Motivate Yourself to Exercise: Tips and Advice
Follow Through on Your Fitness Goals
Maybe its the New Year, or maybe its just time to make a new year for yourself. You've finally set some fitness goals, but how do you motivate yourself to exercise?
Not only do you have to make time to exercise, its important to find positive ways to encourage yourself to do so. With busy lives and so many competing demands, you probably need help to motivate yourself to exercise.
Those that are starting a new fitness regime should talk to their doctor first to make sure they are healthy enough to start working out. Once you get the green light, its time to set some realistic goals that have less to do with the size of your clothes or the number on the scale and more to do with how you feel and the things you are able to do.
Instead of the goal to lose 20 pounds, why not work towards getting more restful sleep at least 5 days a week (hint - exercise will help with that!) Maybe you'll try to do 10 push-ups within 30 days? Take the stairs at your apartment carrying bags of groceries?
After you establish your fitness goals, you can start working towards them. Now, let's get you motivated!
Motivate Yourself to Exercise: Visual Motivation
Visual motivation is more than just putting up old, slender photographs of yourself on your mirror to get you going in the morning (though that might help, too!) In order to keep my motivation high, right from the start of the day, I have my gym clothes and shoes set out the night before. That way, I can grab them quickly before an early spin class or run.
If I am going to take an exercise class later in the day, I will pack my gym bag before heading to bed. I include a protein bar or banana and a water bottle. And I never forget my iPod (tunes are critical!)
Not only will visual motivation help you start your day off right, but you'll soon find yourself in the routine of exercising when you make it easy on yourself. Once you are in stride with an exercise plan, the motivation is practically secondary.
Give yourself at least 30 days to establish a new routine for yourself and break old habits of excuses not to exercise. Getting organized the night before by laying out your exercise clothes or packing your gym bag will help minimize excuses (and stress) associated with establishing your new routine.
Increase Your Exercise Motivation
Motivate Yourself to Exercise: Goal Motivation
Setting goals, that is, figuring out what you want to get out of a new fitness regime is a very important part to help motivate yourself to exercise.
First, pick a timeline - most experts would say setting a minimum of 6 months to accomplish your goals. Afterwards, set a realistic, attainable goal.
Consider these goal options:
1. I want to reduce my blood sugar levels to normal levels
2. I hope to finish a 1/2 marathon
3. I would like to take 2 inches off my waist
4. I want to feel happier and more rested
5. I hope to gain muscle definition
6. I want to feel stronger and more confident
If you are already working out, you might want to add some more ambitious goals:
1. I want to finish a 100-mile bicycle ride
2. I hope to run a 10K with a sub-9:00 minute mile pace
3. I want to complete a sprint distance triathlon
4. It would be great to set a personal record (PR) for my next race
5. I'd love to qualify for the Boston Marathon!
Keep Yourself Motivated to Exercise
Motivate Yourself to Exercise: Self-Rewards
Let's face it. You know you need to exercise for good health. There are a million reasons to get out there and move your body, but the biggest potential stumbling block is you.
That's right - your own negative thoughts can quickly sabotage your best intentions. So, instead of listening to the nay-sayer in your head, why not use a carrot, rather than a stick approach?
Self-rewards can be a great motivator. My best results have come from setting a short-term goal, like exercise 4 times in one week, or run 80 miles in a month. When I get there, I allow myself to celebrate with a fitting reward. Maybe its a pedicure, or a massage. Perhaps its a day of sleeping in (no exercise!) What ever you choose, be sure to enjoy the reward to its fullest, and then set a new goal to work towards.
Start replacing the quick, unhealthy "pick-me-ups" like a doughnut or a trip to the movies with more energizing rewards, including new mP3 files or a great pair of running shoes.
Motivate Yourself to Exercise: Health-related Benefits
Yes, you know that exercise is good for your heath. But when you find your motivation waning, consider this list of potential health-related benefits of working out:
- Stronger, more stable joints
- Longer life
- Lower blood pressure
- More restful sleep
- Higher metabolism (less weight gain)
- Happier mood - nothing like endorphins!
- Reduced complications of diseases including diabetes and heart disease
- More productive days at home and and work
- Better health = lower co-pays and health insurance costs
- Ability to keep up with your kids
- Relatively inexpensive entertainment
- A great excuse to get together with friends
How Do You Motivate Yourself to Exercise?
© 2010 Stephanie Hicks