There are many ways to make exercise more enjoyable and motivate yourself. There are so many benefits to exercising, such as improved mood, sleep, energy and heart health; weight loss; the reduced risk of chronic illnesses as well as depression, stress and anxiety. Exercise will help you stay healthy for longer. You will age well and feel great about your physique and yourself.
To make exercise a habit we need the right mindset. Most of us would already be in shape if it was only about knowing its benefits. There are a few aspects that need to be taken into account when it comes to exercising. A busy schedule and poor health are a few things that can keep us from becoming our best self.
But just like for many things in life, exercise is something that you just need to make time for. The biggest barrier preventing many people from regularly working out is mental. A lack of self-confidence or motivation can easily discourage people from taking positive steps towards improving their fitness levels.
The great news for someone suffering from low motivation that there are a lot of ways that you can follow to make exercise a less intimidating activity and make it more fun.
Breaking the mental barriers
Don’t make working out an all-or-nothing occasion. Don’t spend hours in the gym doing things you hate and are painful for you. A little exercise is better than no exercise at all. Add just a few physical activities into your weekly routine and there will be a positive effect on your mental and emotional health.
Be nice to yourself. Self-compassion is likely to increase the possibility of success. There is no point in beating yourself up about your body, skipping a day at the gym, eating a slice of cake or huffing and puffing when you’re running on the treadmill. Doing this will demotivate you. Forgive your mistakes and learn from them.
Don’t set your expectations too high. You aren’t going to get into peak physical shape after one session at the gym and it’s important to face this reality. Getting into shape is a long-term commitment. High expectations can easily lead to frustration. Don’t be discouraged by the things which you can’t accomplish but rather feel empowered by what you can do. It helps not to obsess over results. Instead, focus on being consistent. Improvements in your mood and energy levels will happen quickly but the physical results will take a while longer to show.
How to make exercise a habit and stay motivated
Set small goals
If your goals are too ambitious you will be more likely to fail and feel demotivated. Start with easy goals that you know you can achieve. As you meet these smaller goals you will build confidence and be able to move on to more ambitious goals.
The most consistent exercisers rely on triggers. These are simply reminders that cause an automatic reaction. They are what get you into a routine, so you don’t need to think about it or decide if you want to go exercise. This can be an alarm, setting out your running shoes so they are the first thing you see when you get up in the morning or heading straight to the gym from work.
You need to reward yourself after exercising, it can be something like a warm bath, your favourite coffee or even watching a movie. Those who have exercised for a long time receive the long-term rewards like improved mood, stress relief, muscle gains and increased energy levels.
There is still no easy way to make exercise irresistible from the start, but by starting and staying consistent it will become a routine that will be very hard to get out of – not that you ever should!
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