12 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

ID-100182953Everyone knows why we should be exercising: to improve health, to look good, to feel good, to fit into nice clothes, to burn fat, to lose weight – all that good stuff. And yet, we’re just not doing it. In fact, many of us hardly move at all. We drive everywhere we need to go and then look for the closest parking space; we take the elevator instead of the stairs; we work in front of our computers for hours and then go home and plop on the couch; we watch way too much TV; and then we go to bed.

Our inactivity has become a dangerous national pastime. According to a recent study of more than 120,000 American adults, the more we sit around, the shorter our average lifespan. The results of this study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology provide an excellent reason to get up and get moving – to live longer. Why then, are we not motivated to spend more time exercising?

It seems that losing weight, looking better and feeling better (not to mention living longer) would provide enough motivation to get us moving, but judging from our obesity problem, they are not. The problem with motivation is that many of us believe it’s something that will come to us if we wait long enough – that someday we’ll wake up and finally want to exercise or diet. Rather than believing in this fantasy, maybe we’d be better off by realizing that motivation is something we create, not something we wait for. And before we can create the motivation to do something, we need commitment.

Making a commitment to do anything – exercise more, eat healthy, lose weight – is one of the most fundamental principles of success. When you’re committed, you make it a priority and no matter what comes up, you don’t make excuses. I see this in my practice every day. Clients come in to the office and tell me they absolutely have to lose weight and are very committed to do whatever it takes. Together we come up with a plan – a plan that typically includes exercise such as going for a walk for 30 minutes, 3 or 4 days per week to start. I always ask, “On a scale of 1-10, how committed are you to follow through with this exercise plan?” It’s not uncommon to hear that their level of commitment is a 5 or 6. Unfortunately, that’s not much of a commitment; it’s more like a desire. And there is a vast difference between being committed and desiring something. When you simply desire something, you do it only when the circumstances permit. When you are committed, you accept no excuses. Only true commitment leads to real results.

Get started today. No matter how big or small, make a commitment to exercise and use the list below to help you create motivation. It’s time to get moving. You can do this!

All the Motivation You Need To Hit the Gym (DailyZenList.com)

1. No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch.

2. What seems so hard now will one day be your warm up.

3. Summer bodies are made in the winter.

4. Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.

5. When you feel like giving up, remember how many people you have to prove wrong.

6. Fitness isn’t about being better than anyone else; it’s about being better than you used to be.

7. It’s better to be covered in sweat at the gym, than covered in clothes at the beach.

8. Do today what others won’t, so you can do tomorrow what others can’t.

9. Pain is temporary; quitting lasts forever.

10. You are going to want to give up. Don’t.

11. A year from now, you will be glad you started today.

12. I can’t tell you it will be easy, but I can tell you it will be worth it.

Now I’d love to hear from you.

How do you find the motivation to exercise when you just don’t feel like getting off your butt?

Please share in the comment section below. Your ideas could be very helpful to other readers.

Meanwhile, summer is just around the corner and it’s the perfect time to re-focus on taking care of yourself. Check out my Free Self-Assessment and learn how you can lose 20 lb. – or more. Go to, https://njnutritionist.com/freeconsult

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17 Responses to 12 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

  1. Brittany says:

    These are really great motivations that everyone should think about when they are trying to change their lifestyle. The first step is always the hardest. I really liked when you said “motivation is something you create, not wait for.” This is such a true statement that more people need to take seriously. Thanks for the article.

    • Lorraine Matthews-Antosiewicz says:

      Thanks Brittany. I appreciate the feedback. I agree with you…the first step can be the hardest.

  2. Maya says:

    I love these ideas I can already see me thinking about them later. Something that rly helps me is I have a notes on my iPhone with a list of reasons to loose the weight: things like bikinis impressing the haters (names) things that get me rly worked up about my weight and want to loose it. thx!

    • Lorraine Matthews-Antosiewicz says:

      Hi Maya- I love your technique of putting notes on your iPhone with a list of reasons you want to lose weight. Very creative idea!

  3. Anita Leslie says:

    Thanks for this post. Five years ago I weighed about 400 pounds. I lost almost 200 through diet and exercise. I’ve gone back to school and am studying Nutrition with plans to become an RD. I like you post. I would like to share it on my facebook business page, if that is ok. Feel free to check out my page. I’m always looking for feedback. For me, my motivation is to never be fat again, and I’m trying to transform my body still, exchanging fat for muscle and toning everything up some more. I have a minimum of walking my dogs 1/2 mile every day and am trying to add some high intensity minimum and weight lifting as well. Just trying to have a consistent plan. I never take a day completely off because I worry that one will turn into 7 and then it will be months and I’ll be fat. I feel I must stay vigilant. I also find music to be very helpful. What can seem tedious by itself becomes a lot more fun and easier to do if you crank up the tunes! I like all your motivational quotes. I write things on sticky notes and put them on my mirror! Thanks again for the post and doing what you do here! :)

  4. Soni McGrew, Personal Trainer says:

    September of 2011 I weighed 320 lbs. I started my workout at the gym and lost 35 lbs then hit a plateau and slacked off. I got a personal trainer, lost 6 lbs in 6 months, frustrated. I found another personal trainer who has kicked my butt! In the last year alone I have gone to school to become a personal trainer because of the example I had leading me on my journey of weight loss. I have lost a total of 100 lbs and am striving towards reaching my goal of losing another 40 lbs. I no long have a trainer and am doing it myself it is difficult. My trainer was my motivator, my encourager, the pushing power behind me when I didn’t feel that I could do it. I highly recommend a personal trainer if you are needing that push to get started and get going. My trainer made such a difference in me that that is why I became a personal trainer. I am now helping people on their own weight loss and fitness goals. Check out my blog at: http://www.encouragementthroughweightloss.wordpress.com Don’t give up! It’s a long bumpy road, but the journey is worth it! It’s a choice you have to and need to make. Thanks for letting me share.

  5. gesta says:

    ya… great motivation, keep our healthy

    Detik Kesehatan

  6. Stacy says:

    These are great motivations. The key to exercising is finding something that you like to do. The exercise does not have to be at a gym. I had tried walking, which I liked, but it just wasn’t doing anything for me and I was getting bored. I discovered a group in my area that hikes for fitness. It is very challenging because of the hills. Most everyone in the group is like me, wanting to loose weight and or to stay healthy. For me, this has been a fun adventure which is leading to more adventure. I have started to jog and I just bought my first bike and will be trying that soon. After that, who knows what I will find. Joining this group has surrounded me with others that enjoy doing the same things I like to do, which keeps me motivated to keep up my physical activity. I hike a few times a week and walk at home when I have the time. Now, I don’t like to miss a day of exercising, it has become a part of my daily routine.

    • Lorraine Matthews-Antosiewicz says:

      You makes a really great point, Stacy. The key to exercising is finding something that you like to do. And there are so many fun ways to exercise. Thanks for sharing your inspirational story!

  7. Susan Arnott says:

    Good article Lorraine….thank you for sharing. I was a Personal Trainer for over 20 years and also a Medical Exercise Specialist. I would say that in all of that time almost all of my clients did not achieve their fitness goals permanently for various reasons. Every Trainer I knew had the same experience. Today, I have the late effects of polio and as such have spent the last14 years researching additional aspects of health as it relates to adherence, long term success and of course exercise as it relates to illness. I have learned that exercise is just a small part of being well and that if the right meaning isn’t attached to it from the very beginning, it will ‘fizzle out.’ It’s called neuro associative conditioning. Most people, despite good intentions, associate exercise with pain rather than pleasure and as such, will eventually give up. NAC is a very powerful and quite involved way to begin a lifestyle change but well worth learning. Change the meaning and you will change your life….literally. I know, I’ve had to do it many times now that I have PPS. It works so well.

  8. Lisa says:

    I am an ACE certified personal trainer, group ex. instructor and “health coach” with over 20 years experience in this industry. I’m a professional (all-natural) bodybuilder as well as 50% owner in a personal training studio, Burn Fitness Training. I’m currently in the process of becoming a DTR going on for my master’s degree in sports and nutrition sciences. I’ve seen, and posted on FB myself, all 12 of your motivational quotes.

    I couldn’t agree more with your contention that motivation and commitment are the two things holding people back. I have a great client-base right now…some of them are “rockstars,” giving me 100% every time they come in; some of them are beginners, still trying to make the lifestyle change; some of them need me and some of them don’t; but all of them are committed and motivated.

    It breaks my heart when someone starts training with me, lasting anywhere from 5-25 sessions, and just when they start making “working out” a habit, decide not to continue. Sometimes it’s money, sometimes it’s time, sometimes there are vague explanations like: “I just need to take a few weeks off, but I’ll be back.” Whatever the excuse is, they all sound the same to me, “This is something I thought I wanted but it’s just not important enough to me right now.”

    I personally have worked out since high school (over 25 years). I am one of those unique people with tons of intrinsic motivation, I don’t need reasons outside of myself to do it…I exercise because I love it. I wish I could give everyone who “wants to” train with me, or wishes they had my body, just a few drops of my excitement, endorphins and awe every time I start a workout.

    Since that is impossible, I will continue to do what I do: motivate, inspire and encourage as many people as I can to be their best, strongest, most fit selves and help them to realize that they, and they alone, are control of their health and wellness!

  9. RAegan Perkins says:

    I love your motivation statements!!!
    For me to keep up with my exercise I do best when others are counting on me. A friend or two, we always count on each other to push each other. We keep one another accountable, the kind of friends that i’m not self conscious around and we know what we say to the other is because we care about our well being!
    Another thing that helps is working out in front of mirror, I know sounds CRAZY… but heres the thing, sometimes you don’t lose weight or you feel like you might have gained and that can get people down. So why I do it is because as I do a lunge I see my form is better than last week or I can see that my legs look better than before or I realize I’m not as fatigued or I recover faster then last month and its motivation to do it again the next day.

  10. Ellene Holt says:

    Hi, I am a certified nutrition educator and supplement consultant at an independent natural foods store. One of my specialties is nutrition therapy in addiction recovery, including sugar/carbs.
    A couple of quotes to share, neither of which are original and I don’t know who to thank for them!
    1. Someday is not a day of the week.
    2. Whatever you spend alot of time doing, is what you’ll get good at.

    If we spend alot of time watching tv, we’ll get really good at… watching tv! If we spend alot of time drinking alcohol, we’ll get really good at drinking alcohol! The list is practically infinite.

    Thanks to all for your posts.

  11. Larry Peacock says:

    Great Job. A technique that I use to motivate myself and my patients is to have them create an imagine of themselves in the future–a year or 5 years from now–and then talk to future self.

    I routinely do this and I will ask Future Larry what is it that you want me do. I don’t want to live with regret and feel like I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to stick with x, y, and z. No regrets. Live the life you want.

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