5 Ideas for Motivating Yourself to Exercise

Once you’re exercising, you’ll feel pretty good. After you’re done, you’ll feel great. Before you start, however, your feelings may be less than positive. Exercise is one of the best parts of your life that you can procrastinate away, so figuring out a way to get started is the best way to make sure you keep going.

1) Make it the Only Option

If the first thing you see when you get out of bed is your workout clothes, you’re more likely to put it on. Don’t force decisions in the morning; your brain isn’t really tuned up for making choices. Think of your space as a cattle chute and guide yourself toward your workout. When it’s done, you can check it off. You’ve started your day with a success.

2) Scrunch the Time

Don’t have time for a 30 minute workout? Walk for ten minutes over your lunch break and 20 minutes after dinner. The benefits of exercise can be cumulative, so don’t stress about blocking out a big chunk of time when you don’t have them.

3) Start Small

If even 10 minutes is hard to come by, walk to complete a simple errand. Out of dish soap? Take a reusable bag and walk to the nearest convenience store or small grocery. If you live in an urban setting, there’s probably somewhere you can go to pick up one small thing. Make sure the “thing” isn’t ice cream.

4) Get Silly

If you’re at the gym and you’re worried about looking silly, keep an eye out for classes that are full of laughing folks. Unless you’re a professional dancer, Zumba and other movement classes should be fun. Take a class at a senior center and join the group for a chat after; many seniors have few folks to talk to and you can boost your health and your mood by connecting. Go skip rope with your kids. An exercise routine that feels like a punishment will not last.

5) Make a Date

If you’ve got a friend who’s also struggling to put together an exercise plan, you can turn them into an accountability partner. Try to match up with someone who you know will follow through, and try to connect with somebody who matches your humor. If you’re chatty in the morning, don’t work out with a sullen grouch. You will resent them and they will really dislike you. If this inadvertently happens, make sure you connect after work for a club soda and a laugh.

Working out can be fun. Moving your body through space will elevate your spirit. Make getting to your workouts easy. Strive to find classes and activities that will make you smile. Keep going!