How to stay motivated to exercise:
- Remember why you started
- Be prepared
- Make a schedule
- Set goals
- Find a workout buddy
- Download a fitness app
- Reward yourself
- Change your mindset
- Trick yourself
- Track your progress
If you find yourself struggling to get off the couch and hit the fitness goals you were enthusiastic about in January, you’re not alone. Losing motivation to work out is something everyone can relate to, and getting back on track is a natural part of most people’s fitness routines.
Getting to the root of why you want to exercise can help you set clear, achievable goals. If you haven’t been working out regularly, or have a particularly busy schedule, making the commitment to hit the gym between 2-4x per week is a great place to start.
Another reason people lose motivation is because they’re fueled by external rewards or results rather than the passion for doing an activity. This is called “obsessive passion,” which is linked to anxiety, depression, and burnout. Rather than fixating on a number on a scale or a certain body type, try to focus on finding enjoyment in the act of exercising.
Here’s how to get back on track & find motivation that lasts:
Remember why you started.
Taking the first step is always the hardest part. Find a way to tap into that motivation you felt at the beginning of the year and use it to your advantage—even when January is long gone and most have given up on their resolutions.
When you’re not prepared, you set yourself up for failure. Lay out your gym clothes and pack your bag the night before so you have less room for excuses in the morning. And when possible, get a full 7-9 hours of sleep. It’ll make a huge difference in being able to get up and go. Plus, a good night’s rest is great for your health, all on its own.
Make a schedule.
Everyone gets busy. While you don’t want to get stuck in a rut, it’s beneficial to create a schedule. Blocking out time for exercise will force you to stay on track and remind you to make it a priority instead of putting it on the backburner when other work starts piling up.
It may seem obvious, but setting goals for yourself is one way to guarantee you’re constantly reaching for something. Aim to work out a certain number of times a week or set a certain number of miles you want to run at one time. Your goal shouldn’t be your only motivation, but it can help keep you going.
Find a workout buddy.
Nothing will get you on your feet quicker than knowing you have someone counting on you to show up. Whether your workout buddy is a friend with similar goals or someone you met at the gym, having someone hold you accountable can be that extra dose of motivation you need. If that doesn’t feel doable, work out classes can also be a great way to keep yourself in the game–the combination of money and appointment is a great incentive.
Download a fitness app.
If your workout buddy is out of town and you need a little push, try a guided run on Nike Run Club or a zombie-fueled mission on Zombies, Run! If the weather is keeping you indoors, break out the Asana Rebel app and tap into your inner yogi or check out the 7 Minute Workout app! The more fun you have exercising, the more likely you are to stick with it.
Celebrate your wins, even if they’re small. Take yourself to a movie, go to a concert with a friend, or splurge on new gear you’ve been eyeing. You’ve earned it and you’re more likely to remember those wins the next time you’re struggling to keep going.
Change your mindset.
Exercise is hard, yes, but it’s also extremely rewarding. If you’ve always dreaded exercise, you’ll want to find ways to think more positively about it. Remember, you’re improving yourself and your lifestyle. Remain optimistic—even when you’re out of breath and the sweat is pouring down your face.
If your goal is to run four miles but you’re worried you won’t have the motivation to see it through, trick yourself into running two miles away from home so you’re forced to run two miles back. Just like that, you’ll have run four miles.
You can also try mixing things up and listen to podcasts or audiobooks to keep your interest when music isn’t enough anymore.
Another trick? Try a new exercise. If you’ve only ever done cardio, try hitting the weight room. If you’ve always lifted, maybe try a bike ride, going bouldering, or another activity that stretches you in a new way.
Track your progress.
It’s difficult to see changes in yourself over time, which is why tracking your progress is beneficial. Keep track of your times or personal bests and fitness wins. Before long, you’ll be able to look back and see just how far you’ve come.
Committing to fitness has physical and mental health benefits. At the end of the day, you’re doing something for yourself that will make you feel better, and that’s what’s most important.
NWPC is here to help you on your fitness journey. With resources, tools, and expert advice, let us help you stay motivated and hit your goals.