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How to Motivate Yourself to Start Working Out

As the saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step– and this couldn’t be any more true for starting a fitness regimen. Once fitness becomes a habit, it’s a lot easier to remain consistent and work toward reaching your goals. The first few weeks, however, can be challenging.

By finding the right form of motivation to get you moving, you can push through those early days and make fitness become second nature. Here are some effective ways to motivate yourself to start working out.

Start Slow

A lot of people feel that initial boost of motivation. They’re going to start Monday, work out every day, and accomplish all of their goals! Then, reality sets in. They might make it to the gym the first few days, then get too sore from training to continue, then get back for one day, then the weekend hits and it all falls apart.

The best way to motivate yourself and build a healthy habit or pattern of behavior is to start small and scale up. Set yourself up for success by setting a goal to go to the gym for short training sessions three days this week. Take time to celebrate accomplishing that goal. Then go for a bit longer the next week and so on. Create a foundation and build yourself up.

Use Extrinsic Motivation to Your Benefit

There are two main forms of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. When you start training, your motivation is often extrinsic. In other words, you’re motivated by an outside source or reward. For example, the idea of getting back into your college jeans is an extrinsic form of motivation.

Use extrinsic motivation to create a reward system. For example, if you meet your gym goals for the week, you might celebrate with gelato from your favorite cafe. If you meet your gym goals for a month, reward yourself with new fitness attire, such as a pair of customized socks from OurSock.com. Find something that gives you an extra boost to accomplish your goals.

At some point, intrinsic motivation will take over. Rather than needing an external motivator, you’ll feel happy with how going to the gym makes you feel. That internal satisfaction is what changes your motivation into dedication over time.

Find the Right Fit

There’s a lot of noise online about which exercise is best, and it’s all subjective. The best exercise is ultimately the one that you can commit to in pursuit of your goals. If you hate running and find your passion in Yoga, do Yoga. If you discover that strength sports like powerlifting make you feel amazing, do them.

Choosing something that you enjoy (or can tolerate for half an hour) will help you get into a routine. Once you’ve established your habits, you can expand your horizons and try adding something new.

The same idea applies to group fitness versus personal fitness. If the energy of a group training session like Zumba or Crossfit motivates you, go for it. If you aren’t comfortable with that environment, find something you can do on your own.

Prioritize Time Management

Make it easy to succeed by prioritizing your time management. Think of the best time to workout based on your schedule. Set aside time on Sunday each week to plan the week ahead and book your training time like you would a doctor’s appointment. Then, ensure that your gear is ready to go: have your gym bag packed and in your car for an early morning workout or so you can stop on the way home from work.

It’s estimated that people spend more than two hours on social media each day. Track your time and evaluate how much you’re wasting before saying that you don’t have time to train. This can be an eye-opening exercise that realigns your priorities in a hurry.

Remember to take time to celebrate your success along the way. You can’t control the end result of your training, but you can control the actions you take to get there; it just takes a little motivation and hard work.