A little more than a month ago, someone from Healthline contacted me, asking if I was interested in publishing an article of my choice by one of their authors. During that period of time, I was around a month into working out and going to the gym, but knowing myself I knew that in around two months’ time I would probably be lazing around already… and to my dismay, I was right. To think I actually thought I was making progress to a better, healthier lifestyle! 😦
Thankfully, the article on “staying motivated to work out” was sent to me right on time. I should really resume eating clean and hitting the gym again (besides, I can’t let all my pretty workout clothes and shoes go to waste—plus I’m going to Cebu in around 2 weeks)…
Exercise: How to Stay Motivated
By Leslie Vandever
You know how it is.
You finally talk yourself into being serious about exercising. You’re going to do it every day—OK, almost every day, life gets in the way sometimes, it happens to all of us now and then—but you’ll jump right back in without missing any further beats. Exercise doesn’t do any good if it’s not consistent, right?
Right. So you buy those new cross-training shoes and some new exercise clothes, too (though you promise yourself that soon, you’ll buy much cuter ones that’ll show off your new, flab-free, lightly muscled, toned body, when you have one). You’re ready!
The first day is fabulous. You’re pumped and happy, except 20 minutes on the recumbent bike felt like it took an hour. But hey! Feel the burn!
Second day is pretty good. The bike’s boring and still takes forever, but the sauna feels heavenly on your sore muscles.
The third day, you force yourself to the gym, muttering about how much the membership cost. You climb on that horrible bike, grim-faced and wishing you were anywhere else. Like scrubbing the toilet, or filing that year-old stack of papers in your office.
Fourth day, you have a self-righteous rest. After all, it’s not healthy to exercise every day, is it?
Fifth day, you run out of time and never get near the gym. Oh, well. Some things just take precedence. Tomorrow you’ll go, for sure!
Sixth day, ditto. Besides, the scale says you gained a freaking pound. What’s that about?
Seventh day, you know you should go, but now you’ll just have to start all over again. So you don’t. Guilt descends like a dank fog. A week later you still haven’t shown your face at the gym, so you hide the new trainers in the back of the closet and eat some ice cream. With chocolate syrup. And sprinkles.
Hey, stop beating yourself up! We’ve all been there. Unless you’re the athletic type and actually enjoy exercise, making a mindless habit out of moving your body and working your muscles is almost impossible. There’s always something more important, fun, or interesting to do.
But you really do need to exercise. So how do you get yourself to not only start doing it, but to actually keep it up?
The secret is self-motivation—which is a lot different than self-discipline. Discipline implies punishment for failure, hence that nagging guilt.
Motivation, on the other hand, implies that there’s a good reason to do something. A future reward.
So the trick to motivating yourself to exercise is simple: remind yourself of the rewards you’ll eventually reap, such as:
- being able to look down and see your toes while standing up straight… a bigger thrill than you’d expect, actually
- improved overall health
- stronger muscles and bones
- better, more restful sleep
- people will say, “you look great!”
- controlling and maintaining your weight
- feeling lighter on your feet, which makes you feel lighter in your heart, too
- improved posture and balance
- reduced risk of getting type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
- reduced risk of cardiovascular (heart) disease
- reduced risk of some cancers
- lower risk of hip fracture
- possible weight loss and improved body-image
- increased self-confidence and a better self-image
- improved ability to do the things you need—and want—to do
- less wear-and-tear on your weight-bearing joints
- improved mood, fewer frown wrinkles, and a delightful sense of whimsy
These are just a few of the rewards you have waiting for you if you exercise regularly. When you start to lose your oomph and motivation, go over this list. Add a few your own personal rewards/motivators. And remember you’re not alone. We’re all in this thing called life together.
Leslie Vandever is a professional journalist and freelance writer with more than 25 years of experience. She lives in the foothills of Northern California where she enjoys writing for Healthline.
- Physical Activity and Health. (2011, Feb. 16) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved on June 2, 2014 from http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/health/
- Benefits of Physical Activity. (2011, Sept. 26) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved on June 2, 2014 from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/phys/benefits.html
So, what do you think? Did this post inspire you to work out today? I hope it did, because I know it inspired me (it also inspired me to do a series of posts on workout clothing, hmm…)! 😆
Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences on losing motivation to work out and getting back on track! I’d love to hear more tips from you guys, especially since I get so easily discouraged to work out. 😦