I know EXACTLY what it’s like:
“Oh no. It’s that time again. Ughhhh, why must I do this?”
Getting pumped up to exercise isn’t easy for most of us.
I mean sure, I’ve known plenty of people who enjoy working out. It’s as if they’ve escaped the womb, ready for boot camp.
Not me, though. And not most of the people I’m associated with.
But even though exercise motivation may be tough to come by, the truth is, the act of sticking with a well-rounded fitness program is both pleasant and rewarding. Being inspired on a regular basis is something to desire and strive toward.
So the question is, is it possible to motivate yourself to exercise?
I say it is (and again, remember that I’m not naturally motivated either). If I can find a way to keep up with my program, you can too.
I’ll share my secrets with you in the hopes that it’ll get you moving, even when you don’t feel like it.
3 Failproof Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise
The following tips are easy, simple and designed for everyone.
I’ve used them many times throughout the years, and they’ve never let me down.
When you aren’t feeling motivated to work out, there are ways to work with the resistance.
The idea isn’t to fight against yourself, but to allow for small amounts of activity to pick up momentum naturally. This is when the process becomes enjoyable.
There are a few ways to go about this. Try them out and see how they work for you.
The three failproof ways to motivate yourself to exercise are:
- Follow the Ten-Minute Rule
- Get Your Exercise Clothes On
- Watch Other People Exercise
I’ll go into more detail.
1. Follow the Ten-Minute Rule
The reason the ten-minute rule is so effective is because part of what stops us from exercising is that we’re looking at this huge mountain we have to climb, and it seems unpleasant and intimidating. When this is the approach, we (easily) find reasons to escape this obligation we’ve set for ourselves.
When you envision an hour or so of grueling activity that will make you feel pain, exhaustion, and intense labor, it’s easy to avoid it at any and all costs.
But if instead, we see something doable and realistic in front of us, we have no problem getting it started.
The ten-minute rule is designed to get you moving.
It works like this:
You set an intention to work out for ten minutes. The idea is to work at a level of intensity that will make you feel as though you’ve accomplished something worthwhile, though, so you don’t want to stroll around your living room or anything.
Give yourself a good two-minute warm-up to prepare your body for the stress of exercise. Do 6-7 minutes of higher intensity exercises such as:
- Combination exercises (ex – squat/ curl/ press) or compound exercises (exercises utilizing more than one muscle group such as the chest press or bent over row).
- Supersets (one example being chest press, push-ups, and flys to exhaust a muscle group).
If you’ve never done the squat curl press, watch this video demonstration.
When you’re finished, allow for a few minutes of active cool-down (such as walking in place) to bring your heart rate back to normal.
You can change the routine and do something different each day to get a variety of exercises in. You’ll experience the benefits, and you’ll also know that you’ll get it done without the massive commitment of time.
I can report with complete honesty that there have been numerous times that I’ve started my workout using the ten-minute rule and have ended up working out for over an hour simply because those ten minutes had given me such a pump that I wanted to continue.
Give this technique a try. The good news is – if nothing else, you’ll get ten minutes of exercise in, which is better than nothing. However, it could turn into something more substantial – which is rewarding as well.
2. Get Your Exercise Clothes On
When you get your workout clothes on, you’ve geared yourself up to play the role of someone who exercises.
No joke, it really does work this way.
It’s tough to get caught up in other activities when you’re wearing workout clothes. You’re constantly reminded that you’ve set an intention for yourself – and even got dressed up for it.
Think about this…
If you’ve showered, gotten dressed and did your hair and make-up, would you want to sit home?
No. You’d go somewhere, even if it was to the pharmacy.
It works the same way with exercise.
If you’re feeling like skipping your workout for the day, get dressed.
You’ll trick your mind into getting ready for action. By the time you decide to change into something else, you’ll be reminded that you’ve skipped something important.
If this happens, follow the ten-minute rule and get moving. You’ll be glad you did – and you’ll utilize this technique more often.
3. Watch Other People Exercise
If you’re experiencing a lack of desire to get moving, the chances are that part of the reason is because you don’t have a plan or a routine in mind.
But when you see other people exercise, you’re not only open to new ideas, but the simple act of watching others is motivating.
To do this properly, check out some videos of people doing the types of workouts that seem enjoyable to you. It doesn’t matter what they are, just observe.
Maybe you aren’t motivated to exercise because the idea of throwing dumbbells around doesn’t excite you on this particular day.
See what people are doing with resistance bands. Maybe there’s a cool workout you can do in ten minutes that involves using this fantastic piece of exercise equipment that’s been lying around in your hamper for the past year – just waiting to be used.
And if you don’t have any other pieces of fitness equipment around, that’s ok too. You can do bodyweight exercises or try some dance moves or other forms of calisthenics.
You are only limited by your lack of imagination. When it comes to physical activity, anything goes.
As you watch other people exercise, it’s natural to want to mimic their behavior. You see them perform the movements flawlessly. Some of them even look happy while they’re doing them.
It makes the entire process appear enjoyable, doable and effortless. This can be inspiring.
Not to mention, seeing others in decent shape helps you to envision yourself that way as well. This is where the powerful tool of visualization comes in handy.
There’s no reason you can’t be like them, even if you need to start as a beginner.
Another way to use this technique is to watch training scenes of some of your favorite films.
For example, (even though I do NOT agree with humans beating one another up, including for sport), I’m a huge fan of the (fictional) Rocky saga – and I LOVE his training segments.
They are SO motivating! Just watching him inspires me.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check this out.
My favorite scenes are from Rocky III and IV – in that order.
Apollo was the best trainer. And that entire sequence in the cabin was fantastic!
So try this out and see how it works for you. I know it will, as long as you allow it to.
Putting These into Action
Look, here’s the cold, hard truth.
If you REALLY don’t want to exercise, nothing will change your mind.
You have to want this. You have to know your why.
You have to have the “eye of the tiger”.
And you have to get real with yourself about your current state of being. Then make a conscious decision that it’s time to treat yourself well.
If you need some help with this, I have a simple system you can use to uncover your limiting beliefs and make some serious changes in this post.
The ideas presented today, however, are meant to help you to get out of your own way regarding a lack of motivation at the surface level. But YOU have to be the one to decide that this is a lifestyle you want to participate in.
You’ll need to realize you’re worth it!
You can utilize all the tools in the world, but nothing will replace your WILL.
Your truth will be the determining factor behind all of your actions. So if you want to change your results, you’ll have to change your behavior.
To start behaving differently, you’ll have to change your approach.
But before that, you’ll need to change your mind.
Your mindset will shift when your belief systems do.
Lastly, to uncover the real you, you’ll need to investigate how you see the world. These are your beliefs. Look at them, question them and challenge them.
The “hows” have been laid out for you in my posts on this blog.
The only thing left for you to do is to decide you want this – and make the choice to take action.
So now that you’ve read this post, do you think you’ll try these techniques out? Do you suffer from lack of motivation?