A few days ago my sister messaged me asking, “How do you motivate yourself when you want to start working out?”
“How do I motivate myself?” I thought.
After thinking about it for a minute, I replied “I love my body enough to take care of it because it’s a temple that I must care for.”
Exercise is one of the many ways to take care of this temple of ours. We gain benefits from exercising that go beyond the physical aspect. We see and feel changes that help us feel better about ourselves. Our mood improves, we feel healthier, we gain confidence, and much more.
After our conversation was over, I thought about motivation. What is it that drives me to the gym each morning? Why is it that even though I’m not a morning person, I drag myself out of bed? I paid attention to my thoughts and actions as I got ready for my workout. Here is what I discovered motivates me and might motivate you:
1. Loving Yourself
Many times we see images of amazing bodies on magazines or television. We wish we had their legs or tight abs. A while back, I stopped wanting what I saw from other pictures and I shifted to wanting to be more like ME. There was a point in my fitness that I was in love with my muscular and toned legs I had built from hiking daily. I wasn’t at my goal weight, but I felt healthy all around and I was loving my body image. So when I hear the question, “Who motivates or inspires you to work out?” my answer is ME. I want to be and look like who I was and felt at my healthiest fitness point. I’m happy with who I am now, but when I think of improving my fitness level and my body image, I want to be inspired by me and not a magazine model.
2. Your Health
I get motivated knowing that when I exercise my body functions the way it should. I know my digestive system will work at the correct speed. My breathing will improve and my energy level will increase. I care about my body and its health. It’s amazing that exercise can help us control health conditions we may struggle with, such as hormonal disorders and insulin resistance. Exercise has the ability to prevent heart conditions and improve mood. What else can motivate you more than the desire to be healthy?
3. With Fun Exercise
I dread boring workouts! When I go to the gym I have to do something I enjoy, such as fitness classes. My favorite is Body Combat. It allows me to feel strong and powerful. For you, it might be a treadmill or an outside run. You might prefer weight lifting or bike riding. Try different work outs and figure out what you like best. You’ll see that motivation will rise when you like what you are doing.
4. Friends that Motivate
Since messaging with my sister, we have sent each other pictures of motivational quotes. We send each other pictures of the healthy food we eat and check in on each other to see how we are doing with the workouts. We give each other information on what foods are beneficial to our bodies and which aren’t. Finding a motivational buddy is a method that works because you rely on each other. It also helps you be accountable for eating healthy and you can lift each other up to do your best. Find someone who wants to get healthier and start sending each other motivational quotes.
This is probably the reason I like fitness classes. Music motivates me to work out harder and push my body to do what my mind says it can’t. When I’m on my way to the gym, I blast my music very loud (yes, hurting my ear drums) and sometimes even sing at the top of my lungs. Music puts us in a happier mood instead of dragging our bodies to the gym. Whenever you feel lazy and want to drive your car back home (like I do sometimes), turn up the music instead. If you are out for a walk, a run, or on the treadmill put on some fast paced music and watch yourself start pushing yourself harder. Go on, get that music going!
Years ago I signed up to a fitness magazine to read about the benefits of exercise and healthy eating. I started learning lots of things about fitness and health. In fact, there came a point I was reading so much I was trying to teach everyone everything I was learning. I probably annoyed them! I no longer do that, but I do read all the time. When you are on social media start clicking on articles, blogs, read books, and read quotes and facts. The more you know, the more you’ll be conscious about the benefits. The information you read will motivate you to keep trying and not give up on your fitness goals. Start reading what you can. Your mind will open up to the importance of taking care of your body.
7. Focusing on How You Feel After A Workout
If I’m a little sore, it’s a good sign (not too much because then you over did it). To me it’s a message that my body is doing something. I feel my body is going through a transformation of getting rid of fat and building muscle. After a workout I feel less bloated, stronger, healthier, and more energetic. Feeling this motivates me to go back the next day. I also start making better decisions about what I eat because I don’t want to ruin the hard work I just did. What I notice most though, is the better mood exercise puts me in. I feel I can conquer the world no matter how tired I am. If I made it through that hour of exercise, I can do it again tomorrow and push myself harder. Start focusing on how well you feel when you work out. Did you feel confident? Energized? Healthy? Next time you notice that you’re talking yourself out of a workout, remember how good you felt!
8. Positive Thoughts
There’s many, I mean many days I feel unmotivated to workout. Many times I fall into the trap of focusing on the scale not moving, and it is then I have to remind myself that the benefits of exercise should overpower the number on the scale. Sometimes (like all of us) I’ll get negative thoughts about my body and my energy to even work out. When those negative thoughts come, try your best to change them into a positive one. Change an “I’m too tired” to an “I will have so much energy.” Change an “I haven’t even lost a pound” to “I’m getting stronger.” When you start turning negative thoughts into positive ones, it will be easier to stay motivated. Once you have done so, you will know that you CAN do what you put your mind to.
So to my sister who asked me how I motivate myself to work out, I say “I love myself.” I love myself and I love the body I was given despite its blemishes. Start loving your body enough to take care of it. Even when you don’t see physical results on the outside, know that inside there are wonderful changes happening. Let your motivation be YOU!
How do you motivate yourself to go exercise? I need more ideas for those days I struggle!