Working out certainly takes motivation, particularly if you’re just starting and haven’t seen results yet. There are a number of motivation techniques that I’ve used on my journey to fitness, but I thought I’d share my favorite 3 ways to keep yourself motivated to workout. These are simple and don’t require a lot of time but are extremely effective in keeping you going, particularly when you’re first hitting the gym, which is often the most critical time. When you add a program of regular exercise to your life, you’re making a lifestyle change and trying to develop a new habit, which is hard.
Work out with friends.
Friendship and fun is more rewarding than cash, according to scientific studies. In fact, in one study, one group of gyms provided a reward of a gift card for up to $60 for working out, while another group provided a more social atmosphere, like our Fitbody boot camp. People stuck with the program at the fitness centers that had the more social atmosphere and had a high dropout rate at the one giving the gift card. Having fun, getting support from others and sharing your time with a group of friendly people who are supportive is far more important.
Give yourself a special reward.
If there’s something you love to do, make sure you follow up every workout with it. Maybe it’s stopping for lunch. (Don’t make that a burger and fries please!) Maybe it’s spending an hour shopping or window shopping. Whatever it is, do it right after you successfully completed your workout. You’ll build the connection in your brain that will transfer the pleasure of your other favorite thing to the workout. Before you know it, you’ll look forward to the workout.
Change your mind.
Picture yourself accomplishing your workout goal and how great it feels. Visualize the results until you can almost see each muscle rippling in your body and feeling how big your jeans are on you. That’s the happy picture you want to see, but you need to go further. You need to take one step to find out what’s stopping you. If you’re too harried to workout before work, try it at noon or on your way home. Once you find out what’s stopping you, you can make adjustments.
Make an appointment with yourself to workout. Treat it as though you have an appointment at the doctor. That’s one reason working with a personal trainer gets results. It’s an appointment you feel you need to keep.
Use an enemy as a friend. This one was one of the most creative I’d heard. One woman disliked a fellow worker and he didn’t like her. She approached him with the deal that she’d buy him lunch every time she missed a workout. She never missed once, but through the time, that discussion led to a friendship and she bought him lunch for helping her reach her goals.
Workout at the same time each day. Sticking with a schedule turns it into an important part of your day.
Make it a date. I you’re married or involved with someone, start working out together. Do something fun later.