I understand that I’m one of the lucky few who actually likes to work out. I crave it. I need it. Without, I go a bit batty. But I know that for most of the population, I’m in the minority. Working out is a chore. Another to-do on a looong list of items. Hell, the word “work” is in it. But there are some easy yet specific ways to motivate yourself to exercise. Do these for a few months, and then hopefully you’ll get bitten by the workout-loving bug just like we have! (And once you do, oh, how the world opens up…)
How to Motivate Yourself to Exercise
1. Put on your cutest workout apparel and your springiest shoes. Sometimes just putting on the right gear can help you go from workout motivation zero to hero. So put on the good stuff that makes you feel extra cute, and lace up those running shoes. It simply feels weird to just sit around in stuff you’re supposed to move in. So, for us, this simple act actually gets us moving!
2. Set a big freakin’ goal that slightly freaks you out. One way to motivate yourself to exercise? Set a goal that’s big and public. Obviously you want your goal to be reachable (remember those SMART goals?), but you also want it to be one that you can’t procrastinate or slack on. Sign up for a 5K or a longer race like a half or full marathon. Tell your friends, co-workers and family about. Have someone to be accountable to, and it’s amazing the kind of workout-motivation fire you’ll start under your fit bottom!
3. Promise yourself something once you’re done. And we don’t mean chocolate cake! Be sure to give yourself regular non-food rewards like a new magazine, a long, hot bath, a massage—anything that feels good and motivates you. If only big-ticket items get your workout mojo going, pay yourself a dollar or so for every time you hit the gym. Then once you have the money you need to get your reward, you get to go shopping! It’s a total investment in your health and yourself.
4. Set low expectations of yourself. Yeah, so this may seem to contrast with No. 2, but there’s a difference. It’s easy to not want to work out when you think it’s going to be an hour or more of torture. So instead of setting the bar so high that you stop before you even start, tell yourself that you just have to be active for 10 minutes. That’s it: 10 minutes. Then, if you feel like going longer, you can. No pressure though. Nine times out of time (unofficially), you’ll want to keep going.
5. Stop over-thinking it. Sometimes you just have to stop thinking, wondering and playing the mental back-and-forth guilt match of “I so should work out, but I don’t want to!” and just do it instead. Tell your nay-saying brain to hush and work out anyways. As long as you’re not overtraining, you’ll feel better after you work out and those happy endorphins are kicking around.
How do you motivate yourself to exercise? —Jenn