It seems pretty common for people to seek advice on how to get motivated to workout, but the truth is that workout motivation is separate (and secondary) to fitness motivation. The reason fitness motivation reigns supreme is because achieving and maintaining health is about so much more than just working out. It’s about self-care, hydration, nutrition, sleep, energy, longevity, and even mental health.
Given how important those things are to our daily lives, it seems like finding fitness motivation would be easy. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get so caught up in our day-to-day lives and checking off our endless to-do lists that we often lose sight of what makes everything we do possible. It’s like that pre-flight checklist warning about putting on your own oxygen mask before attempting to help someone else with theirs. Literally everything we do is made possible by our own health and well-being.
So, when we go looking for fitness motivation, we don’t need to look very far – parents, partners, kids, siblings, friends, and ourselves. The only way we can have the focus, strength, endurance, and longevity to be there for our loved ones is to take care of our own physical and mental health, first. Sure, we also want to look good and feel good. But it’s even more important that we are around to watch out for our aging parents, raise our children, spoil our grandkids, grow old with our partners, enjoy our golden years, and witness the future we are helping to create.
Health is a basic necessity, not a luxury. And fitness motivation is about recognizing that being alive and staying active is the foundation for everything else in our lives. Even getting in shape and feeling more confident begins with a commitment to health and fitness. Once we really get that, we are ready to add exercise to the mix.
Sure, workout motivation can be a bit more challenging. It’s easy to look in a mirror and judge our bodies and join a gym we never go to. But it’s harder to actually find the time and the energy to take action. There are plenty of tips for how to get motivated to workout, and we’ll get to those, but first let’s address two important realities: 1) You will never have more time than you do right now. 2) You do not have to wait for the energy to workout. Let that sink in a bit.
There are only 24 hours in a day. Yet you still somehow manage to juggle the insane demands (and schedules) of work, home, family, school, friends, errands, cleaning, shopping, bills, appointments, and seemingly endless interruptions. Anything you convince yourself will soon be off your plate, freeing up extra time for “you,” will simply be replaced by something new. So put “you” on the schedule – even if it’s just 20 minutes a day before everyone else wakes up and the chaos begins. The time you have is the time you take. Read that again.
Waiting for the energy to workout is like putting off dinner until your hunger subsides. You don’t need to feel like working out. You just have to do it anyway. The good news is that it only takes about 3 weeks to solidify a new habit and exercising will actually increase your energy as you go along. Hopefully, that’s enough workout motivation to get you to commit to 20 minutes a day for 3 weeks right there! If not, let explore some specific tips for how to get motivated to workout.
How To Get Motivated To Workout
1. Change Your Mindset – It is critical that we see working out for what it is: an investment in our health, our bodies, and our future that compounds over time just like interest! It’s a joy to discover what we are capable of. It’s empowering to feel our strength and endurance build. It’s rewarding to see our bodies tighten and tone.
2. Set Goals For Yourself – It’s time to let go of measuring goals by calories burned or weight lost. The goals that matter most are honoring your commitment to work out consistently and reaching the point where exercise becomes an integral part of your daily routine. From there, you can always expand and intensify your workouts with light weights, short-term challenges, etc. to push your limits. If you keep at it, your body will respond and your goals will reach themselves.
3. Make Physical Activity Part Of Your Daily Routine – Consistency is key. And if you Sweat Smart, you can sneak in a powerful workout at home in less time than it takes to drive back and forth to a gym. Schedule it for when everyone’s asleep, eating breakfast, or getting dressed. Make it the first thing you do when everyone is off to school and work. Squeeze it in while dinner is in the oven and the kids are focused on homework. Treating it like any other appointment will motivate you to show up.
4. Workout With Friends – Being part of a live or digital class, working out with your besties, or just having an accountability partner can be a real game changer when it comes to staying motivated. Not only do we benefit from the shared energy (and camaraderie) of others on the same path, but we also stay stronger in our commitment when we know someone else is counting on us.
5. Reward Yourself – In the past, we thought of rewarding ourselves primarily in terms of an unhealthy eating “cheat day.” There’s certainly nothing wrong with an occasional indulgence, but there are also plenty of other options that don’t involve sabotaging our goals. Some favorites that come to mind are a luxurious bath spa set, a beautifully fragrant meditation candle, or something sexy to slip your new body into.
6. Track Your Progress – A small journal is all you need to chart where you began and how far you’ve come on your fitness journey. Write down the day, time, and duration of your workouts. Make a note of your successes and struggles. And if you want to track your weight, check it once a week. Just remember: Weight fluctuates with fluid and food retention and new muscle weighs more but takes up less space than fat lost. The only thing that matters is progress over time.
7. Have Fun With It – Getting into better shape should be joyful and sweaty and exhilarating. If it’s not fun, you’re doing it wrong. Practice yoga. Go hiking in nature. Join a class with a friend that makes you laugh. You’ve got this!