3 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

September 28, 2016

To start, let’s clarify some things about exercise. You have all the right in the world to have extra weight, be weak, and lack energy. You have the right to accumulate fat around your abdomen and your hips, to be in pain every time you try to move, and to be out of breath after two minutes of walking quickly.

You also have the right to suffer from cardiopulmonary or cardiovascular disease. You have the right to be sad, depressed, angry, and stressed. You have the right to stay at home, look yourself in the mirror, and say “I have to watch what I’m doing to myself,” or “it would be good to get a bit of exercise and feel stronger,” and yet do nothing to change.

You have the right to have joint problems, weak bones, chronic back pain, stiffness, weakness, and a lack of muscle tone. Up until now, you have the right to complain about wanting to change all this but not knowing how to do so. But from now on, once you reach the next paragraph, you’ll lose the right to patronize yourself. Below, you’ll see how to motivate yourself to exercise, without excuses.

Find the motivation to exercise

For most people, the motivation to exercise doesn’t come naturally. Human beings are easygoing, what can we do about it? We’re perfectly content having a drink with friends or sitting at home, especially if it’s bad weather. And it’s also difficult to break away from work or family obligations.

handcuffs

But saying “I don’t have time,” “I don’t feel like it,” or “I have other things to do” aren’t valid excuses, even though they might seem like it. If you don’t have time right now to take care of your health, you’ll have to make time later to deal with the illnesses, pain, and difficulties that come from a lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle.

Don’t think, just move

It’s obvious that exercise is necessary. It’s also clear that getting into an exercise routine is difficult, or else you wouldn’t be reading this. So stop thinking about it, don’t make excuses, don’t find reasons, don’t justify your decision. Just do it.

It doesn’t matter how tired you are, how cold it is, or how bad you look in exercise clothes. It doesn’t matter if it ruins your hair. It doesn’t matter how early or late it is. It doesn’t matter if you’re tired or in pain. Just get moving. And do it every day.

Plan it out the day before, so that when the time comes, you can think as little as possible and just follow your established plan. There are many ways to exercise: inside, outside, or even at work. You can go to a gym, subscribe to an online training program, watch videos on the internet, or follow a book.

However you do it, make these decisions hours before it’s time to exercise so that laziness doesn’t take over your thoughts. Don’t let yourself believe that you’re tired, or you’ll open up the possibility to leave it for tomorrow.

couple exercising

Visualize how you’ll be in the future if you don’t exercise

Most people will tell you to do the opposite and visualize how you’ll be after a few months of exercise to help you get closer to your goal. The problem is that this isn’t worth much to most people because they get complacent, and thinking about effort and sacrifice is exhausting.

So try it the other way. Think about your current level of physical activity and how you will be in 5 years, 10 years, 2o years. Think about yourself at age 70 or 80 (if you live that long).

Disappointing, no? Weakness, obesity, disability, sadness, loneliness…

“Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”

-Edward Stanley-

Think only about the next session

Instead of thinking in the long term, one of the keys to motivating yourself to exercise is to take it day by day. So just think about the next session, but not about how much effort it will take to leave the house or get yourself off the couch. Think about how you’ll feel after you finish.

woman happy after exercising

Exercise releases many hormones that make you feel good. The most well-known ones are endorphinswhich produce a feeling of euphoria after exercising. These hormones are also natural analgesics that reduce pain, anxiety, and stress.

Exercising, especially in fresh air, also releases serotonin, a chemical that influences mood. Serotonin can help you calm down, especially when you’re feeling anxious or depressed, and can help you find sleep. It also helps to control food intake, especially junk food.

Finally, exercise also releases dopamine, the hormone associated with addiction. Dopamine causes us to experience a feeling of well-being after exercising, which creates a link between physical activity and pleasure. This means when we exercise, we don’t have to seek out other, less healthy sources of pleasure.

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