Exercise may not be easy. Getting motivated to exercise may be even more challenging. If you are feeling low on motivation, read on for ways to deal with those pivotal moments. To move or not to move? How do we find just enough spark to get us going on those days where leaving it until tomorrow seems like the best option, even though we know it’s not…
Here are some strategies to get ready, set and go. Run through these options before deciding to throw the towel in:
Turn your excuses upside down
I started evaluating my week thus far and what I had already accomplished. I had done a HIIT run 2 days prior, a weighted workout the day before. I didn’t want to repeat either but I wanted to exert myself beyond a few stretches. I couldn’t use the stationary bike because my right kneecap was still bugging me. I tried to stream a recorded exercise program but it didn’t work. Finding excuses not to exercise comes with little effort. I know the pattern. Give yourself enough time and you can talk yourself out of anything. I flipped the switch and threw the excuses out of the window.
Use music to inspire or improvise
Even though my list of options was apparently limited, I finally decided to look at my playlist for my Sunday’s Essentrics class and made a rough new playlist of songs. Then I improvised. I allowed the music to lead me. I had a loose structure of what I wanted to do, but I essentially allowed myself to “wing it”. If you have exercised before, you can probably string a few activities together to create a workout. If you like music, use it. Everything doesn’t need to be so set and directed. I made it through a workout and didn’t allow the perceived barriers to limit me.
Get your get up on and get over it
One of my colleagues revealed to me one of her ways of getting motivated to exercise. She wears her exercise clothes under her work clothes. One, it’s a constant reminder and two, it eliminates just one more step towards getting started. It’s winter now so the extra layers are possible. Shorts and t-shirt under her pants and whatever she had on top. She left her dress socks on and didn’t bother to change to sweat socks. Her layered get up provided just enough to get over any procrastination and into the exercise arena. My related strategy is to get changed even if I don’t have a plan and then I just get started. No questions asked.
Pick the right duration
The right duration is the one you know you can complete. What is the minimum amount of time required? Do you require a costume change? If you only have a certain amount of time like 30 minutes, make your exercise goal realistic (20 minutes) so you don’t trash it because of apparent time constraints.
Pick the best time of day
If you have committed to starting a new routine, when will you most likely get it done? Be really honest. If you are generally not early to rise, why bother setting the alarm at 5:30 am for a one hour work out. Really? Maybe 30 minutes is more realistic and incorporated into your day just prior, during, or immediately after work or errands. If you like exercising in the evening, maybe commit to an online class or schedule an online workout with a friend. Don’t count on finding that whim to get going later on. If you are saying to yourself, “I’ll do it later”, then do it now.
Take at least one 15 minute break from whatever you are doing and walk from one end of the building to the other or get outside and go around the block.
Figure out what you like to do and why you are doing it
Increase your success of getting motivated to exercise by finding a form of physical activity that is more than just tolerable. If you really hate lifting weights then find something better for you to do. Do you want to feel fitter, lose or maintain your weight, improve your outlook, or relieve yourself from stress? Do you have a sore neck and back from prolonged sitting? Are you finding it harder to do the things you love because you don’t have the energy or mobility?
Whatever your goals are exercise has a lot of fringe benefits. I have multiple reasons why I exercise. Most of all, I want to move with the same ease as I do now for the rest of my life. Challenging myself on a daily basis makes the process easier. Give yourself a physical activity challenge everyday and “give in” to moving.