14 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Work Out

We all know that being active and participating in a regular workout program is good for our mind, body, and soul. But sometimes the internal dialogue that tells us to skip our workout or grab takeout and work a few hours more takes over.

When this happens, it can be hard to follow through on your plan to make it to the gym and prioritize fitness.

That’s when having a list of motivational tips and tricks can help you be consistent. We’ve compiled a list of 32 practical ways to help you stay motivated and on track to meet your fitness goals.

1. Define your ‘why’

You can’t always rely on external factors, such as a vacation, to motivate you. Defining your “why” for exercise will give you a personal or emotional investment in your goals.

2. Pick a cause

Whether you’re a runner, walker, or CrossFit fanatic, choosing a cause to compete for can really help motivate you. There are tons of competitions that support causes like:

  • Alzheimer’s research
  • cancer research or funding for families
  • cystic fibrosis research
  • suicide prevention
  • diabetes research and advocacy

3. Always have a backup

Put a “just in case” bag in your car with a change of workout clothes and a pair of shoes. Also, have an alternate workout ready, such as a walking route by work, when plans change.

4. Follow the 3 x 10 rule

Short on time? No problem. Take a 10-minute walk, three times a day. Swap out the evening walk for a few squats, pushups, and crunches, and you’ll have a total-body workout. All of these mini-workouts add up quick, and make a big dent in your overall exercise minutes for the week.

5. Post-it power

Label sticky notes with positive messages about working out. Plaster them on your alarm clock, bathroom mirror, or computer at work. They’ll serve as a constant reminder to take care of your health.

6. Use social media

Skip the selfies and daily check-ins and opt for using social media as a way to stay on track with your fitness goals.

One study found that the support, accountability, and even healthy competition in online groups can help you adhere to an exercise routine.

Tips for exercising on your own

7. Schedule it in your calendar
Decide what type of workout you’ll do, for how long, and where. Then, spend 10 minutes planning your activity for the rest of the week. ResearchTrusted Source shows that having a daily routine that incorporates physical activity helps to promote regular exercise.

8. Watch and work out
Just can’t say “no” to your favorite TV show? Hop on the treadmill or other cardio equipment, turn on the TV, and watch the time fly by. You can even make it a habit to only watch your favorite show when you’re exercising.

9. Set a date
Training for a race or special event can push you to get out of bed in the morning and get moving. Find an event to train for that is a few months away. Commit by signing up and paying the entry fee, then get to work.

10. Find a challenge to join
You name it; there’s a challenge for it. The squat challenge, plank challenge, daily exercise challenge, the list goes on. The good news? Since there are so many to choose from, you’ll have no problem finding multiple challenges to join and complete.

Tips for early risers

11. Sleep in your clothes
Yes, this trick really does work! If setting your clothes out at night isn’t enough motivation, try wearing them to bed.

12. Put your alarm out of reach
If you’re a snoozer, you need to put your alarm clock on the other side of your room. This forces you to get up and out of bed. And, if you already have your clothes on, you’re halfway to your workout.

13. Gather your squad
Working out is a lot easier when you have a friend waiting for you. Skip the coffee date and instead head to a cycling class or run the trails. Plus, research shows that finding a fitness buddy increases the amount of exercise you do.

14. Listen to a podcast
Choose a podcast you’ve been wanting to listen to, and only cue it up when you’re working out. This gives you something to look forward to when a gym session doesn’t sound all that appealing.

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