How Do I Get Motivated to Exercise?

Medically Reviewed on 7/8/2021
how to get motivated to exercise
Here are 10 tips for getting motivated to work out and stick to an exercise routine

We all know exercise is good for our health. But doing it is another story.

Sticking to an exercise routine can be difficult. So how can you get motivated to do it consistently and not skip a session when you’re feeling lazy?

10 tips for getting motivated to exercise

If you have to drag your feet to the gym every time, here are 10 tips that can help you stay motivated.

1. Set simple goals

If your goals are too big, achieving them may seem overwhelming and you may eventually get so frustrated that you just give up. Set reasonable goals that you know you can accomplish.

For example, instead of trying to walk 30 minutes every day, set a target of 10 minutes 2-3 times a week. Then, gradually increase it to 20 minutes, then 30 minutes, then more days, etc. until you are at 30 minutes daily.

2. Keep an exercise journal

What are your reasons for exercising? Is it for weight loss? For diabetes? For more energy? Whatever your long-term goal is, put it down on paper.

You can also write down details about your exercises in your journal. For example, list what exercises you do, how long you do them, and how you feel afterward. Tracking your progress in writing can help you keep going.

3. Do something active each day

Even if you skip your regular workout at the gym, you can make up for it by doing other kinds of physical activities throughout the day. 

This may be as simple as taking your dog for a walk, taking the stairs instead of an elevator, doing a few squats in front of your desk. etc. Make physical movement in any shape or form a daily habit.

4. Change up a boring routine

Exercising does not necessarily mean sweating it out on a treadmill. Sometimes, you may not like a particular workout or exercise because it has become monotonous. 

When you get bored with a routine, find a way to mix things up and make it fun again. Try dancing, doing a class, or starting a new sport. Or you can try simple exercises at home. Doing a variety of activities in between your routine workouts can motivate you to stick to your fitness program.

5. Get your friends to join you

Try asking your family, friends, co-workers, or neighbors to join you in physical activities such as biking, jogging, or walking. Ask them to encourage you in your fitness journey. Having someone beside you is a great way to stay committed to any activity.

6. Listen to music that gets you pumped

Music can be a great motivator. Put on songs you love while lifting weights or running on the treadmill. 

7. Stop comparing yourself to others

While you aim to get in shape, avoid the trap of comparing yourself to people who are fitter or more flexible than you are. This is a surefire way to get discouraged. Instead, focus on yourself and let your goals be tailored to your needs and not to others’ perceptions of you.

8. Break it up

If doing a long workout seems overwhelming or is just too difficult, break it up into mini-sessions throughout the day. 

9. Rest when you need to

Don’t overdo it. Being too hard on yourself can not only make you sore, but can also stress you out. Be flexible and let yourself take needed breaks when you need them.

Of course, while you don’t want to overdo it, you also don’t want to go too easy on yourself either. Try not to rest for more than 2 days in a row, and do what you can to stay on track.

10. Reward yourself

Treat yourself with small rewards, whether that’s a massage, a new pair of shoes, or something else you enjoy.

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Medically Reviewed on 7/8/2021
Mayo Clinic. Fitness: Tips for Staying Motivated.