How to stay committed to exercise when your human side wants to quit
In psychology, motivation is the process that arouses, sustains and regulates human and animal behavior. ‘Motivation’, if you really take a close look at it, is a whopping 10-letter word with syllables and a lot of bad press. We won’t be surprised if you’ve given up on trying to get motivated for something as important as exercise. That is because you’re not the only one struggling with this elusive process.
However, the good news is that we have some time-tested tips for you to try. These tips will help you fire up the spare engines in your mind and get you on your feet.
Never miss it
Although it may sound paradoxical, you need to bulldoze yourself into exercising daily before you actually build up the motivation. Such is human nature. Once the body starts getting used to the routine, it will (eventually) require an effort to miss a session. The first few days will be tough, and you might yearn for a quick-fix, such as missing a day or even quitting. But don’t quit. Just remember that the best is yet to come.
Get your gear ready in advance
Getting prepared in advance is really a practical trick to avoid the last-minute excuse. If you want to go for a morning run, lay out your workout gear and running shoes right next to your bed. This way you can get dressed first thing in the morning without the hassle of finding the right clothes. Another thing you’ll discover is that the act of simply putting on workout gear will get in you the mood to get going.
Eliminate the commute (if possible)
The commute is something outside of your workout that you might have to motivate yourself for. That calls for twin motivation, which can sometimes be too much to handle, especially in big city traffic. The pragmatic solution is to eliminate, or dramatically reduce, any commute around your workout. If you’re having to drive to that swanky gym in downtown, perhaps you don’t really have to. Maybe there is a nice track next door which you overlooked. Or maybe you can slightly modify your workout so that you don’t need a professional setting. The idea is to reduce the steps between you and exercise.
Get a workout buddy
If you can find a like-minded friend or acquaintance that can hold you accountable, by all means get them to be your workout partner. Often, knowing that someone else is counting on you to be at the gym is a great way of ensuring that you don’t miss any sessions. A bonus is the added competitiveness, which adds a fun element to the workout. When enlisting a workout buddy, try to get somebody at a fitness level similar to y ours.
Have a short-term goal at the gym (or place of workout)
A workout doesn’t have to be all blood and gore (metaphorically, of course). It can be productive or entertaining as well. With all this technology hanging on us at all times, we can easily utilize our sweating time. For instance, we can schedule listening to some useful or entertaining podcasts while on the treadmill. Some people actually read books while brisk walking (don’t try it in a park, or on the road please). Many gyms have cable TV, so you can catch up on the latest international news while you do squats or dead-lifts. You’ll actually realize that the gym can actually be a great place for some quality alone time.
Man is a creature of habit. And habits are created by regular positive or negative reinforcements. So apply this psychology on yourself for a change, and reward yourself after a good workout. In the interest of staying healthy, try to not make the reward a high-calorie saboteur. Instead, go for something less perishable, like a new magazine or a haircut.
Know the benefits
Knowing how something benefits you, increases your desire to do it. Talk to an exercise professional, or read some authentic literature on exercise to know the true benefits of it. It’s also helpful to know how working out impacts you outside your health. For example, exercise is now proven to help students focus on their studies, thereby contributing to better grades. In addition, exercise effectively battles depression. While you may know of many benefits, it is still advisable to consult some authentic resources.
Have tangible fitness goals
A tangible goal is the most exciting to achieve. When you have a specific weight number you need to hit, your motivation will rise to meet the challenge. In any case, a tangible, numeric goal often helps you track your progress in a much more systematic way.