10 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise
The most challenging part of a healthy lifestyle is getting started in the first place. Unfortunately, after a period of time, the initial surge of motivation can wane, and we can be left forcing ourselves to go to the gym, or gradually completely giving up on our fitness routine and goals. Here are some tips which we can all use to battle a lack of motivation, enabling us to continue to better ourselves every day.
1. Imagine how you want to look and feel
Whether you want abs of steel, visible calf muscles, more self-esteem or just want to feel better in yourself, imagining yourself in the future can push you closer towards your goals and motivate you. If you have taken a photograph before you started your fitness regimen, looking back to see how far you have come can often spur you on to continue your hard work. If you haven’t taken a photograph, take one now so you can see the changes in your body over the next month.
2. Set yourself attainable goals
Setting attainable goals means you will always be motivated to try to reach them. For example, don’t set yourself a goal of 25 push-ups if you can’t even do one. Your first step should be to master the push-up and then aim for a particular rep count. There are challenges online to help you reach 100 push-ups in a month. Splitting goals up into short-term and long-term can also be helpful. If you want to lose 25lbs overall, it may be easier to split it up into five sets of 5lbs, rather than going for the ultimate number straight away. This way, you will always be moving towards your goals, rather than feeling like they are so far away.
3. Try a new workout
Trying a new fitness DVD may be the key to motivating yourself again. You can buy home fitness DVDs for pennies on online marketplaces and many provide a fantastic workout. Signing up to a new gym class such as Body Pump, spinning or Zumba may mean that you find an exercise that you really enjoy and want to add to your weekly fitness routine. Many gyms offer free taster sessions so you can see if you enjoy the class, without having to pay. You could also consider playing a sport. If you are always stuck in the gym, slogging out on a treadmill, your routine is going to get tedious, your body is going to get used to it, and you will plateau. If there is a sport you enjoy, or enjoyed in the past, playing it may liven up your stale routine.
4. Join a fitness social networking site
There are a number of fitness websites which have a social media aspect so you can be kept accountable with your exercise regimen. Several work on a goal/achievement basis and you receive badges for your profile once you have completed specific goals. They also include activity trackers so you can amass points for your exercises. Not only are your fellow members inspiring and encouraging, they will also be able to motivate you as they will understand the struggles you will face to keep yourself working hard.
5. Try a 30-day challenge
There are many websites which offer 30-day challenges. These can vary from specific exercise challenge, such as a squat or push-up challenge, to a general cardio or strength challenge. The benefit of these challenges is that they usually only take up a small amount of time (15 minutes) so they can be combined with other challenges, or can be used as a way to ease yourself back in to regular activity. A small 15-20 minute workout a day is better than no workout at all. It also gives you something to aim for.
6. Buy a new piece of equipment
If you can afford to splash out on an exercise bike or rowing machine, this could be the key to motivating yourself to exercise more, as well as working different muscles in your body than you would through your usual routine. There are plenty of workout routines online for machines, so you won’t be left not knowing what to do. If a machine is out of your price range, consider purchasing kettlebells, dumbbells or resistance bands and finding workout videos online or articles full of tips on how to use them.
7. Look at inspirational photographs, stories
Maybe not the cheesy “fitspo” images plastered over every social networking site, but delve deeper to find before and after photographs, stories of how people went from being a couch potato to an athlete and other inspirational media. Seeing someone else’s transformation and determination can be inspiring and can give you the nudge you need to get back in the saddle.
8. Exercise with a friend/family
When exercising with a friend or family member, you may find that your otherwise unknown competitive side comes out! You will also have someone to spur you on when the going gets tough and to hold you accountable for every workout. You will know that you can’t let that person down, so when you’re lacking motivation, you will know that you’re responsible for their workout too.
9. Reward yourself for achievements
When you have achieved a goal, no matter how small, rewarding yourself can motivate you to continue your hard work. Whether it’s those running trainers you’ve wanted for ages or that piece of equipment you want to try out, rewards are a crucial part of motivation. Ideally, rewards should not be food-remember, you’re not a dog!
10. Schedule an exercise you enjoy
There is no point in writing out an exercise plan for the week if you don’t enjoy the exercises you have chosen. If you have to force yourself to go to a spinning class, you’re going to be less likely to stick to your new plan. Instead, schedule in exercises you know you enjoy, so you look forward to it. If you know you need to improve in some areas on a particular exercise (e.g. push-ups, burpees), you can sandwich them in between exercises you enjoy.
Motivation is a crucial part to sticking to an exercise plan, and by following some of the tips above, you may find you can push yourself much more than you have ever been able to before, and see some fantastic changes in not only your body, but in your ability to get up and do things without having to talk yourself into it every single time.