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Easy Ways to Get Motivated to Workout

Easy Ways to Get Motivated to Workout

Everyone struggles with coming up with the motivation to work out. If exercise were as easy as sitting on the couch eating popcorn, everyone would be an Ironman. Alas, staying fit takes work and a few clever mind tricks to keep us lacing up our Nikes and knocking out a great workout consistently.

1) Get a workout buddy for accountability

Whether you are lucky enough to find that special someone to kick your butt daily for free or you hire a trainer, having someone to motivate you is critical. Being accountable to someone for fitness goals is much more effective than answering to yourself. You will work much harder for someone else and see results faster.

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2) Join a club

The social aspect of working out is a great motivator to keep it up. No matter your fitness passion, there are great clubs in your area filled with amazing potential friendships. You will meet people who can encourage you and give you training tips. You can also tap into your competitive nature and try to keep up with the fastest members of the group. Joining my running and triathlon clubs improved my racing performance better than anything other factor.

3) Goals = Dreams with a Deadline

Determine your goals, write them down, and share them with accountability partners to keep you honest. Remember to make your goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Sensitive).

4) Work towards something

I don’t get serious about my workouts until I am training for a race. The fear of failure is a great motivator. Knowing your race times will be available to the world is often the final push needed to put in the time in training to see a new personal record.

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5) Reward yourself for reaching goals

Find fun ways to reward yourself for reaching your goals. Tell yourself if you reach a certain waist size, you will go shopping for sexy new clothes. Or, if you meet a fitness benchmark, you will plan a fun weekend getaway. Whatever you want to do, make it a prize for a challenge you can conquer.

6) Mark your calendar

Remember when your teacher put a gold star by your name for attendance? It was a major motivator for me to see an unbroken star streak. Believe it or not, this still works after kindergarten! Put a mark (or gold star if you prefer) on your calendar for every day you work out. After a while, seeing all that progress starts to look great and you don’t want to break the streak.

7) Read motivating stuff

Read books about your favorite athletes! Study how they overcame their training struggles – like lacking motivation – and implement their strategies into your routine. Ask your friends and fellow athletes to share positive stories about how they overcame difficulties. Filling your mind with inspiration often leads to perspiration.

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8) Get great entertainment for the workout

If you have a lot of alone time while training, make sure to fill up your iPod with motivating music or funny audiobooks. Only let yourself listen to those specific programs while working out. Whatever you choose, make sure you will have a good time. If you don’t have fun, you lose motivation quickly.

9) Embrace adventure

Try to find exciting new routes and adventure for your workouts. Exploration is a big part of life. Make sure you are working out in the most beautiful place possible. For example, instead of swimming in a pool, I embrace open-water workouts and swim through schools of beautiful fish. Instead of running on a dusty track, I will run barefoot on the beach or climb mountains to be rewarded with beautiful views from the top.

10) Acknowledge your success

Too many times, we just look on our failures. Don’t fall in this trap of being so hard on yourself. Instead, keep track of your successes. For example, here’s how it sounds in my head after a race, “Remember when you couldn’t run a mile? Well, now you ran a marathon. So what if the time wasn’t exactly what you wanted! There’s always the next race! But… YOU JUST RAN A MARATHON!” Keeping this mindset can help you off the precipice of more than a few potential pity parties.

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11) Have hot running clothes

The more you feel like an elite athlete, the better you will perform. When you know you look good during your workout, you are more motivated to keep it up!

12) Find what motivates you

We are all unique. I happen to be motivated by my own personal head games. For example, as soon as I wake up, I put on my running clothes. This way, I’m in the mindset to get my workout knocked out early in the day. I also have a better-earn-your-shower rule. This means that I don’t get to take a shower unless I’ve earned it by doing a workout. Of course, there are exceptions to this, but I try to follow it. Since I love taking a daily shower, I also make sure to earn it with a daily workout first.

Just remember, motivation is not a blessing reserved for a select few, it is a skill that can be learned and improved with time. Dig deep. Find your passion. Implement these strategies. And go for your dreams!

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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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