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Motivation is a huge part of getting and staying fit. Unfortunately, it also is one of the most difficult challenges exercisers face. But, it doesn’t have to be. Below are some tips to help you get every step of the way so you can get and stay motivated to exercise.
Make a list of all the positive benefits exercising has on your life. Take your time putting this list together — the list should be pretty long. Then post it somewhere that you will see it regularly and it can serve as a reminder to you as to why you need to workout. Examples of positive effects range from such things as decreasing body fat, reducing the risk of certain diseases, getting more energy, etc.
Set many small attainable goals versus one all encompassing goal. This way you can see results and feel a sense of accomplishment every month or so rather than having one ultimate goal looming over you. And, you’ll be able to reward yourself with each small goal that you successfully obtain which will provide significant motivation.
Reward yourself. When you accomplish a fitness goal you have set, be sure to reward yourself. Try not to reward yourself with something food-related (e.g. a big dinner or dessert). Instead reward yourself with a new piece of fitness equipment, a new outfit or a massage. And, don’t reward yourself only for such milestones as lost weight or increased muscle mass. Give yourself well-deserved pats-on-the-back for sticking with your exercise plan for an extended period of time, for example.
Involve your friends and family. At the very least, ask for their support. Let them know your plans so they can help you stay on track. They need to understand if you can’t have dessert with them or if you will be spending less time with them so that you can go to the gym. If possible, try to recruit one of them as an exercise partner. Some people find it a lot easier to stay motivated when working with a partner.
Choose an exercise type that you like (okay, at least one you don’t hate). Sure, you’ve seen your neighbor with the great body running every week but that doesn’t mean that’s the exercise for you. Running burns a lot of calories and tones your legs, but that is irrelevant if you aren’t going to stick with it. If you’ve always hated running then that’s not the best exercise choice for you to try when first working on your motivation. Choose an activity that you like, even if it’s something that doesn’t rate high on the fat-burning scale. Later as you progress you can then tackle the more challenging workouts.
Educate yourself on the many benefits of physical activity. You’ll be more inclined to do something if you fully understand specifically how it is going to help you.
When exercising, wear comfortable clothes that are light and non-binding, and that make you feel good about how you look. How you feel and whether or not you feel comfortable in your clothes can really have an effect on your workout. When you feel good mentally, typically you have more motivation and are more likely to not only finish your workout but to actually work harder because of your positive energy.
Avoid workout ruts. Once you find an exercise that you really enjoy or (more commonly) one that isn’t too difficult (hence, that’s why you enjoy it), it’s easy to get in a routine of doing that same exercise over and over. This often leads to boredom and burnout. To avoid this, change your workout routine at least every 6-8 weeks.
Consider registering for a charity fitness event (e.g. a walk that benefits a specific disease). This will help provide you with additional motivation to get more fit because you will have a specific goal to achieve on a pre-determined future date. With that date looming over you, it will help you stay motivated to get more fit in time for the event. Plus, you will also be helping a charity.
Track your progress, but don’t obsess. Record your weekly workout totals and/or a food journal. But, don’t jump on the scale every day or measure yourself too frequently.