Finding the motivation to exercise
If you are like most people chances are some of the hardest exercise you do involves getting into your sneakers and off to the gym or the trail. Our best fitness intentions are sometimes thwarted by the hustle and bustle of life. Other times we simply can’t seem to get up enough motivation to make our bodies move toward our fitness goals. When you are looking for an extra nudge out of your head (I wish I could exercise regularly) and onto your feet (I make exercise a priority) try using some of the motivation tips below.
- Make a great play list - Including some of your favorite songs in your fitness routine can provide just enough distraction to help you think “fun” rather than “chore” when exercising. An added benefit of music – it can be a good way to monitor your pace and reduce your perception of exertion. In other words, music can make exercise feel easier.
- Write out your fitness goals - Maybe you want to manage your diabetes, lose weight or reduce blood pressure. Whatever it is, write down what you plan to do as well as when and why you are doing it. In this way you will be tying your goal to your actions. Making a specific plan is much like entering into a contract with yourself. For example, putting 30 minutes of jogging on your calendar for 6:00am on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday (action) is a commitment you are less likely to break than if you vaguely promise to exercise more. Knowing why (goal = reduce blood pressure) you are jogging can make the how (jogging) a little easier.
- Get the right gear - You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but you do want to be comfortable. Chafing and blisters are definitely exercise downers. Choose fabrics and supports that minimize discomfort from sweating, chafing and the like. Also, keep your gym bag packed and in your car so you are always fitness ready. Don’t forget extra socks and a towel
- Hire a trainer - A good trainer understands how to motivate and can be an important part of your system of accountability.
- Bring along a buddy - Chances are when you don’t feel motivated to exercise your buddy will encourage you or guilt you into it, if necessary. Be sure to return the favor.
- Plan a reward - Don’t just shop for the things you want; earn what you buy with exercise. It will mean more.
- Sign up for a race – Running a race is a lot like taking an exam in that you are forced to prepare if you want to perform well. If you want to finish, and of course you do, you will be motivated to exercise in the weeks and months before the race. Raise the stakes by letting everyone know you have entered the race. Peer pressure works on adults, too.
Exercise improves the quality and length of your life. Choosing to exercise is a vital commitment you make to your future self. Of course there will be times when you need to take a break or you just can’t find your motivation to exercise. That is normal. Renew and review your fitness commitment often so you never completely abandon it.