Are you wondering how to motivate yourself to exercise regularly? Firstly, know that it’s totally normal for your motivation to ebb and flow in all areas of life, but it’s surprisingly easy to lose your precious fitness mojo.
The problem is that true fitness is one of those things that can feel hard to establish but so easy to lose. When you are feeling fit and healthy, you’re flying. Yet once you’re out of that flow, it’s so easy to procrastinate about getting back into it… but get back into it you must! After all, regular exercise makes such a huge difference to your mood, energy levels and self-esteem. What’s more, 67% of vigorous exercisers report sleeping well every night, or almost every night – and that’s something we could all do with lately!
In the current climate working out is even more necessary. Life may well feel uncertain right now, and the ever-moving goal posts may be making it hard to plan anything much for the future. That’s why we all need extra hits of those mood-enhancing endorphins. Sure, motivation to exercise can be difficult to muster, but rest assured when you make the effort to work out regularly it will start to grow. The chances are it will spill over into other aspects of your life too.
The question is: how do you motivate yourself to work out frequently? We have some ideas for you. Read on for our top tips on working out when you don’t feel like it…
- Set some fitness goals in a daily planner or journal
One of the best ways to get your fitness motivation back is by writing fitness goals down. It has a funny way of making you feel more accountable, since you can’t keep convincing yourself that working out tomorrow is a better idea when your penned commitments are staring you in the face. A study done by Gail Matthews at Dominican University (California) found that people who wrote down their goals achieved significantly more than those who didn’t.
So why not start by setting realistic fitness goals in your journal, and plotting some activities in your planner? You could plot in a home workout one day, a class two or three days later, and a run a couple of days after that, for instance.
The sense of achievement once you’ve pushed through those familiar, repetitive excuses will be worth it. If you’re keeping a journal you could consider writing down the changes you notice in your energy levels, weight and physique to keep you coming back for more. This keeps your eyes on the prize while sharpening your urge to succeed.
- Get a friend to join you
Kick-starting your exercise routine might be as simple as getting a friend to join your workouts. It can be so much more fun to exercise with a friend, plus this way you’re more likely to feel guilty about pulling out or quitting halfway through. You and your friend will probably be able to laugh when you’re feeling the burn, instead of letting it put you off the way it can when you’re all alone with your exertion!
Another plus point is that working out with others opens up plenty more options for you, such as squash, tennis or badminton. You might want to spot each other in the gym, or keep each other company on jogs or bike rides. If you’re so inclined, make your exercise sessions competitive and you’ll have even more reason to push yourself. Monitoring your progress and beating personal bests gets a lot more interesting when you have someone to compare notes (or skills!) with.
- Put your money where your mouth is
A bit of self-bribery doesn’t hurt when it comes to getting your exercise motivation back. If possible, join a fitness club that offers top quality equipment and facilities that will entice you more often. If you’ve invested a reasonable monthly sum in it, all the better – nobody likes wasting their hard-earned cash, so you’re much more likely to work out more often if it has cost you something significant. If you don’t fancy the gym, why not buy yourself a multi-class yoga pass (ideally with an expiry dates) or a block booking of exercise classes?
- Mix your workouts up a bit
We may be creatures of habit, but excessive repetition can get dull fast. If you’re looking for ways to make workouts more fun, it’s a great idea to mix up your fitness activities. Besides, your body will respond better to variety, and your improved physique will prove it. If you’re a gym-goer, a personal training session or two might just spice things up a bit. Alternatively, try out a new sport.
If you’ve never done Thai boxing, yoga, climbing or Tai Chi, why not start now? The novelty factor should last a while, and if you take up more than one new sport you’ll soon feel the benefits... benefits that are vast and well documented! Aside from the more obvious ones, did you know that in combination with diet, exercise can even prevent hair loss?
- Improvise with home workouts
Depending on where you are in the world, your local fitness centres might be closed unexpectedly, and this is certainly frustrating… but don’t let it put you off. Sometimes it’s just that you don’t feel like walking to the gym in the rain, or driving in traffic to your class. None of these things have to prevent you from working out! Even if you don’t have the same equipment at home, a little ingenuity can freshen up your home workouts.
For example, you may not have dumbbells, but you can still lift weights using everyday items such as large water bottles or sand bags. Even your own bodyweight is surprisingly effective when you know what to do with it! High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is something you can do at home. By strategically timing your squats, lunges, push ups, planks and more, you can burn fat, kick-start your metabolism and improve your heart health and stamina all in one. The best part? You don’t even need to leave your lounge to get these perks.The bottom line is that usually the prospect of starting up exercise after a long break can feel worse than actually doing the exercise. That leaves you with one option: ignore the nagging doubts and put yourself squarely back in the game. Before you know it your exercise mojo will be back and you’ll be looking forward to your next workout. You can do it… and soon enough you’ll be very glad you did.