10 Ways to Stay Motivated to Workout

We’ve all been there: trudging to the gym, half-heartedly stretching for 10 minutes, moving like mud on the elliptical for 20 minutes, then leaving without really having worked out. It can be tough to stay motivated, especially if you’re not sure what you’re working towards. Here are 10 ways to help gain and maintain your workout momentum.

1. Set a goal

Whether your goal is to do a pushup or run a 5k, there’s power in identifying (and writing down) your goal. In fact, if you do, you're 42% more likely to achieve that goal than someone who doesn't. Knowing you’re working toward something is an excellent motivator.

2. Make that goal SMART

SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Knowing what you’re shooting for helps you break your goal down into manageable steps, which helps you stay on track. Seeing regular progress and knowing what to expect is a great way to keep motivated.

3. Schedule a regular workout time and stick to it

Sit down and schedule time each day to dedicate to exercise. That may mean getting up earlier or going to bed later, but stick to the schedule you build for yourself (even when you’re tired). By sticking to your plan, you’ll establish the momentum you need to keep going.

4. After each workout, write down how you feel

Whether you keep track in a journal, on your blog, or just via text to your loved one, write down how you feel after every workout. When you’re low on motivation, you’ll have a way to remind yourself of how you felt last time you worked out. It gives you something to look forward to, as well as accountability.

5. Meet up with your friends

Exercising with friends is great! It creates accountability, gives you another reason to get to the gym, and encourages you to work harder once you’re there. If your friends don’t or can’t go to your gym, it’s an opportunity to make new friends with the people there.

6. Try group fitness

If you’re like most of us, going to a group exercise class gets you excited to see instructors and other gym-goers. The energy of the class encourages you to keep going when you feel like you want to quit. Plus, you’ve got a built-in cheer squad!

If you’re not a group fitness person, try a personal trainer--they’ll show you how to move correctly, and keep you accountable.

7. Do what you love

Try different types of exercise to find something you really enjoy doing. That way, exercise feels like fun, and it’ll be its own reward. Momentum will be easier to maintain, and the cost of whichever gym you choose will feel less like a burden on your budget.

8. Track your successes

Track them on an app, post on social media or write it down on a good ol’ paper calendar, but RECORD YOUR SUCCESS! Not only will it make you feel good, it’ll give you something to look back on later (when you have even more successes under your belt) to see how far you’ve come.

9. Make it fun

Turning workouts into games or establishing friendly competitions with other people in your gym can make going to the gym fun! Find a way to make exercise fun for you, and stick with it.

10. Give yourself a reward

Pick a reward you can use to congratulate yourself daily, weekly or monthly for sticking to your health and fitness goals. Set the reward to correspond to your weak points (e.g. doing cardio, quitting early) so you’re motivated to always do your best.

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- About the Author -

Claire Mulholland, personal trainer and coach

Claire Mulholland

Claire is a full-time coach, and passionate about proper nutrition and working with people from all fitness backgrounds. Read more about Claire.

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