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5 Tips for Motivating Yourself to Workout
By Ben Smith
Getting into and staying committed to a workout routine can be hard! We’ve compiled a few tips to help you get on the right path:
Make it convenient: If getting committed to a workout regimen were easy, everyone would do it. It seems that as a society, we’re busier than ever. With online shopping, delivery services, and mobile apps, we’re trained to expect convenience. So anything you can do to make getting to the gym easier is going to up the chances that you’ll stick with it.
If you’re a morning workout person (or if you’re not and need to become one!) put your workout gear and breakfast out the night before. Find a class time that really fits in your busy schedule. Some simple, easy things that make working out more convenient are often all it takes.
Set realistic goals: In life, we’re constantly told to dream big, set huge goals, and to go for the win. That’s great, but when it comes to fitness, it’s better, and safer, to set more realistic goals. You probably see it all the time…your co-worker sets a lofty goal to lose 50 pounds. He’s super pumped and has committed to hitting the gym 6 days a week. But after 2 weeks, he’s totally fallen off the bandwagon. It happens.
If you want to lose 50 pounds, break it up into smaller, more attainable chunks. Commit to getting in a workout 2 to 3 times a week and drinking more water – and do this over a smaller time frame, say 3 weeks. Then re-set your expectations and goals for the next few weeks. You’ll enjoy being able to say you set and met goals, making it much more likely that you’ll stick with your plan for the long-haul.
Make connections with others: It can be intimidating for some, but building relationships with the people you see at the gym every day or in your favorite class can be a great source of support. Your goals might not be the same, but you’re all there for a reason and that support network is very motivating. Most people also find their gym time becomes not only a great workout, but a healthy and much-needed social outlet. In fact, read about our June member of the month and how one of her favorite things is seeing the people in her 5:30 AM class every day.
Reward yourself: People are motivated by different things. For some, all it takes is putting a photo of themselves in a former, fitter life on their bathroom mirror….or simply knowing they’re doing something good for their overall health. For the vast majority of people, though, it can take a bit more. Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, suggests you make the benefits of working out more tangible. This can be as simple as getting your favorite coffee drink or allowing yourself an hour to watch your favorite (and admittedly, embarrassing) reality show.
Duhigg describes creating a neurological “habit loop”. This involves a cue (setting out your gym gear) to trigger a specific behavior (going to workout), and then a reward. “An extrinsic reward is so powerful because your brain can latch on to it and make the link that the behavior is worthwhile,” he explains. “It increases the odds the routine becomes a habit.”
After using this process for a while, the motivation becomes intrinsic as the brain begins to associate sweat, discomfort and other feelings with a surge of endorphins. The endorphins are those happy brain chemicals that are responsible for that rush you feel when you finish up a great workout. Over time, this process trains your brain that the workout itself is the reward, and you won’t even want or need the treat you’ve been giving yourself.
Use the right gear: Choosing the right workout gear is so important! Being dressed properly will keep you warm or cool, comfortable, confident and safe. If you don’t have enough support in your shoes, you run the risk of injuring yourself or getting painful blisters. Dressing too warmly for hot weather can cause you to overheat and even pass out. The right workout clothing and shoes is more than just a fashion statement, it’s a necessity for a safe and comfortable workout, which is going to keep you motivated to go back for more!