Motivation is of utmost importance when it comes to exercise and fitness.
But uuuuuuugh. What if you are just not motivated to hit the gym or running track every day? What if you don’t like your current exercise routine? What if you lack the needed discipline?
As a matter of fact, even the most well-disciplined athlete can struggle with motivation—especially during low moments of training. In most cases, as you already know, lack of motivation means that you’re doomed.
That’s why, if you are serious about making your fitness vision a concrete reality, you gonna need a little kick in the butt to get you motivated in both the short and the long term.
But here is the good news. Today, I’ve put together a list of 37 ways to motivate yourself to exercise. These will definitely help you build gargantuan motivation for training and fitness.
Pick and choose to your own delight. Just let me know which ones work well for you.
So, are you ready?
Then here we go.
1. Find Your Big Why
You need to have a big enough of a “why” to keep you going strong—through both the peaks and valleys. The good and the bad. Etc.
Why? Well having a big why can help increase your motivation, ground yourself in your goals and stay on the right track.
All of these are crucial for success.
So, what is your motivation?
Why do you do what you do?
Why do you want to exercise more regularly?
Why do you want to get fit?
Do you want to lose weight?
Do you want to eat healthily?
Think about these questions for a few minutes, then make a detailed list of the reasons you want to accomplish your fitness goals.
For more, be sure to write your list with a pen in your journal. Then, review it on a weekly basis.
2. Plan your Training Schedule in Advance
“Action expresses priorities.” Mahatma Gandhi
In our lives, what gets done is what’s prioritized. And the best way to give your fitness priority is to plan your workout schedule in advance. This will definitely take the guesswork out of your workouts for good.
So, set at least a half an hour each week to jot down your plan of attack, whether during the weekend, at the start of every month, or every Monday.
Make sure to plan, to the letter, the type of workout, date, time and place of each session in your daily calendar.
This, in fact, can be the best 30 minutes time investment you’ll ever spend on your health and fitness.
I usually do mine every first Monday of the month. Some of my friends do theirs on Saturday every week. Different people, different strokes.
For an average month, you might go for a total of 15 to 20 workouts, depending on your schedule and training goals, of course.
Next, schedule your workouts the way you do with your social events and work meetings.
The best way to keep a training schedule is to use a pen and training journal, organizing your time using a weekly planner.
Feel free to use software and apps such as MS Outlook, Google Calendar, and Business Calendar
Just whatever you do, pick a scheduling tool that’s in line with your unique preference and personal circumstances.
3. Hold Yourself Back
This is a huge secret I stumbled upon a while ago, and it can do wonders to your fitness motivation—especially if you are just starting out.
When you’re taking your first few steps on the exercise path—whether it’s running, weight lifting, biking, you name it—you need to hold yourself back.
In other words, do not do too much too soon.
It’s pretty easy to get exhausted without really accomplishing anything important. In fact, you might end up hurting yourself if you fall into the “too much, too soon” trap.
As a result, please ditch your all-or-nothing attitude. Do not do any type of ridiculously tiring workouts that leave you almost unable to move afterward.
As a beginner, your main goal is to get fit without getting hurt. Otherwise, you’re doing your health a big disservice.
Instead, whatever type of exercise program you plan on following, make sure to always leave yourself wanting more, accomplishing 60 to 80 percent of what you feel capable of doing.
4. Set The Right Goals
The fastest way to burn yourself out is by setting unrealistic and impractical goals.
For instance, if your goal is to become a full marathoner in three months without any previous experience, or it’s losing 20 pounds in one month, you’ll be, regretfully, setting yourself for a huge setback.
So, please do not let your goals run wild. Instead, set realistic goals. This is one of the strongest predictors of long-term fitness success.
For more on that, check my full guide here.
With all that being said, I’m not discouraging you from dreaming big. Of course, goals have to be challenging. But they must also be set within the realm of possibility.
In other words, set goals that are a stretch, but not an overreach.
Examples of practical and realistic fitness goals include being able to run for 30-minutes straight in a couple of months, losing one pound a week, weight training three times a week, etc.
Furthermore, make sure to make your goals clear. Success does not tolerate fogginess.
If your goals lack clarity and direction, you’ll end up running in circles, going nowhere in the process.
So, once you’ve your goals, make sure to clearly define your fitness vision, mission, and strategy.
This can only happen by getting clear on what you need to do to make things happen—have a concrete and action-oriented action plan.
5. Break it Into Mini Goals
What’s the best way to eat an elephant? Well, one bite at a time, as the old adage says.
Chances are you’re more likely to accomplish your ultimate goal—whatever it might be—if you break it down into short-term, mini, manageable goals.
Or else, you’ll feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of the challenge you’ve on your hands. A big that’s too challenging is also intimidating, and might be hard to pull off.
So, what’s the ideal mini goal?
Well, in my opinion, your mini goals are the day-to-day, specific behaviors, and actions that will, eventually and ultimately, lead you to achieve your ultimate fitness vision.
Think of your workout routines as mini goals, for instance. Or, if your goal is to lose 50 pounds, then a mini, realistic weight loss goal of one pound of body fat every week is fine benchmark to shoot for.
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6. Turn your Goals into Pictures
Post a picture, or a visual representation of your fitness goals, somewhere visible where you can see it on a daily basis.
I recommend two methods:
- Use Post-it® Note for the task. Here is how
Take three to five Post-It notes then jot down your top fitness and health goals. Make sure that each goal is a few words long, just like a mantra. Weight train three times a week, for instance.
Other examples include:
- Losing an X amount of pounds,
- Developing healthy eating habits,
- Improving running performance,
- Increasing total body strength,
- Getting more quality sleep,
Next, print out your fitness goals in big words. Then, post them up on your refrigerator, computer desktop, your wall, or at work, if it’s all possible.
You can also write cryptic notes if you want to keep your goals private. That’s something I have done in the past, but I also found that making my goals public can help.
- You can also make a visual representation of your goals. And here is how.
Find a fitness magazine photo (like a model with toned abs, for instance) or go online to get a picture that represents the type of results you’re after, then set the picture as your home page or desktop image.
That way you can see it on a daily basis.
7. Write and Rewrite your Goals
The act of setting fitness goals once then forgetting about them is not enough. It might be, in reality, counterproductive.
Setting your goals is the first step on your journey. Rewriting and reviewing is the rest of the steps of the trip. You’ll need to make constant tweaks and changes in order to reach your destination
In other words, goal setting is a skill. To get good at it, you gonna have to practice it on a consistent basis. You have to write down your goals every day—even if the whole process seemed to be repetitive at times
The more often your rewrite your goals, the more refined and clear your goals will likely be.
Not only that, but reviewing your goals regularly can remind of what you want to achieve.
And the good news is that this whole process does not take a long time. All you need is just a few minutes—preferably early in the morning or just before you doze off to sleep.
8. Draft a Contract
Drafting a contract might sound a little bit out there, but it can boost your motivation like nothing else.
This is especially the case if you are serious about doing whatever it takes to make your fitness goals a concrete reality.
Thus, draft a fitness (and health) contract with yourself.
Inside of contract, make sure to include the following:
- Your long term goals
- Your short terms goals
- Your exact action plan
- A list of your excuses
- Rewards and punishments
- Date at which you should reach your fitness goals.
- Your signature and the date of signature
Next, hold yourself accountable to doing what needs to be done in order to apply the terms of the contract in your daily life.
An awesome online tool you can use is StickK.com. This an online platform for drafting informal contracts that help accomplish goals and develop healthy habits for good.
9. Build a support system
Embarking on a new fitness program often stems for an individual motivation, but, all in all, you don’t have to venture down the path completely alone.
Sooner or later, you’ll need a support system of people to share your success, challenges, and failures with.
As a matter of fact, research shows that building a support system that includes members of your family, friends, colleagues and workout buddies can boost your motivation and increase your odds of success.
So, instead of plodding along alone, build a supportive cast of encouraging and like-minded people. Your support system could be comprised of your family, friends, colleagues, or go online.
Better, seek the help of experts. They can offer you guidance, coaching, kind words and a shoulder to cry on—if you ever needed one.
10. Surround Yourself With Healthy People
According to Jim Rohn, the legendary motivational speaker, you are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.
This might be the golden nugget here.
If you take anything from me today, take this one.
You are only as fit, healthy, rich, (whatever), as the people you surround yourself with. In fact, I’d go as far as to claim that your tribe has the highest leverage on the type of results you get.
Why you might ask?
Thoughts are contagious. Beliefs are contagious. Mindsets are contagious. For better and worse. The healthy thoughts. And the not-so-healthy.
For instance, if you surround yourself with negative and unhealthy people, you’ll, eventually, adopt their mindsets, becoming like them in the process. And vice versa.
Fitness is not an exception. According to research published in Psychology of Sport and Exercises, workout habits of people of your social network have a huge impact on your own exercise habits.
As a result, make sure to surround yourself with other active people, whether they are runners at your local running club, training buddies at the gym, health-conscious colleagues, etc.
Said otherwise, if you want to get fit and stay that way, then hang out with fitter people.
11. Get a Workout Buddy
According to research, peering up with training buddy might be your answer for all of your fitness motivation prayers.
Having a training buddy keeps you honest—for both the short term and the long. In fact, a workout buddy can provide you with a mix of accountability, competition, and support that can virtually ensure success.
So, get out there and look for someone to peer up with. Ask everyone. Your family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. You can also join a local sports club, or go online to find the perfect match.
Just make sure that you guys share similar fitness goals and have the same fitness level. Otherwise, peering up with them can be a distraction, even a hindrance to your progress and motivation.
12. Make a Public Commitment
If you want to use peer pressure to the max, then make your goals public.
Of course, this does not work for everyone, and with every goal you might have.
But at least, consider doing so with a few of your goals. Some research shows that people who open up about their goals and make a public commitment are much more likely to see their goals to full fruition.
By doing so, you’ll be making it difficult on yourself to give up on your training plan, which can increase the odds of long-term consistency.
That’s, in essence, a powerful leverage tool.
So, share your goals with your family members, friends, co-workers, online buddies, then keep them updated on your progress.
Also, you can broadcast your fitness goals on Twitter and Facebook.
Nevertheless, there is a downside to this technique. As a rule of thumb, I strongly urge you to not share your fitness goals and commitments with unsupportive and negative people. They will only try to bring you down with their negative arguments and energy.
13. Set an Accountability System
As I have previously mentioned, peer pressure is a powerful tool.
It is one of the most underused and misunderstood strategies for increasing motivation. By having an accountability system, you’ll be setting the right environment for success.
But that’s not the whole story. The best way for setting an accountability system is to share your goals with your support system while asking them to hold you accountable for your actions.
So, instead of just sharing your goals, ask your support system members to hold you accountable for your action. Create short feedback loop.
Have regular check-ins with your support system, or with just a friend.
This can be a weekly accountability phone call with a friend, a mentor, a coach or a personal trainer.
You can also use an app, like Fitocracy, to compete against people you don’t know while holding yourself accountable.
Furthermore, to get more out of this strategy, set consequences—meaning punishments—in case you didn’t follow through your plan.
In other words, put money on the line. This is a great incentivize.
Use online betting systems like DietBet.com or Pact app.
So, if you miss the mark, you’ll lose money from your own pocket.
If you are short on money, then use other non-monetary punishments. For example, you could bet on doing chore tasks, cleaning public toilets, doing assistance work for a charity you hate, etc.
14. Have a Killer Playlist
What motivates me the most while working out is, hands down, music. In fact, I often exercise just to have enough time to listen to music.
And research agrees. According to this study, listening to music while working out can improve mood, boost athletic performance, and increase consistency.
Consequently, create your own personal killer workout playlist with all the songs that you like.
To make the most out of, opt for music within a certain tempo: roughly 120 to 140 bpm, or beats per minute.
Also, don’t forget to update your playlist on an ongoing basis to keep it fresh. Nobody loves listening to the same tracks over and over again—that’s the recipe for boredom.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of putting up a playlist together, then hit YouTube or use Spotify. They have some wonderful selection of workout playlists.
15. Go for Workouts you Like
I love running, and I run on a regular basis all year-round. For me, running helps me reduce stress, frees up my mind, and grants me some alone time.
Thus, since I love running so much, I don’t, typically, struggle to hit the road, and truth be told, I seldom feel like skipping a workout.
That’s why I highly recommend that you find an exercise routine that you look forward to doing. Once you find one, then chances are you won’t be skipping it.
Try out a different exercise program, like Yoga, Kickboxing, swimming, Zumba, CrossFit, you name it.
16. Reward Yourself Often
Research shows that rewards are responsible for roughly 75 percent of why we do things. And that’s huge if you ask me.
Therefore, reward yourself whenever you reach a mini goal or accomplish something on your to-do list. Plan your treats in advance—that way you’ll be able to remove the confusion from the equation.
Here is how.
Write down a long list of your mini goals—see tip for that.
Then, write down a suitable reward or treat for every mini goal. And by suitable I mean, it’s suitable to (1) the size of the goal ( for example, don’t reward completing a 45-minute weight lifting session with a long vacation in Paris).
And (2) does not compromise your ultimate goal—so, for instance, if you’re trying to lose 30 pounds of body fat, don’t reward a short run with a dessert binge. You’ll only sabotage your results.
Next, set checkpoints for yourself and treat yourself to something you like once the activity is completed.
Rewards are a good thing, as long as they satisfy these two important conditions.
Here are a few rewards to consider:
- Go someplace special
- Have a long nap
- Take a long shower
- Dine at a fancy restaurant
- Go to the movies
- Netflix your favorite show for an entire evening
- Read fiction
- Get new workout gear
17. Get a Coach
If you can afford it, then I highly recommend you get a coach or mentor to work with.
This is especially the case if you feel like you’re in it way over your head and need some direction.
Here are a few perks of having a personal trainer:
- Provide you with a structure for your training.
- Provide you with the tools you need to break through some of your emotional barriers.
- Teach you correct form
- Help avoid those common technique mistakes that might sabotage your training.
- Hold you accountable for your progress, improve your consistency and speed up your fitness gains—all of which can do wonders to your fitness motivation.
Said otherwise, a personal trainer can help you refine your fitness skills.
Of course, not everyone can afford a personal trainer. In fact, hiring a personal trainer may be one of the most expensive ways of motivation yourself. But it’s worth the buck.
18. Keep a Training Journal
When it comes to setting your environment up for success, I cannot emphasize the importance of keeping a training journal.
So, set aside at least 5 to 10 minutes to write a journal entry on a daily basis.—preferably at the same time of the day, whether it’s early in the morning, at noon, or just before you go to bed.
You can do this right after rewriting and reviewing your daily goals, or just before setting your mini goals for the day.
Make sure to jot down the following:
- How you felt
- What mistakes and errors you made,
- Lessons learned during your workouts.
- Notes on what to improve next time,
Just whatever you do, make sure that the process of journaling is comfortable for you and that you are doing it on a consistent basis.
You can use a notebook, a journal just like this one, a computer program, an app or a website. In fact, you can even start your own blog to document your own personal fitness journey.
19. Chart your Progress
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”- Peter Drucker.
Getting on the fitness path is serious business.
So, treat it that way. Monitoring your progress is one of the most vital things you can do outside the gym.
Not keeping track on your progress (or lack thereof) is the recipe for stalled results. If you don’t have a straightforward system of monitoring your progress, it will be easy to forget about the little improvements you have made.
Here are some of the things you need to keep track of:
- Your weekly body weight,
- Your body measurements,
- Number of reps and sets along with the weight used on each exercise,
- Your weekly running mileage,
- Your daily calorie intake,
- Before and after pictures,
See, the list is almost endless. And it depends on you and your specific fitness and health goals.
Keep track of your progress using a training log or diary. Or you can also use apps like JEFIT, Fitocracy or Fitness to keep tabs on weights.
Websites like MyFitnessPal and Fitbit are also great resources and tools for keeping track.
20. Change your Physiology
Did you know that the way you hold your body has a huge impact on how you feel?
Well, now you know. Emotions, after all, are felt in the body. As a matter of fact, every emotion—be it a positive or negative experience—has a way of using your body that’s associated with it.
The good news is, your physiology has an impact on your internal body chemistry and your own emotional state.
For more icing on the cake, changing your physiology is a simple and straightforward strategy you can use to swiftly fire up your emotional circuits and engage your mental muscles.
In other words, by consciously changing your physiology, you’ll produce the desired emotional state.
So put this to your advantage.
Next time you are about to go for a workout, but you don’t feel like doing it, all you have to do is to adopt the physiology of excellence, moving, standing and breathing as if you felt a certain way.
In that way, your body will lead your mind.
Here are the main traits of the physiology of excellence:
- Stand tall,
- breathe deep,
- feel the ground beneath you,
- pump out your chest.
- Walk slowly in a confident manner.
- Keep your head held high with the posture relaxed, and back flat.
- Do not look at the ground.
- Do not slump over, breathing shallowly and frowning.
21. Use Imagery
What the mind can perceive, it can achieve.
This might sound like the clichiest thing to say in the world, but actual research has reminded us, over and over again, the importance of vivid mental imagery when it high peak performance (in all areas of life).
In fact, psychologists claim that success in life may lie down to your ability to visualize your goals. Seeing is believing, said otherwise.
Accordingly, put positive imagery to your advantage.
And here is how:
First and foremost, before you can make your goal a reality, have an idea of what it looks like, or at least, what it should look like. Next, sit down, every day, for at least 10 to 15 minutes, and visualize, to the letter, the exact outcome you are after.
You can also come up with a vision board, by creating and saving pictures that represent this “desired future.”
22. Turn your Shoulds into Musts
This is a neat trick I learned from Tony Robbins, the legendary self-help coach.
And here is what’s it all about:
The language we use day-to-day has a huge impact on the way we feel and perceive the world.
One fine example is the difference between what we “should” do, and what we “must” do.
For instance, repeat with me the following sentences:
- I should eat healthy every day.
- I should wash the dishes.
- I should get enough sleep.
- I should stop texting my ex.
Now, say the following sentences:
- I must keep my job.
- I must pay my bills on time.
- I must protect my family from harm.
- I must breathe…
See, the “musts” feel, or at least should, feel slightly different.
So, for instance, when you say that you should lose weight and get fit, that is not a priority.
In fact, this little tweak might change your life. When you turn your fitness goals into urgent priorities, you’ll be doing everything in your power to make it happen.
By doing so, failure is not an option, and success will be as important as breathing.
So, turn your fitness goals from “should” into “must.”
Check this awesome clip from Tony Robbins
23. Use Affirmations
If you’re struggling with your fitness resolve, whether you’re having negative thoughts or you just lack confidence in your own abilities, then I highly recommend the use of daily affirmations.
Affirmations are specific, positive, and empowering statements that can help you overcome negativity, self-sabotage, etc.
The daily use of affirmation can start to gradually re-wire your inner mind, thus become more naturally motivated.
Not only that, but you can also use affirmations to gain a motivation boost when you feel like nothing is going right in your life.
Therefore, please start doing them today.
Here is a list of some of my favorite affirmations. Use them to help fuel your personal motivational needs.
- I am motivated to continue going after my fitness goals.
- I love fitness and exercise every day.
- I am motivated at all times to work out.
- I embrace success in all areas of life.
- I am becoming more and more motivated every single day.
- I find it easy to motivate myself and get myself in the right state of mind.
- My life is full of purpose and motivation.
- I feel motivated and am moving in the direction of my fitness dreams.
- I am a highly motivated person
- I am highly motivated, ambitious and driven
- I am always looked up to as someone with high energy, drive, and motivation
24. Find your Mantra
In essence, a mantra is a word, phrase, or even a sound, repeated over and over again to enhance focus and improve performance.
They can be like short instructional phrases or affirmative statements like ‘run stronger” or “go further,” etc.
In my experience, mantras, along with affirmations, are the best way to stay positive and beat negative self-talk. They are exactly what you need to anchor you in your goals and get you to take action—especially when you’re feeling lazy, tired, or just slacking.
Here is a few of my favorite mantras. Use them and make them your own.
- Be like water
- I can!
- No tears, only dreams
- Strong as steel and light as a feather
- Light and smooth.
- Just one more mile.
- Earn the burn!
- Just stay calm.
- I feel good, I feel great!
- As it gets harder, I get stronger.
- Focused. Relaxed.
- “I can!”
25. Remember your Successes
In a busy and competitive world, it’s easy to forget about what we have done right and focus instead on what’s missing. And that’s a great travesty.
Your past success memories can serve as proof that you can achieve what you are after. You can use them as a psyching tool to keep yourself focused on your fitness vision—especially when you feel like all odds are stacked up against you.
Of course, this does not mean that you should pack your things up and live in the past, but at least, tap into your past experiences and use them in a positive manner.
So, regardless of how small or big, be sure to keep tabs of your success.
Take a trip down memory lane and cherish your past victories every now and then. Use a journal of some kind to keep tabs on them as it’s really easy to overlook our past achievements.
26. Act Like it
This is an excellent tool I picked up from the world of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). And in essence, it’s the good old fake it until you make it tactic.
According to the “act as if” principle, it’s possible to manifest outer circumstances and conditions by acting “as if” they already happened.
By “acting as if” you already have something you want (even though you might not feel like doing it), you’ll create the conditions for it to manifest in your life with greater ease and possibility. There is nothing spooky about it.
For instance, we can feel happy by acting as if we are already feeling happy (even if we are miserable as f**).
Therefore, if you’re not feeling motivated to exercise, simply pretend that you are extremely driven and enthused to get going. Act as if you do, then proceed with the faking it all the way to the gym or running track.
By doing so, you’ll find it that you actually start to feel motivated for the workout.
Of course, this tactic might seem superficial and based on magical and unscientific reasoning, but I still think you should give it a try and see for yourself.
27. Use the Stick
Humans are not that complicated when it comes to motivation. We are either motivated by the things we want—the carrot, or by the things we don’t want—the stick.
And research shows that pain is actually much more of a stronger motivator. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that fear is one of the strongest motivators that there is.
Therefore, let fear give your motivation the boost it needs.
If you are genuinely worried about what’s going to happen if you don’t take good care of your health, then you’ll feel more compelled into doing what must be done to get the results you are after.
To use the stick, ask yourself the following question:
What is the cost (physical, emotional, social and health wise) of failing to see your fitness resolution to fruition?
What are you standing to lose by not getting fit?
What are the consequences of leading an unhealthy life?
Next, write down your answers and revisit them on a daily basis.
You gotta scare yourself a bit here. Just whatever you do, DO NOT freak out. In fact, doing so will cause more harm than good. And it will never help.
An overdose of fear can, and will always, lead to paralysis. That’s why you need to “administer” the right dose—not too much, and not too little.
28. Make Death Your Ally
Death is the only fact of life that’s universally applicable to all of us. It is the absolute reality of existence. Sooner or later, everyone will die.
And once you’re dead, all of your deeds, friends, successes, failures, joys, sorrow, goals, setbacks and just about everything which you now you hold dear will be rendered irrelevant.
It’s also what gives life meaning.
That’s why, for most people, holding death close to mind is such a motivating tool.
It is the perfect reminder that our time is limited, and we only have so many moments on this planet.
Hence, I strongly believe that death can be a force of motivation to be reckoned with.
By doing so, you’ll remember that every single present moment in your life is completely priceless.
If anything, the fact of your imminent death can create a sense of urgency like nothing else. This one piece of motivation you’ll need to add more urgency to your life.
29. Exercise for Health, Not Just Weight Loss
The best way to lose weight is to exercise regularly and follow a sensible and healthy diet.
But that’s not the whole story.
Regular exercise benefits go beyond the scale. And if you are only working out to slim down, then you are not seeing the big picture.
So, please get a bird’s eye view of the situation when it comes to exercise. Think about what you’ll get out of it in terms of fitness, health, and overall well-being level.
According to research, regular exercisers can help you:
- Reduce the risks of chronic diseases,
- Strengthen your body,
- Decrease your risk of heart disease,
- Strengthen your immunity system,
- Improve productivity,
- Add years to your life,
- Fight off mental problems, like depression and anxiety,
- Boost your endurance and strength,
The list of benefits is almost endless. And weight loss is just one among many.
So, don’t lose sight of the big picture here.
30. Leave your Comfort Zone
Real growth happens outside of the comfort zone. In fact, the only way for you to grow is to step outside of your comfort zone. It’s your ability to do so that determine your results.
If your current fitness routine is in the rut, you might need to break from your comfort zone and try something new.
Do something you have never dared do before. Do something that you typically would not do.
Try hiking, kickboxing, CrossFit, Zumba workouts, P90X, cycling. The list goes on.
Or, try something that scares you the most—the fact is, you might just end up enjoying it. Who knows!
Also, try getting into competition. Race, or participate in an obstacle course like Tough Mudder, and Warrior Dash.
31. Compare Yourself with Yourself
Being competitive is a good thing, but when you start comparing yourself to others, you might end up doing more harm than good. You’ll be setting yourself for one setback after the other.
As a matter of fact, this is something we all do: we look at the guy (or girl) next door is doing or having and we wish we were doing or having that too. And all this is doing is make us feel bad.
There will always be someone who is fitter, stronger, faster and more athletic. You really can’t have it all. And you shouldn’t be striving for it.
Therefore, instead of comparing yourself to other people, build the habit of comparing yourself to yourself.
Yes, it’s a skill that requires practice, patience, and time, to fully develop. But, by building this habit, you’ll learn how to keep the focus on you. On your own achievements. On your own results. And nothing else.
In the grand scheme of things, that’s what matters the most.
32. Be Grateful
Being able to exercise is a true gift that you should never take for granted. Just think about the last time you were sidelined by injured and couldn’t go for your 5-mile run. It sucks, doesn’t it?
But here is the thing: Gratitude is a conscious decision. It does not happen on its own.
For that reason, grab a little notebook and start jotting down the things you are grateful for. Begin with the obvious and build it up from there.
These might include:
- Having a family that supports you,
- Being able to work out (many people cannot due to serious health issues),
- Having a roof over your head,
- Being able to read these words,
- Waking up this morning,
- Getting to work on time,
- Having enough money in your bank account,
- Not living in a war zone,
The possibilities are almost endless.
33. Take a Recovery Week
Taking a day off the training wagon is crucial for both performance and workout motivation. So, it’s a vital element of long-term progress and success.
But, what’s the link?
Training, especially high-intensity training can put a lot of stress on your muscles, tendon ligaments, joints and the nervous system.
By taking time off, you’ll give space for your body to repair damaged muscle tissues, helping you feel fresh and ready in the process.
So, please avoid workout burnout. Otherwise, your motivation and consistency will suffer.
Schedule a recovery week every fourth or fifth week of intense training. Do it in a periodic manner, and you’ll always come on top.
During the recovery week, you’re not allowed to run, lift, or do anything at all. You only need to go on walks and mind your diet.
Of course, this rule is not written in stone. And it depends on a broad range of factors, including your fitness goals, fitness level, training intensity, physiology, age, schedule, etc.
But once you start respecting your body’s need of recovery, you’ll always come out on top.
To reduce the risks of overtraining, check my two posts here and here.
34. Make it a Habit
For those of you looking to make exercise consistent for life, look no further than turning your workout routine into a habit.
Our life is, after all, the sum of our habits.
In fact, we humans are creatures of habit by default. And we tend to repeat 95 percent (and that’s a conservative estimate) of the same physical and mental patterns
What makes the different is the type of habits we choose—consciously or outside of our realm of awareness—to build.
And yes, you can make a conscious decision to turn your exercise into a daily habit.
If you are fit and healthy, that’s the result of your habits.
If you’re unhappy and completely out of shape, that’s, also, the result of your habits.
See, habits are the building blocks of our everyday experiences.
And here is the 5-step process to forming a long-life exercise habit.
- Set a fixed schedule for your exercise
- Turn your workout into a ritual
- Prepare your environment for success
- Work out on a regular basis. Consistency is vital in carrying you forward. Skipping workout does the quite the opposite.
- Commit to 90 days—not 30 days. Research shows that it can take up to 8 to 12 weeks to form a long-life lasting habit.
35. Stop Waiting for the Perfect Moment
When it comes to starting a fitness routine, or anything else in life, waiting for the right moment to kick things off is the recipe for disaster.
In the real world, you’ll never feel motivated or inspired enough to do the work that needs to be done.
So, if you just sit on the couch the whole day and wait for a miracle to grant you the energy you need to push through, then you might end up waiting for the rest of life.
That’s why you need to get started anyway, despite the lack of motivation.
You can do this by taking one small step at a time. By just focusing on taking that one step, you’ll be forcing your motivation to start to catch up with you.
You might, for example, tell yourself that you’ll only work out for 15 minutes. When that is done, take another step the next day and focus only on that until it is done.
36. Don’t Give up
Fall down seven times, get up eight, as the famous Japanese saying goes.
In my experience, fitness motivation is a fleeting mistress. It comes and goes. You cannot confine it.
This whole thing is, in essence, a matter of trial and error. Making mistakes, and falling off the fitness wagon is 100 percent normal.
Even if you feel like all the odds are stacked against you, and don’t have a drop of motivation in you today, or this week, don’t throw the towel.
Nothing happens overnight. Except for failure. Failure can take you by surprise and pull the rug under you without you even noticing anything going wrong until it’s too late.
All you have to do is to take action, set the right conditions, then hope for the best.
So, please whatever you do, do not give up. When all else fails, just keep on going. It’ might just take you a few more tries and attempts before you make it to the end goal.
Keep on going strong toward achieving your goals. That’s what matters in the long term—not just some hacks and tactics you picked up from a blog or website.
Instead, stick it with it for the long term.
37. Be patient
This might be the most important, yet the most elusive, fitness motivation boosting tactic on this entire list.
One of the biggest challenges we face today is that we expect instant results. In fact, we are deeply entrenched in short-term thinking, which is the by-product of unrealistic expectations.
But that’s not how it goes in the real world—especially in the fitness world. The silver bullet is an urban myth. I hate to break it to you, but it doesn’t exist.
To get fit, it will take you a relatively long time to start getting the type of results you are after.
So, please give this time. Think long term, and do your best to eliminate, or at least reduce, short term thinking from your life. You have the rest of your life to work on getting fit. And that might be a long time.
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