spandex, cut yourself a break and do your working out at home. Before investing in major equipment, experiment with DVDs available at your local stores. There are many fun DVD options on store shelves today, including ones that feature still-in-progress participants if you find watching super fit models demoralizing. Also try searching online for free or low cost subscriptions to workout videos. The internet has become an excellent resource for fitness lessons, able to be accessed from the comfort of your home. If nature is what gets you going, try opting for something outdoors like biking, jogging or hiking. The fresh air will fill you with life and invigorate you to keep moving.
Schedule a set workout time. We all lead increasingly busy lives and finding the time to brush your teeth in the morning may be difficult, let alone finding the time to work out. You may wake up determined to exercise before the end of the day and find yourself ready for bed before you’ve even remembered to hit the gym. Here is the thing – we have to make time for what is important to us. That may mean setting the alarm clock 30 minutes earlier or spending your lunch break jogging around the block. Whatever it means for you, committing to a specific time to exercise every day will both help to keep you from forgetting to do it and turn your working out into a habit.
Force yourself to do five minutes. When that alarm clock goes off before you are ready or your favorite TV show looks more appealing than your workout DVD, force yourself to exercise for just five minutes. You will be surprised how quickly your heart gets pumping and will find yourself working out longer than five more often than not.
Begin to think of your workout time as an indulgence. Instead of focusing on the agony you feel while working out, consider it your “me time,” a quiet escape from the rest of the world. Exercise is great for letting out steam and relieving stress, benefitting both your body and soul. As your body strengthens, you will find yourself energized by your workouts, and wanting to come back for more.
Put away the scale. This may seem counterintuitive, but if you are the type of person who gets discouraged by the numbers, weighing in can actually be detrimental to your progress. If you find the scale makes you want to give up, put it away for a while. Focus instead on how good you feel as your body grows stronger and you have more energy. Have fun noticing your clothes fit differently as your body responds positively to your work.
Reward yourself for doing well, and forgive yourself when you have slipped. Treat yourself when you meet mini goals to motivate you further. Avoid splurging on things that will hinder your progress (my friend and I used to seriously reward ourselves with a trip to the local ice cream shop after every run), and choose rewards that will encourage improvement instead, like a new tennis racket or a dress that shows off your newly toned arms. When you slip – and you will – don’t beat yourself up. Doing so will only make you want to curl up on the couch with a bag full of chips and give up. Forgive yourself for being merely human and refocus on trying again… today. Not tomorrow. Because today is the only day we truly have to change.