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5 Tips for Working Out When You Have No Motivation

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What motivates humans to repeatedly do something that we might not even like to do? Like working out? That is a question many health professionals have been trying to answer for years. Yet, they don’t have a solid theory, however, there are some things (hacks if you will) that seem to work as motivation for most people.

1) Reward

This is one hack that many people use to give them the motivation they need to accomplish something when they really don’t feel like doing it –  a tangible reward. However, be careful that the reward does not undermine the reason you doing it in the first place. For example, a new workout outfit in one of the brightly colored patterned moisture-wicking fabrics is a much better reward that supports your effort of working out, than one associated with food.

2) Penalty

This is the nemesis of a reward. It is usually a written agreement with yourself, or a pledge with friends, that you will do something for a specific amount of time. Like exercise 30 minutes a day, five days per week for 3 months. As part of the commitment, there must be an anti-reward if you fail to follow through, such as a $10 penalty fee if you miss a workout during the stated period of the agreement. Or the penalty can be non-monetary, such as having to suffer the embarrassment of admitting to your friends that you missed a workout.

3) Visualization

When waffling on whether you are going to get up and exercise or not, visualize how good you feel after working out. Or how good the warm sun feels while outside on your walk, or the pleasure of the birds singing, or ….  This works! It is also called mental contrasting and is used as a way to overcome a mental obstacle that is holding you back from doing something.

4) Exercise with a friend

This is one of the most powerful motivators! None of us like to disappoint another person. Exercising with a friend keeps both of you in check. On a day when you don’t feel like exercising, you will just so you don’t disappoint your workout friend. And if the truth be known, that person may not have wanted to exercise either, but did so because s/he did not want to disappoint you! It is a win/win for both of you.

5) Journaling

This is similar to visualization except it is written down on paper. The highs and lows you feel before, during and after working out provides a written record of what motivates you (and what does not). The endorphin rush felt after exercising, the rewards, penalties and feelings – both good and bad – are all stimuli as to why you should power through a workout – even if you do not feel like it at the time.

The “thing” that motivates each of us can differ, but usually one or more of these tips works in most cases. Find the one(s) that work for you and push forward!

Finding Your “Why” for Getting Fit to Help You Stay Motivated

Different things motivate people to accomplish what they want in life. But rarely does anything get accomplished if the “why” is not there. How many times have you started a fitness program only to quit after a few months or even a few weeks. Why did you quit? We’ll get to that in a moment.

Motivation is that deep-down burning desire that keeps you focused on accomplishing something that is important in your life. It is the driving force that when faced with a fork in the road, you go left for success instead of right to failure. But at times, even the strongest motivation can wane and take us off our path.

Back to why you quit. Figuring out the “why” is sometimes tricky, but most experts agree that it has to be something YOU want to do; you can’t do it because others want you too, nor can you do it because it happens to be the “in” thing to do at the time. More times than not if that is the motivation, you will be doomed to failure. Why? Because it was not YOUR motivation.

To stay the course, there are some things that others before you have done that led them to success, like:

1) Journaling

Writing down thoughts, feeling and desires are actions that can help you stay on track and show you what went wrong if you happen to stray. For example, if losing weight is your goal, and you had a bad day of eating, why did that happen. What was different this day then in the past when you could stay on track. By identifying the cause, you can avoid the same thing happening in the future. The big thing is to not let it define you; get back on the horse and ride again!

2) Visualization

Photos of the success you are seeking can often be strong motivators in helping you stay on course. Post them on your refrigerator or in other conspicuous places. The refrigerator works because if your goal is losing weight and you are having a bad day thinking about eating, it can help you refrain from getting something out of the refrigerator – just by looking at the photo. The photo can be of you when you were younger, someone you aspire to be, a new exercise outfit – anything that will keep your motivation going.

3) Frequent renewal

Sometimes during a weak moment, or really anytime, we need to give ourselves that “pep talk” as a way of renewing our motivation. It usually involves reviewing the “why” behind achieving this specific goal. It can be as simple as wanting to live a healthier lifestyle; or being around to see your grandkids grow; or … anything you want it to be. Just insure it is something YOU want and that you are not doing it for someone else, because they think you should do it.

Finally, expect there to be bumps in the road along the way; you may even hit a roadblock, but don’t let that keep you from constantly driving forward toward accomplishing your goal. Find a way around it and drive on. Success is for the taking. Use these tips for finding your “why” that helps you stay motivated all the way to goal.

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