How to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

exercise motivation Oct 01, 2019

As the days grow shorter and the weather turns damp and dreary, keeping yourself motivated to exercise is vital to your health and well being. 

Why Exercise is Essential
The research is clear: 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise five days a week, plus 30 minutes of strength training two days per week, significantly lowers your risk for stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis and falls. Regular exercise has been shown to be as effective as anti-depressants for improving mood.

Begin with your Mindset

Your mindset can make or break your motivation. Start paying attention to your thoughts and words. Do you have an exercise avoidance mindset or an exercise motivation mindset?

* Vividly imagine the discomfort of the exercise process (being hot, sweaty, strained, out of breath)?
* Do you say things like “I hate exercise, it's hard, it's boring?”
* Do you make excuses like “I am too busy, I don't have a gym membership, I'll start tomorrow, I'm waiting for the right time, etc.?”
* Do you criticize yourself? For example, “I can never stick with a program, I don't look good in my workout clothes, I'm embarrassed to be seen at the gym.”
* Do you criticize others? For example, "those people at the gym are all stuffy, they go there just to flirt or show off, or they're exercise fanatics.”

If so, you have an exercise avoidance mindset!

The good news is that with a little mindfulness practice, you can create an exercise motivation mindset.

* Vividly imagine how good it feels to complete an exercise session (muscles feeling invigorated, inner sense of satisfaction and pride, sense of optimism from the increased endorphins)?
* Use words that reinforce the enjoyment of movement (I love the way exercise makes me feel; exercise is my "me time")?
* Make exercise a priority by putting it on the calendar and not allowing other demands to infringe upon your time?
* Engage in positive self-talk (I'm making incremental progress, even if I miss a few days I get back on track as soon as I can)?
* Refrain from judging others and focus on your own self-care?
* Choose to exercise before allowing yourself to engage in leisure activities?

Congratulations! These are the hallmarks of an exercise motivation mindset.


Like upgrading a computer program, you can "uninstall" an Exercise Avoidance Mindset and "install" an Exercise Motivation Mindset. Instead of imagining how hard exercise may be, place your attention on how good you'll feel after you exercise. Pat yourself on the back for making incremental progress. Amplify those good feelings of pride and personal accomplishment. Be compassionate with yourself as you focus on progress, not perfection. 

Would you like to boost your mood, elevate your energy, and enhance your motivation for eating healthfully and exercising?

Take the free Mindful Morning 21 Day Challenge today!

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