How many times have you heard the phrase "I Can't work out because I'm not motivated", or "I'll work out when I feel motivated"? Chances are, you've heard it far too much.
The sad reality, however, is not that people don't want to exercise, it's just that they find it difficult to form the correct frame of mind that is conducive to fitness.
This is especially true for people who are in seemingly good health; have relatively normal BMI, no outward signs or symptoms of illness, and find it a better use of time to just not exercise.
But this is often what sets into motion a dangerous cascade of events; people become increasingly sedentary, start to notice their bodies changing, and often gain weight.
This can cause feelings of low self-esteem, guilt, and even depression.
It's clear that exercise is one of the most important components of a healthy life and so it's extremely important to develop the habit of working out.
But don't get worked up and spin your wheels in a circle again- that's why we have penned this blog post.
After reading to the end, you'll discover effective techniques that make you want to work out, and thus, forge a healthy lifelong habit.
Define Your Reasons
To appropriately answer this question, you need to delve deeper than the surface response that comes to mind when asked this question. What do we mean by this?
For many people, their reason initially sounds like this "I want to lose weight", or "I want to get abs".
While those are definitely desirable reasons, truth be told, they are NOT enough to ensure that you stick to exercise when the going gets tough.
Rather, you need to define harsh realities. These can include "I need to get healthier so I'm there for my baby's college graduation", or "to live for my grandma who died as a result of suicide, the fifth close relative in my family".
These all place high stakes on personal and emotional attachment to your reasons. If there's one thing we know, it's the fact that placing family and loved ones as the center of whatever you do in this life is a powerful force that can drive you to success; this is no different with exercise.
Make A Schedule
A schedule is one of the most powerful tools available at our fingertips that many people don't even realize exists. Scheduling the time for workouts is very important during the initial phases of becoming mentally ok with performing exercise on a steady basis.
A large component of its success stems from accountability; if you are reminded of your upcoming workout every time you open the refrigerator, for example, you are almost certainly not going to forget, thus, reducing the chances of you not working out.
Plus, it's a fact that waiting for motivation before scheduling a workout is scarcely a good approach- what does work is forming a habit of working out, even when you feel like you don't want to. Habits are the drivers of success in life.
Be Entertained, If Needed
What type of exercise is universally despised? If you answered cardio, then give yourself a pat on the back. Yes, sir, there's nothing quite as soul-crushing as the slow torture known as cardio.
But does cardio have to be painful? Not necessarily.
Given, we are referring to cardio performed on a range of indoor machines, since outdoor cardio doesn't leave room for boredom.
However, back to the indoor cardio-goers. A simple way to bust the monotony of cardio is to simply watch your favorite show.
This helps to take your mind off the actual boredom of cardio, while also providing a sense of entertainment that motivates you to push harder and longer.
Remember, the goal is to form a habit- it doesn't matter how this initial habit was formed as long as it gets you going in the right direction.
Music is also a great distraction to take your mind off of the dreaded exercise, and over time, you might appreciate being able to watch an episode or listen to a podcast while doing your thing.
On the flip side, if you are an outdoorsy person, biking, jogging, or even just going for a walk are all great ways to stay entertained and engaged while you exercise.
Don't Sleep With Your Alarm
Are you trying to have your set alarm fail? Then put it under or in the vicinity of your pillow. When it goes off in the morning, it's easy to swipe it off and continue sleeping. Of course, sleep is great, but it will get in the way of the great intentions you had the previous evening when you planned an early morning workout.
Instead, place your set alarms out of reach; ideally a few feet away from your bed that will require you to get up and eventually get moving to shut it off. This way, you will be a lot more likely to actually go through with your plan.
Some alarms have a gradual ritual wakeup that will slowly introduce louder and more intense alarms; this way you don't wake up with the sound of the sky falling and immediately feel your stress hormones peaking.
Set Realistic Goals
You've heard this time and time before, but what do realistic goals look like? To be frank, it's impossible to set a goal before you have set foot in a gym or started any sort of exercise.
Why? It's because there was no quantifiable gauge of your current fitness level.
So while it's great to say "I want to run a 5k" or "Squat 500lbs", until you start training in those disciplines, you won't know what's a realistic goal.
For example, a particular weightlifting program I was following sought to increase the resistance of repetitions performed in each workout. Problem was, I quickly realized that adding 5lbs to your workout every single time was no easy feat.
Hence, I devised an excellent workaround. By investing in magnetic micro-weights, you can reliably add a very small amount of resistance every workout- sometimes, so minuscule that your mind couldn't fathom the increase.
These increments could be as little as one-quarter of a pound, which when you're already doing over 500 pounds, is a welcome improvement week-over-week.
Likewise, work up to that 5k. Start doing whatever feels comfortable, and slowly, do more, bit by bit. This is the way huge things are achieved and stacked for permanent habits.
Plus, you are much less likely to feel defeated from not having met your goals, which were too large from the beginning and set you up for failure without your knowing it.
A supplement such as Foundation; a combination of ATP and creatine can significantly help with your progression and will keep you feeling driven to achieve your goals.
Take Meal Prep Religiously
Even if you aren't particularly religious in the typical sense, you need to follow and apply the teachings of meal preparation to the tee if you desire change.
Meal prep done on the weekends takes the guesswork out of eating during the workweek- you are less likely to order out, eat junk food, and can reliably be sure of how many calories and nutrients you are consuming.
Yes, you can definitely still make a habit out of working out without the dieting aspect, but it should really be viewed as a holistic approach.
You might soon feel disillusioned with not making the progress you thought an exercise program might deliver, and falling off the bandwagon is a high possibility.
Coupled with healthy eating, you are significantly more likely to succeed and see the fruits of your labor.
Find A Real Workout Partner
A reliable workout partner can make all the difference in the world. This isn't a casual someone who makes good conversation, or that friend you had to force and coerce to work out- rather, it's someone whose desire and drive to work out equals, or even better- exceeds your own.
This way, you won't be the only one who has to call, frequently nudge with reminders, or generally have to be the life of your workout sessions.
Better yet, a workout partner will hold you accountable by checking in with you and making sure you're still on track even when motivation levels seem to dip.
This person can also provide much-needed feedback, which can play an essential role in helping you reach your goals faster than you could have on your own.
This is especially important as motivation alone very rarely leads to reliable longevity when it comes to exercise.
What it requires is putting in the hard work even when you don't "feel like it". That is the secret sauce of what separates the dreamers from the doers.
Split It Up
Most people who claim that they don't have the time to work out are actually just talking a load of crap. They just choose to use their free time to do something else.
But then, there are a genuine few who work 2-3 jobs, and all they think about is sleep at the end of it all.
If you have that yearning for exercise because you know you have to, but time is a squeeze, split it up, bit by bit.
You should be allowed breaks; during that time, take 5-10 minutes to walk. Do that 3 times a day. You probably don't need an hour to have lunch.
Where there is a will there is always a way. If this still isn't possible, try ways to get more exercise done daily that won't necessarily detract from your work, such as taking stairs, walking a block or two to your home, and taking the long route when given the opportunity.
These little things add up and can make a tremendous difference in your physical health, as well as your mental well-being.
You Must Sleep
Insomnia definitely takes a chunk out of your energy reservoirs, both physically and mentally. That's why it's so easy to ignore your alarm under the pillow when you've only had 5 hours of sleep, or choose to shut your eye instead of exercising when given the chance.
That's why you have to ensure you give yourself enough opportunity to rest. If you plan on waking at 5 am, you should try to get to bed by 9 pm.
If you still can't get some shut-eye after tossing and turning for an hour, then it's time to try a non-habit-forming sleep like DREAMZZZ.
You must give your body one of the largest advantages it has to get better- enough sleep.
Pre-emptive rewards are an excellent way to stay on track with your workout routine and ensure that you don’t give up from fatigue or mental exhaustion.
It’s important to remember that you are doing this for yourself, and you should be rewarded for the efforts you put in.
Think of something small that will make you happy but doesn’t involve food or alcohol (as these would offset any progress made from your workout).
Perhaps treat yourself to a massage or buy yourself some new gym clothes.
The key is to make sure you find something that will encourage you to keep going and can act as a positive reinforcement toward your fitness goals.
Maybe even that wearable fitness tracker you had your eyes on.
Not only does this give you something to look forward to, but it also keeps motivation levels high and helps you stay on track with your workout routine in the long run.
Initially, during the first 12 weeks or so, it will be tough. There will be many days that you think it's ok to skip, but habits stack and snowball into bigger ones, no matter how bad or good they may be. You will not get back on track the following day.
That's why it's essential to stick to the schedules you have created for yourself; and trust us, there's nobody better to create the schedule.
After you manage to stick to the plan for 12 weeks, it gets so much easier. You start working out, almost like second nature, and you'll be well on your way to better health.