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Motivation: How I Motivate Myself To Exercise

Updated on April 3, 2013


Setting rules is a good way to motivate yourself. One of the reasons I exercise a lot is because I created some rules. The first was that I only go to the beach if I ride my bike there. I like going to the beach and I like going to different beaches. So this rule has resulted in a lot of exercise. It is the main reason I have large hard calf muscles and I don't have a lot of body fat. Since the beaches are far away I also need to exercise when it is too cold to go to the beach so I am fit enough to bike to the beaches in the warm weather. When it is too cold to bike I run or jump rope. There is a big store within walking distance of my house. I made it a rule that I would always walk to the store and back when possible instead of driving.

Another rule that gives me a reason to work out is that I can only watch TV if I am exercising or have exercised for at least an hour. I either exercise before watching TV or while I am watching TV. Before making the rule I planned to exercise but most of the time I ended up spending too much time on the couch. After the rule I was exercising every day and spending very little time on the couch. I like playing video games. To get me to exercise more I made a rule that during the work week I can only play motion controlled games that provide me with some exercise.

I got a Wii so I could play games and be active at the same time. Most nights I exercise while I watch TV and I get some more exercise when I play video games. It is easy to make up rules and I never had any trouble following them. I just pair the rule with something that I would do anyway. The exercise becomes a habit just like watching TV.

Before and after.
Before and after. | Source

Keeping Track Of Your Progress

Just because you are putting in the time does not mean you are getting a lot of exercise. Making rules is enough to get me to exercise but it is not enough to get me to put a lot of effort into it. To put some real effort into it I need another form of motivation. Taking pictures, measuring yourself and testing your limits is a good way to motivate yourself to try harder. It is natural to want to improve but most people stop at wanting.

When you are already exercising anyway it is natural to want to see progress. I exercise almost every day and since I am putting in the time I want to see results. That motivates me to do more. Keep track of your progress. It can motivate you to give your body a great workout. I check my progress every day. A lack of progress means I need to change my exercises or try harder. I don't weight myself or measure myself every day. That is something I do every week. However I always pay close attention to how well I can perform the exercises and how hard the exercises are on my muscles.

I want to do that.
I want to do that. | Source

Other People

There are a lot of people that look like they are in great shape. I see them on TV, in movies, on the internet and occasionally in real life. Seeing people in peak physical condition motivates me to put more effort into it. I see what they have accomplished and it makes me want to exercise so I can look more like them. When you see someone with a great body it can motivate you to exercise more. This type of motivation is not usually enough by itself but it can add to your other motivations to exercise.

Watching other people exercising can be inspiring. I saw some people rollerblading in the park and it made me want to do it. I saw people doing handstand push-ups. Now I want to do handstand push-ups.

Sometimes I do an exercise just because I saw someone doing it. Hearing about people that can do much more than I can also motivates me to exercise. If you don't see people exercising on a regular basis try looking for them. You can easily find exercise videos and pictures on the internet. I watch people exercising and look at pictures while I am using the internet.

Power And Control

Most people like to fantasies about having a different life. One of the reasons video games are popular is because people can pretend they are someone else. That someone else usually has a much better body than the person playing the game. People like to play as strong, good looking people. The games can give people a feeling of power and control. People also like TV shows and movies with strong good looking people.

In the real world exercise can give me a feeling of power and control. I am motivated to exercise because I like to feel powerful and I like to be in control. It allows me to do exciting things. Exercise can even cause me to become a different person by changing my body and my personality. In games and movies a lot of the excitement comes from acts of violence but they also do a lot of non violent things. If you exercise enough you can kayak down a river, climb a mountain, ski, explore places few people have seen, etc. It gives you more freedom to do what you want.

Women playing volleyball.
Women playing volleyball. | Source


There are times when I exercise just because I enjoy the activity. I will go for a walk in the woods or along a beach because it is fun and relaxing. I will also play badminton or volleyball just for fun. In those cases I am mainly motivated by the fact that I think I will enjoy the experience. There are lots of ways to get exercise. Some are boring, some are painful and some of them are fun. Besides enjoying the experience I also like how it makes me feel. It can tire me out and make me feel sore but at the same time it can make me feel good. I will exercise to entertain myself or to reduce stress.

You can entertain yourself while sitting in a chair or on a couch but most fun activities involve moving your body. Thinking of fun things to do can motivate you to get up and do something.


It is natural for people to want to accomplish something. They don't want to feel like they are just losing time that they are not going to get back. Some days I feel like I barely accomplished anything. Then I exercise and accomplish a lot. Not only can I accomplish specific tasks like running 12 miles but I can also change my body. As time is passing me by I am motivated to exercise because I want to accomplish something.


I exercise almost every day because I am highly motivated and I am highly motivated because I motivate myself. There are reason to exercise and there are reasons not to exercise. Having multiple reasons to exercise allows me to overcome the resistance. If you have a reason to exercise but it is not enough then find more reasons.



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