How to stay motivated to exercise? It can feel impossible at times! But… that doesn’t mean it is. There are actually plenty of ways to keep yourself motivated. You can find some common methods here: Master the Mental Challenge of Exercise – 20 Motivational Tips.
Yet sometimes we need something extra to find our motivation. Here you can find 10 more tips on how to stay motivated and unlock your determination.
Discover How to Stay Motivated to Exercise
1. Set a Target Date
Like a business, you need an objective and deadline. If you start blindly, you could find yourself in a constant yo-yo, making achievements and then undoing your progress. Add some aching muscles to the mix and you’ll want to throw in the towel.
Time can feel everlasting, but with a looming deadline, every day suddenly becomes more important. By setting a target date for your fitness, you have a specific time frame to work with. Every day is now a stepping-stone towards your fitness goal.
Use a significant event for your target date: your next birthday, a family reunion, or a friend’s wedding. If you don’t have an upcoming event, make up your own – plan a holiday or host a party.
Set a reasonable date for a realistic goal. Don’t aim to lose 10 kilos in 3 weeks or you’re setting yourself up to fail. Keep your goals simple and you’ll avoid disappointment. Choose a date in the distant future to give you time to work towards it.
Don’t focus your goals solely on a number on the scales. Go for goals like fitting into a certain dress, losing your double chin, or toning your arms. Wearing your favourite dress to a special function can be a great motivation to work towards.
2. Turn Your Workouts into Cash
Did that grab your attention? There are apps that offer cash incentives. Or try something simple, like putting aside a couple of dollars every time you workout. Treat it as a reward for your efforts. Your brain will eventually make a subconscious connection with exercise and the pleasure of money. In a couple of months, you can buy yourself something decent and your purse never felt a thing.
If you’re looking for more fruitful motivation, try these methods:
- Apps like Achievement; connect with other apps and earn points for doing activities, logging meals, and answering questions. Once you’ve reached 10, 000 points, you can redeem it as cash or donate it to a charity. This app contributes to prospective studies for medical journals.
- Mapmyfitness is an app from Under Armour. They have fitness challenges where you can compete with other members and win prizes.
- Check out fitness trainers in your local area that create videos. Sometimes they’re looking for people of a variety of fitness levels for their videos.
3. Keep Your Gear in Constant Sight
Know that guilty feeling when you’re not doing something you should? Use it to your advantage. Let it be your reminder when you’re tempted to skip a workout for a Netflix binge. Keep a pair of dumbbells on your coffee table or next to your TV as a visual reminder.
Our brains are wired to avoid guilt to encourage cooperation. It was a natural instinct in primal times to survive within a tribe. It’s just as important today. Stick to your workouts to avoid that guilty feeling. Even a small workout is better than none.
4. Have a ‘Cruisy’ Back-up Routine
It’s good to switch up your workout routines so your body remains challenged. However, what I’m referring to here is more about motivation.
It can be useful to have a backup plan for the days we’re really not motivated to do the usual workouts. You can call it your ‘Cruisy routine’, so it doesn’t sound like work. More or less, it’s just exercise disguised as a leisure activity. This way, you’re still keeping your body moving.
It can be anything, such as:
- bike rides
- walking the dog
- one-on-one basketball
- playing with the kids (handball, frisbee, etc.)
- interactive games on the WII Fit or a similar device.
Having a cruisy backup plan breaks the monotony of your typical routine. It gives your body a change and keeps you active on your “day off.”
5. Find Pleasures that Don’t Involve Food
The biggest challenge for exercise motivation (or anything for that matter) is changing your mindset. The more you associate exercise with pleasure, the less your brain will resist it. Activating the pleasure centre in our brains drives us to seek more pleasure by repeating the same behaviour.
Rewarding yourself for your efforts is a well-known trick. But you don’t want to be rewarding yourself with anything that can undo it all. Aim for other methods, like relaxation (bubble baths), pampering (massages), broadcasting (social media), or retail therapy.
6. Make a Bet with a Friend
There’s a lot to be said about being accountable for your actions. Sharing your fitness goals with others can help. Problem is, most people won’t give you a hard time if you stop, because we all know what it’s like to struggle.
But if you have a consequence for stopping, that can motivate you to keep going. The trick is to choose something unbearable!
Make a bet with a friend that you’ll stick to your fitness regime for 3 months. If you quit, you have to do something gross like eat a can of cat food. Keep a tin in your kitchen and read the label every time you feel like quitting. By the time you’ve reached the end of your 3-month pact, exercise will be part of your lifestyle.
7. Set Yourself Mini Challenges
Break your exercise into small challenges. It can help keep you going and push you even further.
For example, instead of doing a full 60 minutes of cardio, introduce other challenges and break it all down:
- 5 minutes warm-up
- 20 minutes weights
- 10 minutes core exercises
- 15 minutes cardio
- 10 minutes cool down
Treat each activity as a mini-challenge. You can break it down in many different ways, incorporating any exercise you want. It keeps things interesting and less daunting.
Another mini-challenge: When you’ve almost finished 20 sit-ups, add three more. See how many you can complete by the end of the week. Or increase your jogging route by one block.
8. Pump Up the Jams
Did you know that music can make a big impact on your exercise?
A study by the American Psychological Association tested the effects of music on exercise with 17 active males and females. Treadmill trials were performed with and without music. Results showed that participants exercised more intensely with music, and felt good. Not only that, they recalled the music session as more pleasurable, confirming the positive influence music can have on exercise.
Other studies indicate exercise is performed more effectively when done in time to music. So it’s best to stick to a quick beat.
9. Get Some Active Wear You Feel Good Wearing
There’s truth in the saying “If you look good, you feel good.” And it works just the same vice-versa. This is what makes exercise fun.
You feel pumped from the endorphins from your workout, the sensation of your muscles tightening, and you can wear trendy outfits that boast your accomplishments. There are so many chic fashions now that provide both comfort and style. Whether you like Lycra tops or Yoga Flare pants, there’s something for everyone. Owning activewear that you look forward to wearing can help motivate you.
10. Introduce A New Healthy Food Each Week
Healthy eating sounds bland and boring, but the benefits you get from it are extraordinary.
Eating more vegetables doesn’t just give you more energy, it also curbs your appetite as it’s slow to digest. It kills sugar cravings, and sometimes even alcohol urges. Introducing a healthy menu is key to your overall health and weight loss.
If you make a drastic change overnight, you may struggle to stick with it. Your brain could feel deprived; searching for the sugar hit it’s used to. But if you eat healthy food, you will say goodbye to insulin spikes and energy crashes.
The trick is to add new foods bit by bit (or ‘bite’) and it’ll feel less tedious. Start with carrots sticks in your sandwich, oats instead of cereal, a new vegetable with dinner, or using wraps instead of bread.
As you reclaim your energy, you’ll learn to look at healthy food in a new light, and want to explore new things.
The Best Time is Now
Start your changes today! Implement these tips on how to stay motivated, and you’ll see changes in your behaviour that lead to results. Mindset is the biggest contender to any change in your life.
Do you have a motivational tip to share? Leave a comment and help others reach their potential.