How to motivate yourself to train


Sometimes it is difficult to motivate yourself to exercise, you were planning on working out today, but something stopped you from doing this task. Problems with work, car problems, relationship problems, and children’s drama are just a few of the reasons people use to skip a workout for days, months, or even years. After avoidance comes the excuses, the most popular justification being that they simply cannot find the motivation. Here’s the bad news – getting hit with the motivation to exercise is rare. If you’ve been waiting for “a feeling” to get your ass up and hit the gym, chances are you’ve been waiting a long time.

With the New Year fast approaching, people will be heading back to the gyms, jumping headfirst into a diet, and getting back on the fitness wagon. This motivation to exercise and eat healthier will last about a week for most people. A few months after the calendar changes to a New Year, those same people will resume doing the bare minimum of exercise and eating healthy.

Finding the motivation to train is not difficult. There are endless ways to get motivated, but here are a few ideas that will help you kick your ass when procrastination starts to stick your head.

The 5-minute rule

Procrastination is the killer of all motivation. Thinking of ourselves outside of a task is the most common reason people avoid tasks because we are focusing on the whole business and not just one part at a time. Take the example of running. If you had to running five miles, your brain would think, “ugh, that 5 miles will suck,” and the mind will focus on all the steps ahead. Instead, focus on one mile at a time. Conquer the first mile and move on to the second, and so on, until all five miles are completed.

A great way to fight procrastination is to try the 5 minute rule. If you’re unfamiliar with the 5 Minute Rule, this is an amazing motivational trick that works for just about any task. Set your phone’s timer for five minutes and do some form of exercise during those five minutes. It could be anything: push-ups, jumping jacks, skipping rope, running, or even walking. You can stop when the five minutes are up if you still don’t feel like working out. At least you’ve completed those five minutes. There is a good chance that you will continue to train.

Eliminate all possible excuses

The last time you skipped a workout you probably had what seemed like a perfectly reasonable excuse. All your workout clothes were dirty, you forgot your sneakers at home or a Rick and morty marathon has caught your eye. The truth is, all your excuses are crap and could have been avoided with a little preparation.

Take out your sports clothes the day before and pack your sports bag to be ready. Lock in a specific time of the day when you are going to train. Switch off your phone right before so nothing can distract you. Think back to all of the reasons you skipped the last workout, and put the steps in place to prevent these issues from happening again. As Benjamin Franklin once joked, “If you don’t plan, you plan to fail.”

Think about the past and the future

Everyone has different reasons for working out and wanting to get in shape. Better overall health is usually not at the top of the list. People focus on the desire to looking better in the warmer months, and the urge to wear less clothes rolls around or after a bad breakup or when you see your reflection in the mirror or in public and really don’t like the body looking at you.

To motivate yourself to exercise more and work harder, think about all the times you’ve felt unwell, then think about the next time you find yourself in the same situation. Do you want to feel this again? Do you want to have to wear a shirt the next time you go to the beach? Do you want to buy new clothes because your old clothes are too tight?

If the viewing trick doesn’t work, scroll through the photos on your phone or social media account to find images when you were not at your best. There’s no better way to motivate yourself to exercise than to recover when you were feeling down.

Set a specific goal

Here is the real truth about why people can’t stick to one exercise program, diet or any self-improvement habit is our inability to create concrete, specific goals. If you’re training just to lose weight, get in shape, or to get your clothes to fit better, your goals are way too vague. If you exercise for a few days and lose two pounds, congratulations, you’ve reached your goal. If you train for two weeks in a row, good job, you’re in better shape than when you started. If your clothes look a little better on you, well done, but all you had to do was buy better-fitting clothes.

To motivate themselves and stay motivated, a person needs a specific goal and a completion date to achieve that goal. Register for a race. Get into a fitness competition. Deposit the money to do a Tough Mudder or Spartan race. Pick a goal, commit to the plan, and start taking action to reach the goal. To really raise the stakes, talk to people about the goal. Friends, family, and coworkers will work as motivators towards the goal, as you won’t want to look like a failure when they ask you questions about your progress.

Not tomorrow. Now.

How many times have you heard people say, “This is it, the diet starts tomorrow” or “next week I’m going to start going to the gym every day”? How many times have these exact words come out of your mouth? Probably far too many since reading this article.

Here’s the problem with setting goals in the future – it gives you a lot of time to forget or change your mind. Instead of tomorrow, next week, or when you have more time, why not get started right away? Put on your sneakers and go running. Pack a bag and go to the gym. Damn, drop on the floor and do as many push-ups as you can. Do something because something is better than nothing.

As with everything, getting and staying motivated to exercise takes time and effort. Training is the first part of a lifestyle change. The second part assesses your diet; as they say, abs start in the kitchen. The trick is to maintain both efforts for maximum results.

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About Irene J. O'Donnell

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