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10 Mind Tricks To Motivate Yourself To Work Out

10 Mind Tricks To Motivate Yourself To Work Out

Motivating yourself to start an exercise program and to keep it up can be the hardest part of getting fit. Fortunately, there are 10 ways you can motivate yourself to get off the couch and on the road to fitness. Once you do get into the habit of exercising, you may wonder how you ever enjoyed life without it.

1. Dress the part

Buy some flattering exercise clothes. Put them on first thing in the morning and look in the mirror. You have taken the first step. That was easy! Now, go to the gym and let everyone see how good you look in those workout clothes.

2. Find your favorite fitness routine

Explore as many forms of fitness as you can. Try tennis, swimming, zumba and yoga, whatever looks like fun. Trial and error can help identify which fitness regimen works best for you. Some people prefer to exercise alone while others enjoy the camaraderie of a group. You can decide which you prefer or whether you want to do both. One advantage to group exercise is that you might work out for longer in a class that sets a time limit.  Another advantage of group fitness is making friends, which may provide the motivation to show up. Exercise classes can provide a social support network.

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3. Exercise when it works best for you

If you’re an early riser, consider exercising before anything distracts you. If you need to unwind after work, evening classes could be just the thing. And if you’re really busy, jumping on that fitness game’s balance board whenever there’s time may work quite well. Experiment with different exercise times and schedules until you find which make it easiest.

4. Make exercise fun

Make exercise fun, advises the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. Don’t think of exercise as a chore because you might resent it. Listen to music while you run. Look for beautiful scenery to walk alongside. Pick a class or a sport you really enjoy. The fun component will make it enjoyable rather than something you have to do.

5. Buddy up and take advantage of your friends

Studies show that working out with a friend does increase the likelihood that you will stay motivated.

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6. Jog your memory as to why you exercise

As important as those reasons are, you may forget all about them when the couch is so comfortable and it’s raining outside. Remind yourself how much better you feel and look after fitness efforts. Focus on your goal. Maybe you want to impress your ex partner or multiply your dating chances?

What exactly are you after? Do you want killer abs? Do you want to look good in that tiny dress? Maybe you want to maintain flexibility so you can play with the grandkids. Maybe you want to get in shape for the vacation of a lifetime. Visualize that success. Keep your eyes on the prize.

7. Don’t compare yourself to others

Yes, that person sitting next to you in yoga can easily twist herself into a pretzel while minutes in the downward dog posture gets you winded, but you still benefit by trying. If you stick with it, you will be more flexible, have more endurance and feel better about yourself. Maybe one day you too will be able to twist yourself into a pretzel or even run a 10K.

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8. Reward yourself

You worked hard. You deserve it. After a morning exercise session, treat yourself to brunch with your exercise buddies. Or buy a bouquet of flowers on the way home from exercise class. Once you lose a few inches, it may be time to treat yourself to a new wardrobe.

9. Consider the price of not going out to exercise

When deciding whether to stay couch-bound or head out, remember how you feel after you do exercise. Better, right? Then remember how sluggish you feel when you don’t. Also consider how long it will take you to get back in shape if you miss a few sessions. You really don’t want to go there.

10. Challenge yourself

Challenges keep exercise interesting. You may start out with plenty of enthusiasm but after a while your favorite fitness activity can start to feel like more of the same. A micro challenge makes it a fun game. Try working out with heavier weights or add a few more minutes of walking on the track. Or try another form of exercise. It’s good to mix things up. Social media offers a new way to promote exercise as you can challenge friends to work out.

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Getting and staying motivated can be a challenge but once you get fit, fitness could become your favorite new habit.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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