“The Way to Get Started Is To Quit Talking And Begin Doing.” – Walt Disney
How do you find motivation to exercise when you just don’t feel like getting off your butt? I ask myself this question every now and then, and I have the feeling I’m not the only one.
Fitness Motivation Made Easy
Fortunately, economists and psychologists have been studying how to crack the code of what compels us to repeatedly do something we don’t always want to do. Here are some of their best strategies.
Sign a Commitment Contract
“I say I’m going to make a commitment to do something for certain point of time such as exercising 30 minutes three times a week for 12 weeks. If I don’t do that, I’m going to pay some kind of penalty, whether it’s monetary or the embarrassment of having friends know I didn’t live up to my word.”
How you feel after a workout. I always feel great after a good workout. It’s a high. And I let that motivate me the next time: “You know how good you’re going to feel, Shals!”
Time for you. While many people make time to take care of others (kids, spouse, other family, co-workers, boss), they don’t often make time to take care of themselves. Instead, make your “you” time a priority, and don’t miss that exercise appointment.
Calories burned. If you count calories (and it’s really one of the most effective ways to lose weight), you know that the more you exercise, the more calories you burn — and the bigger your calorie deficit.
Having fun. Exercise should be fun. If it isn’t, try a different kind of activity that you enjoy. As long as you’re moving, it’s good for you.
How you’re going to look. Imagine a slimmer, fitter you. Now let that visualization drive you Or how delighted I’ll be when I see my new muscles developing.
Magazines. For some fitness magazines motivates them . Not sure why, but it works.
Blogs. I enjoy reading blogs about people who are into running, or losing weight. It can show the ups and downs they go through, and you can learn from their experiences.
Success stories. I find the success stories of others incredibly inspirational. If a fitness website has success stories, I’ll almost always read them.
Forums. Do the monthly challenge on the Zen Habits forums, or join another forum full of like-minded or like-goaled peopled. Check in daily. It really helps.
Rewards. If you exercise for a few days, give yourself a reward! A week? Another reward. Do it often in the beginning. “An extrinsic reward is so powerful because your brain can latch on to it and make the link that the behavior is worthwhile “It increases the odds the routine becomes a habit.”
Fitting into new clothes. Wanna look good in a smaller size? Work out!
Being attractive. That’s always a good motivator, as I’m sure we all know..
Adrenaline rush. I get a rush when I exercise. Ride that rush to complete the workout.
Stress relief. Wound up after a long day at the office? Get out and work off that stress. It makes a world of difference.
Time for contemplation. I love, love the quiet time of exercise for thinking about things
A workout partner. Best thing you could have done.
A coach or trainer. Worth the money, just for the motivation.
An exercise log/graph. For some reason, writing it down is extremely important. Really. Do it for a week and you’ll see what I mean.
Your before picture. You often don’t realize how far you’ve come. Take pictures.
A 5K race or triathlon. Just sign up for one, and you’ll be motivated to train.
The dread of feeling “yuck” from not exercising. I hate how I feel after not exercising. So I remind myself of that when I feel tired.
Living long enough to see your grandkids … and play with them.
The scale. It’s not motivating to weigh yourself every day, as your weight fluctuates. But if you weigh yourself once a week, you’ll be motivated to have it keep going down, instead of up. Combine the scale with the measuring tape, and measure your waist.
Reaching a goal. Set a goal for weight, or your waist measurement, or a number of days to work out, or a number of miles to run this week. Setting and tracking a goal helps motivate you to complete that goal. Make it easily achievable.
Posting it on your blog. Tell people you’re going to lose weight or exercise daily, and report to them. You’ll make it happen.
Books. I suggest buy a book on resistance -training or pilates or yoga as a reward.
Others commenting on how good you look. When someone notices the changes in your body, it feels good. And it makes you want to work out more.
An upcoming event , beach holiday , or a reunion.