Whether you’re trying to lose weight or simply improve your health, regular exercise is the best way to make it happen. Unfortunately, exercise motivation is something many people struggle with. If you’re having a hard time getting yourself up and going, these simple tips could be just what you need.
Life is busy and stressful which makes it tough to find the time (or the motivation) to go the extra mile – even when it’s in your best interest. So, if you are struggling to make it to the gym or you feel like you don’t have the energy to work out at home, you may be wondering if there is anything you can do to give yourself a boost of motivation.
Well, you’re in luck! Here are ten exercise motivation tips to get you going.
The Top 4 Motivational Tips According to Science
The human body is like a machine with all of its parts working in unison to ensure harmony and optimal function. Exercising regularly is a great way to keep those parts well lubricated and working as they should. If you find it difficult to drag yourself out of the house, you may be doing it wrong. Here are four motivational tips backed by science that are proven to help you get going:
1. Reward Yourself
A study published by the Harvard Business Review revealed that even small rewards can motivate a person to go the extra mile. Though this particular study was executed in a business setting, the fact remains that giving yourself a reward can increase your motivation. When it comes to using rewards for motivation, however, you need to be careful that the reward doesn’t negate the benefits of the exercise. Try treating yourself to an episode of your favorite show after a workout or sip on a tasty (and healthy) smoothie as a reward.
2. Sign a Contract
Research shows that people who make a commitment in front of other people are more likely to stick to their word. If you really want to motivate yourself, pay a friend $20 each time you skip your workout . Another option is to put $5 in a jar each time you go to the gym. After a certain number of weeks, you can use that money to buy something you want.
3. Try Positive Thinking
Studies have shown that visualizing the benefits of taking a certain action can help motivate you to actually take that action. In a study conducted at New York University, 51 female students who wanted to reduce their junk food intake were asked to visualize the benefits of eating healthier food. They were also asked to identify the problem that was holding them back from their goal. Those who were able to identify the problem and formed a plan to solve it were successful in meeting their goal. You can implement this strategy with your workout habits!
4. Find a Friend
According to research conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, being part of a strong and supportive community is much more effective for exercise motivation than monetary rewards. If you have trouble motivating yourself to workout, consider joining a group fitness class. Another option is to simply work out with a group of friends.
Though these four motivational tips are backed by science, they may not work for everyone. If you feel like you still need an extra push, there are some simple steps you can combine to maximize your motivation. Keep reading to find out what they are.
Six Simple Steps for Exercise Motivation
If you’re still struggling to get to the gym, you could hire a drill instructor to scream insults at you until you are so ashamed of yourself that you spend the next four hours at the gym.
You could, but you shouldn’t. Shame is not an effective tool for exercise motivation, at least not in the long run. If you really want to make a habit of exercising regularly, here are some simple steps you can take:
1. Set Goals for Yourself
Setting goals for yourself is a great way to motivate yourself to do anything. Having goals gives you something to work towards. Plus, if you set small goals along the way, reaching those goals will be motivation in and of itself.
2. Plan Ahead
If your primary excuse for not exercising is lack of time, the simple solution is to schedule your workouts! Find a time slot that works well for you and pencil in your workouts. If it’s part of your schedule, you may be more likely to do it!
3. Make Exercise Fun
If exercise is torturous for you, it’s not going to be a priority and you may find yourself making excuses to skip it. If you try to make exercise fun, however, you’ll be more motivated! For some people, it’s as simple as loading up your phone with a great playlist or buying some awesome active wear. If you work out at home, try planning your workout around your favorite TV show so you have something to watch.
4. Try a Program
Some people just aren’t good at motivating themselves. If you find yourself in that boat, think about joining a class or follow a specific program. Sometimes having a bit of guidance is all you need to get yourself up off the couch and into the gym. You can find plenty of free workout plans online or you can purchase a customized plan. You could even pay for a few personal training sessions to develop a custom workout. Then, once you’ve learned how to do it, you can do it on your own.
5. Wear a Fitness Tracker
Sure, fitness trackers are the latest trend and you may be tired of hearing about them. If you’re having trouble motivating yourself to stay active, it might be worth a try! If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s easy to get frustrated by what seems like a lack of progress. Keep in mind, however, that it takes time to change your body! Wearing a fitness tracker can show you exactly how many steps you took or how many calories you burned during a workout. Seeing those metrics may give you a sense of accomplishment and the motivation you need to keep at it.
6. Change Your Thinking
If you think of exercise as a chore or obligation, it’s going to be much harder for you to get out and do it. If you instead think of your time at the gym as “me” time, you may not only be more likely to do it, but more likely to enjoy it! When exercising, it’s important to push yourself hard if you want to make progress. However, that doesn’t mean your workout can’t be enjoyable or fulfilling. You can choose how you think about exercise and the choice you make can either help or hinder your motivation!
What works for you may not work for someone else – that is just a simple fact of life. Because everyone is different, it is up to you to understand your own body if you want to learn how to effectively motivate yourself. Like anything in life, finding the right exercise motivation may take some trial and error. However, if you work at it, you’ll figure it out soon enough and then you’ll start reaping the benefits!
Wondering how to add some regular exercise to your routine without spending all day at the gym? Try these simple exercises you can do in front of the TV.
-  Furtmuller, Gerhard. “Even Tiny Rewards Can Motivate People to Go the Extra Mile.” Harvard Business Review. <https://hbr.org/2016/06/even-tiny-rewards-can-motivate-people-to-go-the-extra-mile>
-  Kanowitz, Stephanie. “They Offered to Pay People to Go to the Gym. Guess What Happened?” The Washington Post. <https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/they-offered-to-pay-people-to-go-to-the-gym-guess-what-happened/2017/08/01/b6c58704-75fd-11e7-8f39-eeb7d3a2d304_story.html?utm_term=.3bbbb0afdc30>