9 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Work Out
By: Matt Weik. August 13, 2018
I’m going to be honest, there are days that I simply don’t want to work out. Heck, there are even some weeks where I’m just so busy that I want to skip my workouts altogether. However, I know if I put my workouts on the backburner, that not only am I going to regret it, but I’m also going to find it harder to get back in the groove. Therefore, in this article, you will find some sure-fire ways to motivate yourself to work out.
1. Look at your before pictures
Many of us don’t give ourselves enough credit for the work we have already put into our health and wellness. There are so many people who were severely overweight, who jumped on the opportunity to learn how to live a healthier lifestyle, who lost the weight, and after the weight came off, they started to lose motivation.
A great way to motivate yourself is to look at old photos. Remember the person in that photo? The one who didn’t want to go to the beach or the pool and take their shirt off? Remember the person in that photo who as soon as they took their last bite of food was already looking forward to their next meal? You killed that person years ago and constructed a new life, a new person from the ground up. You don’t want to throw all of that hard work and dedication away just because you’ve lost some motivation. Use those old pictures to refuel your desire to continue moving forward.
2. Remember why you started working out in the first place
What made you want to start exercising? Maybe it was a loved one who died of a massive heart attack due to poor lifestyle choices? Maybe it was because the doctor told you that you’re on the verge of diabetes and you need to start taking better care of yourself and watch what you eat? Regardless of the actual event or moment, use that to push yourself. You don’t want to relive those moments. You don’t want to end up like the person who scared you into working out. You don’t want to be on the verge of a medical crisis due to your poor lifestyle choices. Remember why you started in the first place.
3. Look at your goals
What are your goals? If they are goals, then you haven’t reached them yet. So, in essence, your journey is not over. You haven’t completed the task at hand just yet. Even then, you still don’t want to stop. I’m hoping if you follow my work, you’ve used my advice and have written your goals down on paper and keep them somewhere that you look at them often. Remind yourself what you’re working so hard for. Is it a weight loss goal you want to hit before an exciting vacation? It is a physique goal so you can stand up on stage at a competition? Whatever the goal, keep reminding yourself of what you are pushing so hard to achieve.
4. Hire a personal trainer
If you want to get your butt kicked, then hire a personal trainer. Their job is to push and motivate you. If they aren’t, well, find a new trainer! There are plenty of trainers out there who would love to put you through a workout and see you reach your goals.
Another key piece of this is that you’re paying this individual. Most personal trainers have a cancellation policy where if you skip a workout with them, you’re still charged for the session. After a few of those, you’re going to notice your wallet is getting smaller and lighter. If that isn’t enough for you to get your rear in gear, I don’t know what is.
5. Change up your workout
Sometimes we lose motivation because we are simply bored with our workouts. If you are constantly doing the same thing each workout, each week, each month, you’re going to drive yourself nuts. Change up your workouts every few weeks or tweak them slightly each workout.
Maybe you start off by doing sets of 10 reps. Your next workout you could change it up a little by pushing for 12 reps. Or, increase the weight and push for 6-8 reps. If you’ve already been doing that, change up the exercise variant. Rather than using a barbell for chest press, change it up to dumbbells or a machine like a Hammer Strength chest press. A simple change can yield amazing benefits, not only in your motivation but your results as well.
6. Reward yourself
Who doesn’t like to treat themselves to something nice? Especially when you deserve it! Something I have personally done and I’ve seen many of my clients do is when you reach one of your goals, go out and buy something that has to do with your goal. For instance, if you have a weight loss goal and hit it, go out and buy yourself a new pair of workout pants or some workouts shirts/tops. If you enjoy doing cardio, go out and reward yourself with a new pair of shoes (that you ONLY wear when exercising). You want to make it something that reinforces your behavior. Going out and buying a bowtie has nothing to do with your weight loss goals, and would therefore not be a good reward.
You don’t need to go out and buy anything super expensive (though you can if you really wanted to). The key here is to work towards a goal in order to warrant the reward. Once you get the reward, it’s primary role is to not only remind you of how hard you worked, but to also keep you on track and motivated to reach your next goal. Try to make the goals fairly lofty, don’t make them so simple that every weekend you’re going out to buy a new pair of shoes, etc.
7. Put on your workout clothes
Sometimes when you don’t feel like working out, the best thing to do is to just put on your workout clothes and shoes. Mentally, it wires your brain into thinking you’re getting ready to exercise. Sometimes this is all you need to say, “well, I’m dressed for the gym, so I might as well go.” As goofy as it sounds, it actually works. Funny enough, I even know people who sleep in their workout clothes so when they wake up in the morning they don’t even need to get dressed, they can put their shoes on and go workout immediately and get it out of the way so they’re less likely to skip their workout later in the day.
8. Workout with a friend or family member
A great way to motivate yourself to exercise is to have another sucker, err, I mean friend to work out with. Your job is to motivate your friend or family member and their job is to do the same for you. You need to be able to hold them accountable just like they need to ensure you’re showing up.
By having a “buddy” to exercise with, you not only have a spotter for exercises, but you have your own cheering section of the gym. Your lifting partner can push you to squeeze out more reps, increase the weight, and kick up the intensity on the cardio. You and your partner are more of a support team for each other, regardless if your goals are completely opposite.
9. Load new music on your device to listen to
I don’t know anyone who likes to exercise in silence. People are generally either jamming to their favorite tunes, or they are listening to some sort of audiobook. Either way, loading up some fresh audio on your device is a great way to motivate yourself to get your butt in the gym. Regardless if it’s Frank Sinatra or Eminem, with the right music you can completely transform your workouts from something dull and boring to something exciting and motivating.
One thing to make note of… do yourself and everyone around you a favor, and regardless of how loud you like your music, please wear headphones. You might like Eminem, but others in the gym might not want to listen to him. Have some courtesy and respect those around you.