Ask SK: “How do I get myself motivated to exercise?”




If you generally lack motivation to workout, you are definitely not alone! Motivation to exercise is definitely one of the most common questions I get from our community as well as in practice. Contrary to popular belief, it actually seems that the majority of individuals are not inherently motivated to exercise, and here is some other driving force that is the motivator.

Below are the top ways to get yourself motivated to exercise:




Think about how you feel after exercise

This is probably my personal greatest motivator to exercise. I think about how great I feel after the exercise is done. Exercising does many things to your body and brain, including:

  • Boosts energy
  • Increases focus
  • Boosts feel good hormones
  • Boosts calming hormones
  • Decreases stress hormones

Try to keep the above in mind before you exercise, it will help to get you motivated.



Think about how you feel if you don’t exercise

This is another great motivator to get yourself to exercise. How might you feel if you don’t exercise? Tired? Disappointed in yourself? Sad? All of the above? Tell yourself that you can avoid all of those bad feelings if you had just exercises for a few minutes. This is another personal motivator for me. I don’t want to look back at regret thinking about how much better I would have felt had I taken just 30 minutes out of the day to exercise.



Tell yourself you’ll do only 10 minutes

Often the hardest part about exercising is getting yourself to exercise. Instead of thinking about your long dreadful workout, tell yourself that you are only going to do 10 minutes, and after that you can stop. If you set the bar low, it will make you feel even better if you go longer.

Exercise first thing in the morning

I always recommend scheduling your workout first thing in the morning, and one big reason for this is that it decreases the time you can talk yourself out of exercising.

Lay your workout clothes out the night before, once your alarm goes off, just get up and go. The less time you have to think about talking yourself out of the workout, the less likely you are to talk yourself out of it!



Recruit a friend

If you know you have a friend to workout with, this can prevent you from canceling your workout session because then you would have to cancel on your friend. Find a class that you like to do and see if one of your friends or even your partner would like to start going to it with you. This is a great way to get motivated and stay on track.



Keep a record

Write down your workouts in your phone or a notebook, and keep track of your progress. Take this to the next level and share your workout activity with a friend or family member. Knowing that someone else is keeping track of your workouts is a great motivator to stay on track.

I use this motivator with my family members and we track each other using the “share” feature on the apple watch. If you know someone is watching, this can be the push you need to make working out a habit.



Set goals

This tip goes along with keeping a record or your exercise. Take note of your exercises, including duration, speed, intensity, incline, etc. You can do this for virtually any exercise. For example, say you just started running. Try to get faster and see how long you can go without giving yourself a break. If you are lifting weights, try to increase the weight and reps you can do. Sets goals for yourself, say you want to be able to run a full thirty minutes without stopping or you want to run a mile under 10 minutes, or you want to get the resistance up on the elliptical. No goal is too small, and small goals add up in the end to huge changes.

Make it fun

Make your fitness routine fun, do something that you enjoy doing. If you absolutely hate running, then this is not the workout for you. If you love doing yoga, then do yoga and try to incorporate more intense sessions such as with vinyasa and power yoga. It really doesn’t matter what exercise you do, but it does matter whether you enjoy it or not.

Main takeaways…

Try one or more of the above tips and I guarantee it will make you feel more motivated to make exercise a priority.



About the author: Sarah-Kate Rems is an Ivy-league trained Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner licensed in California with an expertise in preventative healthcare. She considers nutrition and exercise to be the basis of well-being and is a strong advocate for daily physical activity and maintaining a healthy diet. Sarah-Kate is also a co-founder of The Mindful Tech Lab

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