5 Tips to Increase Exercise Motivation

For many of us, the most difficult part of beginning an exercise program is overcoming our mental block against it. But once you get into a regular routine, you might actually look forward to it — especially when you start noticing the positive physical changes and how good it makes you feel. The following are a few tips to help change your attitude about exercise and begin to think of it as an integral part of your everyday life. 

Woman resting after a workout
  1. The five-minute rule:
    • Make a deal with yourself that you’re going to exercise for five minutes. No matter how busy you are, you can set aside five minutes each day to work out. The deal is, you can stop exercising after the five minutes are up, but you have to stick with it for those five minutes. Most people will find they’ll continue exercising for a full 30 minutes or longer without much resistance. It’s getting started that’s the most difficult part.
  2. Use the buddy system:
    • Find a workout buddy who’ll commit to beginning an exercise routine with you and be able to offer moral support. Both you and your friend will be more likely to stick with an exercise plan if you feel accountable to each other. We don’t like letting our friends down, so we’ll exercise on days we would normally have made up an excuse not to. Turning exercise into a social activity can also make the experience more enjoyable.
  3. Distract yourself:
    • Exercise while you’re watching TV or listening to upbeat music. You are more likely to exercise harder and longer if you’re not constantly watching the clock and wishing for it to be over.
  4. Bribe yourself:
    • Rewards work! Make sure to reward yourself for meeting exercise goals. This could be an immediate reward, such as taking a relaxing bubble bath after your workout. Or it could be a longer-term reward, like buying a new outfit or treating yourself to a massage for sticking with your program a whole month.
  5. Visualize:
    • When you’re sitting on your couch coming up with excuses not to work out, take a few minutes to visualize yourself exercising and feeling refreshed. Imagine being in the last stretch of your run and how good your body feels. Or visualize the stress leaving your body as you breathe in fresh air and release the tension from your muscles.