Regularly exercising is an important thing you can do to help protect and promote your health. Of course, knowing it’s important and finding the motivation to get out and do it aren’t often the same thing. Exercising works because it’s physically difficult. If it’s also mentally difficult to get going, you need to find ways to boost your motivation.
Most people don’t love to exercise when they first start out. It’s often done because of the desire to achieve a certain outcome. Setting goals is a great way to improve your chances of attaining the results you want from exercising. The best goals follow the SMART goal outline. They are specific, measurable, achievable yet realistic, relevant to your life, and time-based. Write down your goals on paper. Writing your goals increases your odds of accomplishing them. Put them where you can see them often as a reminder of what you are working towards.
While achieving your goals alone may be a reward in and of themselves, there’s something to be said for rewarding yourself for achieving them. It can also be worthwhile to reward yourself for reaching key milestones along your journey. Build rewards into your plans to achieve your exercise goals. It’s important to choose rewards that you will feel motivated to attain and not feel guilty about indulging in. For example, if you find food is a strong motivator for you, rewarding yourself with a treat can be a good option. If you’ll feel overly guilty for indulging in a treat or if doing so will lead you to overindulging, you’ll be better off finding a different way to reward yourself. The best rewards will be high motivators and not something you often experience.
Try New Exercises
There are so many different ways to exercise beyond weightlifting and running. There are HIIT programs, barre exercises, calisthenics, aerobics, and different yoga styles you can try. Other options include activities like rock climbing, biking, hiking, dancing, or participating in sports. Trying new exercises can be a great way to boost your motivation and interest in getting out and exercising. Variation in your exercises helps you avoid hitting a plateau with your results, and keeps you from getting bored. Finding forms of exercise you enjoy doing is also a great way to boost your desire to exercise. If it’s fun, it feels a lot less like work.
Get a Dog
Getting a dog means you have your own personal live-in exercise partner. Many people will do things for their dogs that they may not do for themselves. Dogs need exercise too, so if you’re taking proper care of your dog, you’re probably getting some exercise yourself. They can be good companions for walks, runs, or hiking. If they’re especially well trained, you can even take them with you on bike rides. You can choose from many breeds of dogs, and some are known to be more energetic than others. Make sure that when you make your choice you look into their exercise and training needs. Choose a dog that is suited for your lifestyle and one that you will be able to care for properly.
Have a Human Exercise Partner
Of course, getting a dog may not be a feasible option for multiple reasons. A human exercise partner may not be as cute and snuggly as a dog, but they can be good motivators for getting out and exercising too. In some ways, they may be a better option. More avenues of exercise open up with a human partner, and it’s easier for them to hold you accountable for your exercise habits. Finding a good exercise partner isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but it can make all the difference in how motivated you are to exercise.
Join a Class
Sometimes having a scheduled class to go to can be a huge help in getting out and exercising. It takes nearly all the planning out of it. You don’t have to do much of anything aside from show up and do what you’re told. There’s a set start time and a set end time, so even if you aren’t loving what you’re doing at that exact moment, you know it will come to an end and you’ll be done for the day. Yoga, circuit training, HIIT, water aerobics, cycling, and zumba are some of the most popular fitness classes people attend. There are even apps you can use that have classes you can take.
Set a Routine
It’s often said that it takes 21 days to build a habit, but it would be more accurate to say that it takes a minimum of 21 days but an average of 66, sometimes more, to form a new habit. If you want to make exercise a habit then, you’ll need to be consistent about it. Set a routine for exercising that fits into your day. Set aside the same amount of time each day to exercise. Schedule a regular start time and end point. What you do to exercise can vary, but keeping the timing as consistent as possible.
Remember Your Why
Sometimes you’re going to have a really hard time getting going. Maybe you’re tired, sore, or just busy. There are a lot of barriers that can get in the way of exercising. Remembering your goals and the reasons why you exercise will be what help you push through those obstacles. For that reason, it’s imperative that you have a deeply rooted reason for exercising. You may find it helpful to write out your why and place it in a visible location as a reminder.
If you have a hard time motivating yourself to get out and exercise, you’re not alone. Lack of motivation keeps many people from achieving their exercise goals. If you want to break out of that rut and make some progress, you’ll need to find ways to motivate yourself that work for you. Not every motivator will be good for everyone. Take the time to figure out those that truly speak to you and you’ll find you have an easier time getting going on your exercise program.
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