How to Muster Up Motivation to Exercise Daily
Whether doing yoga or crossfit; walking or training for a marathon, exercising daily has phenomenal benefits to your health, both mentally and physically.
Professional athletes may be motivated by money, coaches, and fans, but what about those of us whom do not have a trainer or coach keeping us on schedule or that do not have an obligation to others to maintain our athleticism? How do we find the motivation to exercise daily, especially with such busy lifestyles?
Below are ten ways to stay motivated to reach your goal!
- Picture yourself healthy! Post a picture of yourself at a happy moment in your life - when you were healthy; a favorite picture in which you just look that good. Post it on the bathroom mirror. Find another picture of someone from a fitness magazine or website (like Jilian Michaels or Bob Harper). Make sure that it is not a supermodel; it must be someone healthy and physically fit, not just thin. Post that picture in your closet, on your dresser, or on your nightstand - somewhere that you may not look multiple times a day, but maybe once or twice. This picture is just a reminder, like a ribbon on your finger. Picturing yourself healthy - thinking healthy - will help to change your mindset, and -as a result- help keep you motivated. Keep that end goal in mind, and within reach!
- Encourage yourself! If you have a treadmill or exercise room in the house, buy a corkboard and put it directly in front of where you exercise. On that corkboard, write yourself notes, like "You can do it!" or "It comes down to a simple question: 'What do you want in life, and what are you willing to do to get it?" Make the words on the notes big enough so that you can read them, and do just that: read them. Put some notes on your desk at work, in your wallet, and on the visor in your car. Post some "I love you's" to yourself anywhere and everywhere that you can. Have your children, friends, coworkers, family members, and/or spouse write you encouraging notes. Do the same thing with those; display them proudly and somewhere for you to read many times throughout the day.
- Be true to yourself. Know what you can do. If you had knee surgery last year, Romanian dead lifts will probably not be included in your workout. Do not push yourself beyond your physical means. With that said, push yourself, yes. Just make sure to work out safely. If you hurt yourself - even slightly - you will be less likely to continue your workout routine. With that said, make sure to stretch!
- Keep it simple; be realistic. If you have not run in years, expecting to cross the finish line of a marathon in just a few weeks is not realistic. Create simple, small goals, like "exercising every day". Try not to put too much pressure on yourself by being detailed, like "running 4 miles every day after doing 30 minutes of yoga". Yes, that is a great goal, but you are more likely to stick to something if it does not sound overwhelming, and if you are actually able to accomplish it! Keep it simple and within your immediate reach!
- Make it fun! If you hate running because you find it boring, change your scenery. Go to the beach or a park. Change your playlist, or add one if you normally run without music. If you tire easily, change your pace. Try running for a few minutes, and then walking for a couple of minutes. I find it fun to change my pace according to the music that I am listening to. If the song/beat picks up, so do I! Watch television or read a book or magazine while you are on the elliptical or lifting weights. Getting your mind off of the clock will usually help you to exercise longer, and to not dread the work out. If you ran yesterday, do yoga or pilates today. Change it up; keep it interesting!
- Challenge yourself. If you did wall sits for one minute yesterday, do it for ninety seconds today. Up the ante to keep yourself motivated and your head in the game. If you lose that desire or creativity to challenge yourself, ask your children, spouse, or friends to create small challenges for you. Have them write down challenges on a piece of paper. Cut each challenge out, fold it, and place it in a shoebox. Every morning, pick one out, and do it! Challenge yourself to various exercise workouts - you have no one to answer to but yourself!
- End the excuses. We all have done it... "I'm too tired to go for a run," or "I will work out extra tomorrow instead." One excuse is all that it takes to break your routine and motivation. End the excuses once and for all! Hold yourself accountable, and repeat steps one and two. Love yourself, keep the goal in mind, and change your mindset! Challenge yourself in that if you use an excuse, do twenty push-ups or lunges. Mark any missed work outs on your calendar. That way, you do not forget that you put yourself a day behind in reaching your goal. It will be something that you see daily, as a reminder that you are the only person that can reach your goal!
- Partner up! Grab a buddy. Having someone to work out with will help keep you entertained, will push the both of you, and will keep you accountable. Make a pact to be supportive and encouraging, and to keep each other honest. Make concrete exercise plans. Work out together, whether at the gym, walking around the office, or at home. Take the kids for walks together, play a sport in a league, or try zumba classes. Doing things together that require partners will add extra incentive to keep going day after day. How can you play racquetball or tennis without a partner?
- Get your doctor involved. During your routine examination, ask the doctor to give you the full rundown on your health. How are your cholesterol and blood pressure? How about your weight? Ask your doctor to give you a few health goals, such as lowering your cholesterol or consuming more potassium (no, this may not directly motivate you to exercise, but eating healthy translates into being healthy). Keep your test scores (from blood tests and such) handy, and refer to it every few days. Having the cold, hard truth is sometimes motivation in itself.
- Set your alarm! Put a daily reminder in your phone and on your calendar. Remind yourself to exercise every way that you possibly can. Make it somewhat annoying and obvious. It will take effort to ignore the alarm/reminder, which will you make you think about exercising. If you are exercising early in the morning, set an alarm to go off a few minutes before you really want to; give yourself a chance to recover from hitting "snooze".
Finding motivation is not difficult, but staying motivated is. Try not to get caught up in a monotonous relationship with exercising. Remain challenged, excited, and refreshed! Do not hesitate to try new activities and sports. Most all of, be kind to yourself, and patient. Do not give up and do not punish yourself if you miss a workout. You can start your day over at any time! Be the best version of you!