Five Motivational Tips to Keep Exercising
Most of us would benefit from more exercise and better physical fitness. If it was as simple as merely stating our desire that we want to be healthier and in great shape, everyone we know would be lean, chiseled, and able to run half-marathons at a moment's notice. Of course, this is not the case. Desire alone won't get us there. The motivation to change our behavior, and keep it that way, is the real trick. Here are five motivational tips to help you keep exercising and reach those fitness goals.
1. Find a Buddy
Working out, like a lot of other things in life, is more fun with a partner. If you have a friend or two who also wants to get in better shape, plan your workouts together. If you actually have something scheduled with other people, you are more likely to show up and keep the appointment. And there is the added benefit of our competitive natures to keep us engaged. Seeing friends get the results they desire will help keep the fire lit under you, and vise-versa.
2. Reward Yourself
Obviously, the long term benefits of less belly fat, lower blood sugar and improved cardio-vascular health are rewards in themselves, but these happen gradually, over a long period of time. More immediate, material rewards to yourself may help motivate you in the short term. There are two ways to do this. Daily rewards for finishing your workout i.e. a delicious smoothie or some other treat is one option. The other is more long term; if you lose 10 pounds in the next month, reward yourself with something you've had your eye on for a while, like a piece of jewelry, a great new pair of shoes etc. If your goal is to work out 5 days a week for 3 months straight, reward yourself with a big-ticket item if you stick to it. Something like a short vacation or a 55 inch TV for the family room.
3. Make a Wager
Similar to finding a buddy to work out with, this tactic helps motivate by tapping into those competitive juices. While you don't have to actually work out together, having someone else vested in a competition will keep you motivated. Bet your spouse a month worth of dishes if you can lose 10 pounds in the next 60 days. Bet your brother or sister $100 to see who can shed the most body fat by Labor Day. Even if you lose the money or end up with a month worth of dishpan hands, chances are you'll be in better shape by the end of the competition so it will have been worth it anyway.
4. Use a Visual Aid
We all have an ideal image of what we want our bodies to look like. Whether it's Brad Pitt circa 1999, Jillian Michaels right this minute, or anyone else you have in mind, you can use these images to help visualize your end result and keep you working hard. Print out a bunch of pictures and tape them up around your house. Near every mirror, by the front door, on the fridge, in your home gym, etc. Seeing what someone else made possible through hard work and dedication will help you understand that change is possible for all of us.
5. Hang out in Your Underwear
Obviously, this goes for around the house. When you're at home, go shirtless as often as possible. Seeing your own body constantly can work as motivation in two ways. Towards the beginning of your new exercise regimen, some unsightly rolls that aren't hidden away under a t-shirt may increase your desire to change. And after a few weeks of hard work you'll begin to see some results and notice the way your body is changing for the better. This will encourage you stick with your routine may motivate you to work even harder. If the issue you want to correct is constantly in your face, you simply won't be able to ignore it as easily, and you'll respond by modifying your behavior over time.