According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, less than 5% of adults get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day, and only one in three adults get the recommended amount of exercise each week. If you’re among the 95%, don’t worry because you’re obviously not alone, and there are plenty of ways to get back on your feet and exercising again. We know exercise is good for us; it helps fight against heart issues, diabetes, and much more. So why is it so hard to find the motivation? Finding ways to motivate yourself to exercise can be hard, especially because it’s something you have to schedule time for. Most jobs today don’t require the same physical exertion they did many years ago, which is what makes exercise even harder—you must plan time out of your busy life to do it. Here are some ideas to create a habit of exercise in your daily life:
- Use the Chirp Wheel and get creative. Incorporating the Chirp Wheel into your exercise routine can help make working out more enjoyable while avoiding back pain (which could be one of the reasons you hate working out in the first place). Check out this blog post to get some fresh ideas on how to use your Chirp Wheels.
- Set goals and write them down. Writing down your goals is a great way to remind yourself why you need to exercise. Do you want to feel better, fit in old clothes you love, or live healthier? Use that as motivation, and write down your end goals and how you plan on getting there. Download an app that helps you track your goals and your progress. There’s an app for everything.
- Reward yourself. You might decide that you need to work out instead of watching TV (or whenever it is you’re doing in your free time). Just remember to reward yourself after your workout with something you love. Create a habit of this reward system by knowing that you can’t watch TV until you’ve worked out. Doing this could be just what you need to get yourself going again.
- Schedule your time weekly. Don’t let the fact that your life is busy stop you from even trying to plan in some exercise time. Take 5 minutes at the beginning of each week to write down a schedule for when you plan to work out and don’t let small things stop you from keeping that schedule. Don’t give yourself an out because you think you don’t have time.
- Do it with friends. One of her best ways to motivate yourself is having friends by your side cheering you on. Join a yoga class, CrossFit, or a gym with friends to get yourself motivated and committed to yourself and your friends. If you have to be accountable to someone other than yourself to work out, chances are you are more likely to do it.
- Make it fun. Doing something you love will start making the word “exercise” sound like music to your ears rather than a much dreaded activity. You don’t have to force yourself to do something you hate in order to get exercise. Do you love playing basketball? Go ahead! Do you love taking your dog for a walk? Do it! Choosing an activity you love could make all the difference on whether you decide to make exercise a habit or not. When you’re making your weekly schedule, writing (or typing) the word exercise in your planner doesn’t pack a lot of encouragement. Instead write something fun down in addition to that word, like “time with friends” if you’re going to a yoga class with friends for your exercise or “time to feel better.” Soon, there will be no reason for the word “exercise” to give you a sick feeling inside.
- Keep positive thoughts. Keeping happy thoughts about yourself and your progress will allow you to keep going. Know what is discouraging you for continuing to exercise regularly and try to think more positively about yourself. Learn to be flexible: don’t let one bad week give you an excuse to stop altogether. You can keep going.
- Think of something other than yourself. Whether it’s your kids, your significant other, or your family, use them to stay motivated to be healthy and live longer. Be an example for your kids so that they can create good exercise habits as well. Plus, being accountable to someone else will help you accomplish your goals.
- You don’t have to spend money to exercise. If money is one of the main reasons you don’t exercise, just know that there are plenty of ways to exercise without spending money. Try going to a local park and walking or running laps. Do yoga inside your home (no tools needed). Look up other aerobic exercises you can do in your house. There is a lot of free information online about how to workout without spending a dime.
- Write down how you feel after each workout. Remembering how you feel after each workout can be a tool to help you carry on. Write down your feelings and accomplishments after your workout. When you feel discouraged next time it’s time to exercise, read what you wrote. After your workout, you will likely be tired but accomplished and might have an exercise high. If you hate exercise, that’s okay. Just try and remember the reasons it will help you in the long run.
Harvard Health Publishing. (2019, August 26). Why we should exercise - and why we don’t. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/why-we-should-exercise-and-why-we-do
HHS. (2020). Physical activity. Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/fitness/resource-center/facts-and-statistics/index.html
Mayo Clinic. (2020). Fitness: tips for staying motivated. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/fitness/art-20047624