1. I always keep in mind that I’m only cheating myself one way or another. Be it my gym membership fees, or the home gym equipment I invested in for home use, or even skipping out on exercises I don’t like to do or doing them improperly.
I’m only cheating myself, and in some cases I’m letting somebody else take advantage of my desire to be a healthier individual through paying them for a service I’m not utilizing.
2. I hate running, but I’ve been running regularly for over ten years now. There are a couple of things that keep me running. One is that although I dread going for a run and hate it while I’m running, I have never regretted going for a run. I’m always glad afterwards that I did.
Another is that often I make something I want a condition of doing a run first. E.g. I won’t have dinner until after I’ve gone running.
I also have a minimum distance that I run each week. I do this each and every week, no matter if the weather is shit, if I’m on holidays or away on business, busy this week, etc. If for some reason I do not manage to make my minimum distance I make up for it the week after. I know myself well enough to realize that if I didn’t stick religiously to this, I’d quickly lapse.
Finally, I used to be really overweight and very unfit. I look and feel so much better now thanks to doing this regularly. I’ve seen first-hand that exercise works, so that’s a good motivation to keep doing it.
3. Have someone to exercise with. Keep each other accountable for going and exercising.
Maybe play a team sport. Then if you don’t exercise you’d be letting down the team.
4. Have a hype playlist to listen to. Stuff that makes you feel like a badass.
5. I know it sounds crazy but you don’t have to exercise in the morning. I did it for a while and HATED it so much, I hated dragging my ass out of bed when it was still dark just so I could work out and make it to work on time, I always felt so fatigued through the day if I went to the gym in the morning and it really made it hard to keep going. But then I started going at night – come home, have dinner, relax for an hour to digest and then go at 8 or 9pm. I can go straight to bed after and I sleep much better after a workout too, which is great. If you are naturally a night owl who is going to stay up from 8:00pm-1:00am browsing reddit anyways, then this may be a good option for you.
6. Motivation is a lie. There is no such thing as feeling motivated. People who exercise regularly are not waking up thinking they feel like exercising that day. They wake up and exercise because exercising is what they do after they wake up. It’s like waking up and having coffee, waking up and going to work, waking up and having a shower, waking up and having a shit. That’s your routine, and you follow it because it’s how your day-to-day life goes.
It starts with discipline. You are in the wrong frame of mind if you think you need to motivate yourself to do anything. You need to be disciplined into knowing that you’re doing something because that’s an urgent priority and it needs to be done. That’s how you form routines.
It’s the same for dieting. People fail at dieting because they consider it a transient thing they motivate themselves to do, thinking they can go back after they’ve lost a certain amount of weight. They need to drill into their head that this is not a diet. This is their way of eating for the rest of their life.
Same with exercising. You’re not waking up, motivating yourself to exercise, then exercising. You are exercising after waking up because this is the natural order of your life.
7. I think if you’re not enjoying it, you maybe need to find a new activity. Not all exercising has to be running and working out. Could try kayaking, rock climbing, jiu jitsu, hell even paintballing.
8. If you’re healthy you’re wealthy. My main motivation is having watched the effects of my parents eating whatever and however much they want, and never exercising. Obesity, heart disease, dozens of medications, and just a shitty quality of life in general. Even then, it’s very difficult to stay motivated sometimes, especially during winter.
9. Virtual races. I love medals and found a site that doesn’t have a time limit. Even when I was starting out I could walk and work towards a medal.
10. Setting mini goals. When I first started I’d say I will at least get dressed for running and if I really wasn’t feeling it I could stop. Then it progressed to at least start and I can stop if I want to. It didn’t happen often and once I started I wanted to finish.
11. Have the right equipment. Running is way easier with good shoes and socks. Spend the $ and avoid injury!
12. Always change the goals. Better time, new events, new routes, whatever.
13. Listen to audiobooks when you work out.
14. Do it earlier in the day if you can and don’t let yourself sit around on your ass watching TV until you do. I basically established a habit of not enjoying “lounging around” until I’ve worked out on three days I’ve designated workout days.
15. I hate sports. But what I like is to romp around. I found a team sport that is pure fun. I still don’t like sports, but I enjoy the fun part together with my friends and stay fit so I can play with them.
16. If you play video games, exercise on a exercise bike or other machine while you play.
17. Sometimes I imagine child me time traveling and seeing adult me, and I want him to think, “Shit, I thought I would always be a skinny wimp, but I look pretty good.”
18. I start small. 5 mins a day or so. Then when that becomes habit and the time has been mentally carved out I increase it to maybe 10 mins. And so on and so on until my habit is fully formed. It’s hard to motivate anyone to get up and immediately start a 30-60 min run. Start small stick to it and increase it after a week or two.
19. If I want to watch 90 Day Fiance/The Bachelor/other terrible shit like that I have to row during the whole episode. I bought a used indoor rower so I can do it at home. You can do this at some gyms now too-my old gym lets you sign into Netflix on the treadmill!
20. Well my tip is that if you have had a shitty day or just don’t feel like doing it, force yourself. There will always be that shitty day or the day when you just don’t feel like doing it, then you have to just force yourself to go and exercise because if you don’t go that day then when the next time comes you’ll probably stay at home and not go exercising and it could lead you to stop going.
21. Competitive progress tracking. I am 71.5 kgs. We both lose 2kgs in the next 2 weeks. Let’s see who gets there first. Helps to have a companion.
22. Pick a TV show you don’t want to quit, but won’t bother watching if you’re not working out.
17 seasons of Star Trek later…
23. I hate gyms, I hate being yelled at by a trainer and I hate doing a class or activity that’s miserable. It’s not my personality.
I started yoga five years ago because it was low impact, easily modified and at the time my flexibility was shit. Keeping with it regularly, it became a hardened part of my schedule and so feels weird if I miss a day.
Yoga was also great because my instructors were mostly about reminding you feeling anxiety as you push your body is normal. Sometimes, when I’m trying something hard, I can still hear one of my old teachers telling the class authoritatively but kindly, “YES you CAN.” So it’s a mind game. You feel that fear roll up, train your brain to accept that feeling but not give in to it. That was probably the best lesson. I can easily push myself past the edge and read the difference between when my hamstring’s about to give out or my lizard brain is panicking.
Exercise is miserable if you’ve already decided it’s going to be miserable. When trying something new, I let myself crack up at the reflection of me nearly dropping weights trying to figure out the class pattern. And when I get it, I really let myself live in that moment.
24. Podcasts and apps are your best friends.
Also, try the “Simple and Sinister” kettlebell routine, it only takes about 15 minutes and works your entire body. It won’t make you big like isolation exercises will, but if you do it 5 nights a week and throw in some running, it will make you really strong and fit and you can do it in front of the t.v. with just a kettlebell or 2.
25. Get dogs, specifically high-energy dogs who will destroy your house if you try to get away with just tossing them into the yard.
I hate exercise, but I have two high-energy dogs that make me walk/run 40 miles a week. I’ve lost weight and kept it off.
26. My mantra is, “You don’t have to like it, you just have to go.” I allow myself to acknowledge that it sucks. At this point in my life, I don’t work out so I can look good naked. I’m just trying to not die. So, I don’t have to like it. I just have to go.
27. Spite. I’m trying to get my revenge body ready in order to get back at two exes who caused me hardly reparable psychological damage.
28. Write down everything, personal bests feel great. If your Bench Press is ‘x’ amount and the next time you do bench you add 2.5 pounds to each side and complete the same number of sets it feels good, you’ve improved. Don’t just go on a treadmill for an amount of time, that is so boring you’ll want to die, go for a certain distance and improve your time at that distance. See how fast you can complete 2 miles, maybe you start out on the treadmill at 5 mph until it hits 2.00 distance, but if that’s too easy do 5.2 mph next time. You’ll eventually get to a speed that is hard for you and when you successfully beat your 2 mile time even by a few more seconds from going 0.1 mph faster than last time it feels good.
29. My motivation comes from the scale, the mirror, and the desire not to have to spend my money on all new pants because I’ve outgrown the ones I have.
30. It’s taken me a long time to get here, but I’ve finally come to realize just how good, energetic, happy, and alive I feel when I exercise regularly. That feeling has become my motivation. I don’t want to feel like a slug anymore.