Sometimes finding the motivation and energy to exercise is hard. We’ve all been there. The trick is to set yourself up for success from the start and use these 9 tips to get you in exercise mode before you even begin:
Chose a type of exercise that you enjoy
If you hate running, don’t join a running club and start training for a marathon. If you hate going to spinning classes, don’t sign up to the spin studio for a 10 week pass. Don’t start doing exercise, because you should, do exercise because you want to. This means different things for different people in terms of what exercise you choose, how often and how long you exercise and it’s important to figure out what this means for you. Many people start a running program because they should run, or their friend runs and then fall away without success because it is so un-enjoyable and just a daily task. Instead, choose the exercise that you like and will do consistently and that will allow you to push to achieve your goals.
Find an exercise buddy
Need the motivation of someone else to get you out the door? Find an exercise buddy and keep each other accountable. Call/email/text with encouragement and reminders of exercise time, and give a little tough love when one of you is falling by the wayside. You may let yourself down and not exercise, but you won’t let someone else down!
Set yourself a challenge
Always wanted to run a half marathon? Let’s get started. Always dreamed of doing a 30 day yoga challenge? Today is the day to start. Set yourself a challenge or a goal that is big and scary and something that will take work and dedication to get there, and then dig in and get started. It will be worth the reward in the end and will be a great motivator to keep you going when you are falling off track or the next time when you are sitting in the same position and wondering what you can use to motivate you forward.
Schedule it in
Make exercise a part of your schedule like you would a meeting or your dentist appointment. Put it in your agenda in pen, and if someone asks, no you aren’t available at that time. (Unless they want to come for a run with you!) Then set yourself up for success, and if need be, take your workout clothes with you to work, or put them in the car to go to your “appointment” on the way home. Better yet, put it on your calendar on the fridge, so that everyone else also knows you are busy at that time and doesn’t expect anything from you, but a sweaty return!
Commit to a group/club
Just like having an exercise buddy keeps you accountable, being part of an exercise group will also keep you accountable. Whether it is a running group, a yoga club, or a Sunday morning hiking group, sign yourself up and then show up. Every. Single. Time. Having other people count on you is a great motivator, because you will feel guilty to let them down and not play your role in the group. And eventually you will fell guilty for letting yourself down and not doing what you said you were going to do.
Get a class pass
Find a studio or gym in your area that offers classes and pay for a class pass, either for a certain number of classes or for a certain period of time. Once you pay for it, you’ll feel like you’re wasting money if you don’t go, and it will be a good motivator to get you out the door. Better yet, sign up with a friend and you can motivate each other, hang out at class together and get your fitness in all at the same time. Classes also offer the bonus of having a trained professional help you out with your exercise or class specific techniques, and are there to answer your fitness related questions. I love it when people come up and talk to me after class to ask questions or get help with specific things, so make the most of your class and teacher and put yourself out there. Most teachers will love your enthusiasm and be more than happy to help!
Try something new
Do you always run 5km? Try a 5km tempo. Try a 5km trail run. Better yet, try a cycling class or a yoga class that you have never been to before. Sometimes, failing to get our daily exercise in is because the thought of doing the same thing you’ve done for the last 193 days is just so unappealing. Change it up and do something new that you look forward to and are excited to try. Not only will it motivate you to get out the door, but it is also good for your body to mix up your exercise routine: it helps prevent injury and it allows you to work new and different muscle groups that sometimes get forgotten when you are used to doing the same thing every day.
Buy something new
There’s nothing to motivate you like a new workout outfit you are dying to get into and show off. The next time you achieve one of your exercise goals, or exercise consistently for a specific number of days, reward yourself with some new workout clothes or some new equipment. Not only do you deserve it for achieving your goals, but it will make you want to workout again the next time so that you have a reason to use it. Better yet, choose some new equipment that you have used in your classes or at the gym and then try working out at home and using what you have learned!
Exercise in the Morning
Exercise before anything else. Before there are any excuses of why you can’t before it gets pushed aside on your schedule and as some say, before you are even awake enough to realize what you are doing or convince yourself otherwise. Exercising in the morning not only gets it done, but it also energizes you for the day and sets you up with a productive, healthy mindset: you started your day off with exercise, now you aren’t going to sabotage it later with being lazy and eating unhealthy. Hopefully not anyway! Set your alarm, get up and get it done. Trust me, you’ll be thankful later!