Optimizing your workout can help build strength and endurance, but exercise offers other important advantages as well.
Maintaining the appropriate mindset can make maintaining your workout routine much simpler. Imagine that brushing your teeth every morning: even though it might not be enjoyable, you still do it regularly for your own health and wellbeing.
1. Focus on your health
There are plenty of reasons to exercise, from long-term health advantages to positive effects for your children and the feeling of vitality from working out. Remembering this will help motivate you when it’s hard to motivate yourself into hitting the gym.
Avoid extrinsic motivations such as the carrot and stick approach – tempting yourself into exercising by promising tangible gains (“I’ll lose weight”) or punishing yourself by not exercising (“You’ll get fat”). Instead, focus on experiencing exercise for its own sake and enjoying its experience.
2. Make it a priority
An enjoyable fitness routine is key to remaining motivated when exercising. This could involve selecting an attire that makes you feel good or saving music, podcasts or audiobooks specifically for when you work out.
Prioritize exercise by scheduling it into your day just like any doctor’s appointment, to show that you value your health. Doing this sends the message that exercise is valued; over time it may help form healthy habits beyond just exercise. If your current workout does not suit you well, try something different or incorporate movement into everyday tasks instead – take the stairs instead of the elevator, for example!
3. Make it fun
Exercise as something to endure rather than enjoy can make it challenging to stay engaged, but there are ways you can make fitness fun!
Joining a gym or exercise class can make exercising into an eventful social event, providing accountability and motivating someone else when you feel tired or uninspired. Exercising with others can also help keep you accountable on days when your energy may flag, giving an extra push when exercising with someone.
Fun physical activities that double as exercise include jumping on a trampoline, mastering a viral dance from TikTok or playing laser tag with friends. Even playing basketball or tennis can burn calories while improving strength, balance and flexibility.
4. Make it a habit
Exercise may not always be easy to fit into our lives, but with consistent effort it can become part of a routine. The key is finding triggers like time of day or routine that make working out mindless and automatic.
Create an exercise calendar and sign a commitment contract like: “I promise to exercise on [DAY], [TIME OF DAY].” Track your progress using Polar’s app or by marking off checkmarks on your calendar; just remember that motivation won’t magically appear – you need to find ways of creating it yourself!
5. Make it a reward
Exercise is a lengthy and demanding process that takes time and dedication to succeed. Maintaining a workout regimen that feels like work can be tough, so it’s crucial that immediate rewards be included in the process.
If you’re having difficulty staying motivated to exercise, consider making exercise part of something you find enjoyable – for instance if watching television in the evening is part of your ritual, why not incorporate workouts as part of that activity.
Be wary of choosing treats that might hinder your efforts to meet health objectives, like sugary junk foods or alcohol – you want your rewards to remain as beneficial and positive as possible!
6. Make it a social event
Exercise can not only increase concentration and clarity of thought, but it can also be an excellent way to make new connections and widen your social circle. Exercising with others makes exercise more fun while motivating you to stick with your workout regimen.
Exercise routine alone. Enlisting friends to keep you accountable or enrolling in group classes to increase motivation; and push yourself harder toward new all-time bests!
7. Make it a competition
One effective strategy to increase exercise motivation is making exercise into a competition – just be sure that it remains healthy, such as competing only against yourself rather than other people. When completed successfully, crushing workouts will give a sense of achievement that can boost both confidence and self-esteem, both of which are necessary in everyday life.
One study demonstrated that social support and competition had similar effects on exercise behavior, but groups that combined both together performed even better – supporting Self-Determination Theory’s assertion that free choice behaviors are tied to more autonomous motivations.