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How to Motivate Yourself to Work Out

Increasing our physical activity and engaging in regular exercise is good for our mind, body, and soul. While we’re all aware of that, we all have that small voice inside ourselves that tells us to skip our workout and do something else instead. It can get difficult to shake off that voice, and you may feel that finding enough motivation to stick to your workout plan is veering on the edge of impossible. Worry not though, for there are still ways for you to break those hurdles and feel inspired to hop onto your mat and begin your exercises.

If you find yourself in a workout slump, then this is your sign to get back into it. We’ve compiled a list of the best tips and tricks to help you feel more motivated and start being consistent when it comes to exercising. Check them out!

How Do I Motivate Myself to Workout?

Workout Motivation Made Easy

Have you ever found yourself starting a new exercise routine but then you end up quitting halfway through? You’re definitely not alone in that. Many people start fitness programs but stop when things become too repetitive, results come too slowly, or find it tiring to just get up and do the actual workout. 

Fortunately, experts in sports medicine, fitness, and health have been studying and researching ways to motivate individuals to do something that they don’t always want to do. Here are some of the greatest tips that you can do to stay motivated and make it through tough workouts.

Put Your Workout Clothes On

One of the best ways to boost your motivation to exercise is by putting your workout clothes on. Don’t even think about it and just get dressed. Finding exercise clothes that fit you and make you feel good while wearing them can give you the energy that you need. Plus, you usually wouldn’t just sit around on the couch while wearing your workout clothes. Changing out of your regular clothes — whether sleepwear or office wear — and into your exercise outfit can get you into that exercising mood.

If you find it difficult to get your exercise outfit out of your closet, you can set them out on the foot of your bed before you go to sleep. You’re guaranteed to see them first thing in the morning, thereby becoming a sign and a constant reminder for you to get your exercise on. You can also try putting on some energetic music as you change clothes; the pounding bass and racing tempo might inspire you and help get you moving.

Set Small Goals

When it comes to exercising and losing weight, setting small goals are much better than making vague goals or ambitious ones. It’s easier to feel more frustrated if you set high goals from the get-go. Work your way up by starting with daily goals as they can make fitness feel more accessible to you. When you finish a small goal, you’ll feel accomplished every time you step into the gym or class. You’ll be able to build the smallest goals into longer-range ones.

For example, simply setting your alarm clock the night before and getting up to get dressed to exercise as soon as it rings can be a daily goal you can do. If you haven’t exercised in a while, a short-term goal that you can do is to walk for 10 minutes, three times a week. And then maybe, you can move on to an intermediate goal and walk for 30 minutes, five days a week.

You can also try incorporating strength training into your daily routine two times a week, and then progress to three times a week. Another short goal can be something such as slowly switching out unhealthy food and incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet as you go along. These short goals can have a big payoff in the long run.

Track Your Progress

Tracking your workouts is highly important as it can help you see your improvements and results. Seeing the benefits can help you stay motivated, allowing you to reach your fitness goals. Whether you write down your progress in a fitness journal or use an app, recording your efforts allows you to stay on track and reach the finish line.

You can also make use of wearable technology, such as a fitness tracker, to up your motivation. Fitness trackers usually come with numerous features that not only record your progress but also aid your overall health and well-being. Some fitness trackers also have challenge features that let you compete with friends, making exercise more motivating.

Try Group Fitness Classes

Speaking of friends, another thing that you can do if you aren’t feeling motivated to do exercises is to try working out in a group. Invite your friends, co-workers, or neighbors to join you when you exercise. If your gym offers group fitness classes, you may want to try that out too. In a 2017 study, researchers found that combining workouts with social time was a strong motivator for individuals.

The sense of belonging in a community can help push you forward in the moments when you want to quit. Being surrounded by people with similar goals can provide support, accountability, and healthy competition, helping you adhere to an exercise routine.

Try High-Intensity Interval Training and Other Short Workouts

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of exercise per week. However, studies have shown that only one in five adults get enough exercise to maintain good health. A lot of people find it difficult to slip in some gym time in between their busy schedules. Some people are tired from work, some people would rather just watch their favorite tv show instead of doing reps, or some would rather just lay down and not expend any energy working out. All of those factors and more contribute to a loss of motivation in exercising.

One thing that you can do to up your motivation and increase physical activity is to try short exercises spread throughout instead of doing a tough session all at once. You can try short cardio workouts such as HIIT twice a week and then do something moderate or light on the other days. Even just one minute of intense activity embedded within a 10-minute workout can improve your overall quality of life.

Make it Fun

According to Katie Heinrich, an exercise scientist at Kansas State University, most people say that they want to exercise for their health, however, what gets people actually moving is doing something that they enjoy. When the words workout, physical activity, and fitness don’t sound appealing, making it feel like something else can help. What gets people moving is doing an activity that they actually enjoy.

Working out doesn’t mean that you have to box yourself into the traditional definition of exercise. You can try something different, be it sports, dancing classes, martial arts, yoga, and the like. You can even try jogging on the treadmill while watching a show, bike or do runs while listening to your self-curated pump-up playlist, learn choreography to a song that you like, and much more. 

You can even do something simple such as flapping your arms while you jog. It sounds ridiculous but it can make your run joyful instead of just tiring. There are numerous types of exercise activities that you can do and you can vary your routine to keep things interesting, allowing you to have fun and work up a sweat at the same time.

Reward Yourself

After each session, it’s important to take a few minutes to savor the good feelings that you’ll get after a great workout. One of the best ways to get through a tough exercise is to find the right balance between the things that make a person work harder and the things that reward them. Experts also say that sometimes, they can be the same thing. This mindset can help you focus on what you want to achieve and make a regular commitment to working out.

Aside from internal rewards, an external reward can also greatly help in giving you motivation. When you reach an intermediate goal or a longer-range one, you can treat yourself to a new pair of shoes or treat yourself to a smoothie afterward. Attaching a reward to the end of your behavior or routine increases the odds of the routine becoming a habit. The more you do it over the weeks, your brain will then begin to associate sweat and working out with feel-good chemicals and so much energy, recognizing that the workout itself is the reward.

Be Flexible

Sometimes, you’re just too tired from work or simply just want to skip exercising, and that’s okay. Take a day off or two every now and then. Go easy on yourself if you need a break. There will be missteps on your journey and as soon as you accept that, you’ll be better prepared mentally to deal with any kind of setbacks. What’s important is getting back on track as soon as you can.

Most of us want to skip our workout because of various things, particularly not having the motivation to do so. When you find yourself in a slump, consider the tips in this article, and perhaps you’ll be able to regain your enthusiasm. If you’re just starting out with working out and already losing the steam to start, consider hiring a personal trainer to get you going. You’ll definitely thank yourself later. 

Tricia Montano

Tricia founded Pain Free Working in 2019 due to suffering from degenerative disc disease in her L5-S1 from working an office job for the past 18 years. She and her team strive on finding and reviewing the best office equipment to help fellow pain sufferers find relief and to enable people like her to do their jobs comfortably.