7 Effective ways to find motivation to workout
by Raquel Torres
If you think of exercise as optional, you give yourself permission to skip it. Instead, try thinking of it as an essential part of your job, said Brad Stulberg, author of “The Practice of Groundedness” and a frequent writer about human performance. “Whether you are a parent, business person, physician, writer, artist, lawyer or educator, exercise will make you better at what you do,” he said. “It will help you focus, stay calm and collected, and improve your energy.”
“I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” — Thomas Jefferson
- Set goals – Start with simple goals and then progress to longer range goals. Remember to make your goals realistic and achievable. It’s easy to get frustrated and give up if your goals are too ambitious.
For example, if you haven’t exercised in a while, a short-term goal might be to walk 10 minutes a day five days a week. Even short amounts of exercise can have benefits. An intermediate goal might be to walk 30 minutes five days a week. A long-term goal might be to complete a 5K walk.
- Be flexible – Making exercise a priority doesn’t mean you need a rigid schedule. A study Dr. Milkman and some colleagues published in 2020 found that giving yourself flexibility to meet your goals might boost your chance of success. In the study the people who’d been given flexibility ended up going more often to workout when the group on the rigid program missed their planned workout, they didn’t go at all, whereas the group that had practiced finding the time continued to do so, Dr. Milkman said.
If you’re too busy to work out or simply don’t feel up to it, take a day or two off. Go easy on yourself if you need a break. The important thing is to get back on track as soon as you can.
- Make it fun – Find sports or activities that you enjoy, then vary the routine to keep it interesting. If you’re not enjoying your workouts, try something different. Join a volleyball or softball league. Take a ballroom dancing class. Check out a health club or martial arts center. If you like to work out at home, look online for videos of many types of exercise classes, such as yoga, high-intensity interval training or kickboxing. Or take a walk or jog in a local park. Discover your hidden athletic talent or interests.
- Be your best friend & anticipate how exercise will make you feel – It’s tempting to think you’re too stressed or tired to exercise, but oftentimes exercise is exactly what you need to feel better. “You don’t need to feel good to get going, you need to get going to feel good”. Exercise can help you manage your moods, when you’re feeling lousy, sometimes exercise is a powerful antidote. “When I get really frustrated, I find that’s a good time to take a walk.” Engage in a positive self-talk. If you think you dread exercising, have a little chat with yourself, but do so as if you’re speaking to someone else. Giving yourself a pep talk in the second person is more effective than talking in the first, according to a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology. The study revealed that “second-person self-talk strengthens both actual behavior performance and prospective behavioral intentions more than first‐person self‐talk,” and is, therefore, more effective.
- Put it on paper or/and use fitness Apps – Are you hoping to lose weight? Boost your energy? Sleep better? Manage a chronic condition? Write down your goals. Seeing the benefits of regular exercise and writing your goals down on paper may help you stay motivated. You may also find that it helps to keep an exercise diary. Record what you did during each exercise session, how long you exercised and how you felt afterward. Recording your efforts and tracking your progress can help you work toward your goals and remind you that you’re making progress. Now we have those fitness apps that may connect you with other active humans like Strava or Training Peaks.
- Join a community or find a good coach – Perhaps you don’t like to exercise alone, or you think buying a monthly gym membership is a long-term commitment you’re not quite ready for. If so, make a short-term commitment in the meantime. There are many benefits to group class exercises, such as getting accountability partners and diversified workouts. And trying out a class may just be the thing that helps you get over an exercise slump.
Find a Good Coach or a workout buddy that is fitter than yourself, the saying “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” applies to keeping oneself motivated to exercise. The fact is, training with a workout buddy or a Coach who you perceive to be fitter can motivate you to train longer and more intensely by as much as 200%.
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” — Thomas Edison
- Reward yourself – After each exercise session, take a few minutes to savor the good feelings that exercise gives you. This type of internal reward can help you make a long-term commitment to regular exercise. Other Rewards can be in the form of a cheat day meal or new workout clothes you’ll love. This way, you feel good about yourself while reaping the benefits of exercise.
External rewards can help too. When you reach a longer-range goal, treat yourself to a new pair of walking shoes or new tunes to enjoy while you exercise.
“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” — Paulo Coelho
Raquel Torres is a USAT Certified Coach, Professional Triathlon Coach and Professional Triathlete. Raquel also writes blogs for several magazines and her team Athletic Mentors. Since May 2021 she contributes as a columnist with CNY Latino Newspaper. She shares true life stories with her experiences, also tips and tactics that helps anyone to be their best version. To read about her, head over to cnylatinonewspaper.com and search for her by her name. You can also send questions or comments about her column to the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org and go to her website at www.raqueltorres.org