“Nothing will work unless you do” -Maya Angelou-

Do you associate exercise with something unpleasant? Are you having trouble getting off of the couch or out of bed to exercise? You know that you “should” exercise to lose weight or be healthier or get muscle tone, but you can’t seem to stick to a routine. Do any of these excuses sound familiar?

  • You’re too tired to exercise.
  • You’d like to exercise, but you don’t have time.
  • No one sees you anyway.
  • You’ll do it tomorrow.
  • You need your sleep.
  • You just ate and you’re too full.

Exercise is one of the top things that people want me to coach them on. What if you changed your mindset and instead of thinking about what you “should” do or making excuses for not doing it, you took on a positive mindset.

Personally, thinking back to what I call “The 7th grade gym experience,” makes me twitch. I was that kid that always got hit in the head with the ball. Whatever sport they tortured us with, I prayed that it wouldn’t come my way because I knew I wouldn’t catch it or get it over the net, or whatever you were supposed to do with it.

Fast forward to the present day. Exercise is the glue that holds me together. What changed? I’ve redefined what exercise means to me and customized it to fit my life.

Here are 10 ways to motivate yourself to exercise regularly:

  1. Visualize the end result. Picture yourself wearing that special outfit. Maybe there’s a wedding or reunion you’ll be going to. Wouldn’t it be great to fit into your favorite outfit or even buy a new one?
  2. Reinvent the way you exercise. Find something you enjoy. Maybe you don’t like the treadmill but you would love pilates or walking outdoors or dancing. The important thing is to move.
  3. Get an accountability buddy. Sometimes just telling someone that you are going to take an action is enough to make yourself accountable. Maybe you want to post it on social media and let everyone cheer you on or join an accountability group.
  4. Find an exercise partner. Is there someone you can exercise with in person or virtually? For example, you can use an app to connect with friends who work out and see who has exercised the most in a particular week.
  5. Buy something that entices you to exercise. You might feel more motivated if you have something that makes exercise more pleasurable. It might be new sneakers, a workout outfit, Peloton equipment, an Apple Watch, different colored weights or a yoga mat.
  6. Think about yourself feeling healthy. Visualize yourself with more energy to play with the children or pets in your life or to play sports.
  7. “Hear” the compliments. Imagine your friends and family telling you how great you look or noticing that you lost weight.
  8. Measure and track results. Use an app or fitness tracker to see how many steps you’ve taken or calories you’ve burned. Other options are to take before and after pictures, weigh yourself at periodic intervals or take your measurements.
  9. Reward yourself. Instead of just eating a cookie, work out first and then eat the cookie. Maybe the results you’ll see from working out will be enough of a reward and you won’t even want that cookie. Set milestone goals and figure out a reward system for yourself, for example, you’ll buy that new laptop after you’ve lost 10 pounds.
  10. Congratulate yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you only did a few reps or a short exercise routine. Whatever you did is more than you would have done laying on the couch. Focus on what you did and not what you didn’t do.

Whatever exercise you choose to do, have fun and don’t compare yourself to anyone else. This is your journey and it’s not “7th grade gym class” unless you want it to be!