How To Get Motivated To Workout
Updated: Mar 15, 2019
Let's face it... sometimes exercising can be tough to get motivated for. Maybe you just got done with your 9-5 job, maybe you have spent all day running your kids around, or maybe you have spent the last 8 hours studying for your final exams. Regardless of what stage of life you are in there are always going to be challenges to getting motivated to workout. I'm going to teach you to break that barrier down and set you free from your cycle of motivation-less repetition. Here are my best tips and practices to get motivated to workout.
Find Your Source of Motivation
The most vital thing you can do to improve your ability to get motivated is to find what gets you motivated. If you find yourself getting ready to workout one day and you are genuinely excited and motivated to get some work done write down how you feel and what you think is making you feel that way. Write down things like; the time of day, what you did that day, the foods you ate, the people you have been around and any other information you may think is relevant. This process is very similar to any other form of data gathering.
The information that you gather will be more valuable to the process of getting motivated than anything else because it is your own personal data. Once you do this two, three, or four times you want to look for similarities in the information you gathered on different days. Make a master list of things that have led to you being motivated to work out and try to implement these things into your regular routine so that you can have the motivation to do your body good every day.
Another approach to finding what motivates you to workout is to simply write down the reasons that you want to start working out or why you did start working out in the first place. Maybe you want to be agile enough as a grandparent to play outside with your grandkids someday, maybe it's to lose weight, or maybe your reason is to gain confidence. Regardless what your reasoning is it is important to write down what it is so that you can look back on it and never lose sight of why you started.
Social support can be a great way to get motivated to workout and can be a major game changer because of one aspect... Accountability. When you have people supporting what you are doing and know what your goals are it makes you feel more accountable for getting your workouts in. Another factor why social support is so important is because humans are much more confident when they have other people that they know working with them and rooting for them. A great example of this is during a marathon, the majority of runners in marathons have family members on the sidelines rooting for them and supporting them.
There are many ways to gain social support, you can talk to your spouse or family members about your new goals and your progress towards them. This is a great way to gather social support because your family members normally live in close relation to you and you see them often.
Another way to get social support is to find a friend to workout with, working out with someone can turn a potentially sluggish workout or even a potentially skipped workout into an amazing energized workout that is fun.
Joining a class or finding a personal trainer is always an option too. In my opinion, this is the best social support you can receive, the majority of personal trainers are in the fitness industry to help people change their lives. These trainers are well educated in fitness training methods along with coaching methods such as; improving motivation, setting proper goals, eating proper foods, overcoming barriers, and many other things as well.
Setting Smart Goals
One of the biggest barriers to exercise is setting improper goals. if you set up goals in the proper fashion, they can be a great source of motivation, but if you make goals that are unattainable or not time-based, they can take a toll on your motivation.
There is a very simple way to make sure that every goal is effective and works to improve your motivation. It is called setting SMART goals, SMART stands for; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. I will speak more on the fine details of setting SMART goals in another article, but if you fulfill each letter in SMART your goals will set you up for success.
Along with setting smart goals, it is vital to have a goal setting plan. A goal setting plan is composed of one or more long term goals and multiple short-term goals that will progress you towards your long-term goal. It is important to have a long-term goal so that you never lose sight of what you are trying to achieve in the long run. It is also important to have short term goals that you can reach in a week to a month, this is important because you will be able to see the progress you are making. There is a lot of science behind why short-term goals are so effective and have such a large impact on motivation, but at the core, it is related to a dopamine hit that your brain gets when you reach a goal.
Positive Self Talk
Time to let your ego run free "temporarily", You can effectively use your ego to help you gain motivation through positive self-talk. Using this method of motivation is simple... remind yourself how amazing you are, look back at all the goals you have accomplished, look at the progress you have made and tell yourself that you can do it.
Positive self-talk seems simple on the surface, but at its core, it is much more intricate. It involves learning how to not only psych yourself up before a workout but also learning how to replace negative thoughts with positive ones throughout your workout and throughout your day.
The first step to positive self-talk is to learn how to consciously recognize your negative thoughts such as "I cannot do this exercise it is too hard". These thoughts run through everybody's minds at some point and some people have a natural ability to catch these thoughts and unconsciously replace them with positive thoughts. Not everyone is so lucky to have this ability though, most people have to consciously "listen" for these thoughts throughout their day and then consciously replace them with a thought such as "I can do this exercise, it is only a little bit harder than what I did last week". This is the second step, replacing those nasty negative thoughts with uplifting motivational positive thoughts.
Bonus Content - Exercise Imagery - Exercise imagery is very similar to positive self-talk, it involves imagining yourself doing whatever you are lacking the motivation to do. Let's say for example you are trying to get motivated to go outside and run a mile, but you just don't feel up to it. You can completely change your mindset by closing your eyes and imagining yourself out running. When doing this you want to focus on the feelings that you would have, the sights you would see, the benefits you would be receiving and the goal you would be getting closer towards.
Schedule your Workouts
Scheduling your workouts can truly be a game-changer. When you physically place your workouts in your calendar you have a sense of security in knowing you will have time to complete your workout, you will have a sense of self-accountability because you committed to using that time to improve your health, and you will be working out on a consistent schedule that your body can adapt to.
Find what time of day you feel most motivated and plan your workouts around that feeling. If your highest feeling of motivation is when you are on your hour lunch break at work, do a 15-minute workout then and do it consistently. You are much more likely to complete your workout if you plan it around the time of day you feel most motivated.
Another great way to schedule your workouts is to anchor them to a daily event you will not forget. An example of anchoring your workout to a daily event would be to plan your workout half an hour before you go to work in the morning. The theory behind this is that you will not forget to go to work in the morning, therefore, you will not forget to workout either. over time you will start to blend the two events together and exercising will be part of your routine to get ready for work
One last tip to scheduling your workouts is to focus on quantity rather than length. When you focus on scheduling multiple workouts each week rather than long workouts you are setting yourself up to be able to progress in the future. Picture it as the start of building a city that is wide rather than tall. When you build a wide city, you can always build taller in the future. On the other hand, if you build a tall city from the beginning you won't be able to build taller, at some point, you will be unable to go any higher. The same thing goes for planning your workouts. If you schedule a 2-hour workout once a week you can't really make it any longer. A great starting point for scheduling workouts is 20 minutes 5-7 times a week. You can build upon each workout, you can skip one workout if necessary, without detrimental consequences, and you are far less likely to skip them because they are short and sweet.
Lack of motivation does not have to hold you back, learn what motivates you and implement those things to help you succeed. Gather social support to keep you feeling accountable and engaged, set smart goals so you can have a long-term vision and a plan to get there, train your mind to irradiate negative thoughts so you can replace them with motivation spiking positive self-talk, and schedule your workouts to fit yourself best. Your health is very important and related to every other area of your life, so use these tactics to get motivated and start improving your life from the inside out.