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Healthy Lifestyle Centrum Aruba  >  News   >  Read This if You’re Struggling with Motivation to Exercise

Read This if You’re Struggling with Motivation to Exercise

Author: Jason D. Cooper

Start small and gain confidence slowly but surely
Exercise. Working out. Hitting the gym. Everybody knows they should be doing it, but for some reason many people just don’t. It’s strange because if there was a pill which offered the same benefits as exercise, it would quickly become the most popular selling drug of all time. Here are some strategies and mindsets you can use if you find yourself seriously struggling to establish an exercise habit.

Easy Step #1
Many of you are probably overcomplicating exercise. You probably think that you need to be working out for 90 minutes every day and have some carefully crafted split routine. It doesn’t need to be complex at all.

Deep down, you know exactly what it is you need to be doing, you just need to move. That’s why if you find yourself struggling to workout, the easiest thing you can do is just to start with the smallest possible action.

This can be as simple as just going out for a walk for 10 minutes, or even 5 minutes. Hell, walk out your damn door and walk to the end of the block and walk back for all I care, just do something.

Schedule a time in the day you are going to do 10 squats or 10 push-ups (a great time would be first thing in the morning after you get out of bed). You are just trying to get yourself in the habit of doing some form of exercise in your day.

This could even be putting on your workout clothes. Resolve within yourself that you will put on your workout clothes at a specified time you would want to work out tomorrow. Once you put on your workout clothes you have then accomplished that goal, yippie! The thing is, you will then be much more likely to go to the gym or start to exercise since you took that one small step.

Start stupidly small.

Next do This…
Once you have started doing something you will start to gain a sense of confidence and belief in yourself, this is the time to double down on the new habit you are building into your identity.

I had a P.E. teacher in high school who used this one strategy to get his students to be able to do more push-ups, he called it the “one more method”. Basically, on day one you would start by doing one single push up. Then on day two you would do two push-ups, day three you do three push-ups and so on and so forth. Every time when we would get to the previous day’s number of push-ups he would yell “what’s one more!”

You can use this same type of strategy for any type of fitness goals you have. I would encourage you to make these goals action-oriented goals for yourself as opposed to results oriented goals. You can try the push up method I mentioned or anything else. If you ran half a mile earlier in the week, try running three quarters of a mile today. If you did two minutes of abs yesterday, do it for three minutes today.

Just do a little more today than you did yesterday, do so consistently, and you will set yourself up for success.

“Pushing yourself to be the best is unsustainable. Simply push yourself to be better than the day before”-Simon Sinek

You Never Know Until You Try

Have you ever really pushed yourself? I mean like, reached the point where you were really wanting to quit, but just kept going? When you are gasping for air and barely able to hold yourself up, but you Just. Keep. Going!

If you haven’t, I challenge you to try just once. It’s hard to explain if you’ve never pushed yourself past the point of wanting to quit, but all I can say is there is an awesome sense of peacefulness which comes after you are done. It’s like a crazy endorphin rush followed by a wave of calm and quaintness which takes over the mind and body.

If you can get yourself to experience this state a couple of times, you will then start to crave that feeling more and more, until you start to get addicted to that feeling. I should also add the sense of pride and confidence you will feel after pushing yourself beyond your perceived limits.

You also eventually realize that what you thought was so miserable and horrible, actually isn’t all that bad, which is true of most of our fears in life.

Do what is hard, try it a couple times and you will then want to do it again and again!

When all Else Fails do This

Do something you actually enjoy.

Like I said before, it doesn’t have to be so complicated. Many of you reading this are probably stuck indoors most of the day either working remotely or in your cubicle. Your bodies yearn for movement but you also feel stuck at the same time.

Do something fun when all else fails.

If you enjoy playing basketball, go to the park and shoot some hoops. If you enjoy tennis, go find a partner and volley a little bit. If you like hiking, find a nice trail near you and just soak in the sunlight and fresh air (the app
AllTrails is a great resource to find places you can hike). It could be biking, swimming, rollerblading, or even dancing. Make it fun for you.

Make it so that you don’t end up associating exercise and movement just with pain and misery. Just start by getting out and moving any way you can and genuinely enjoy yourself in the process.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, you now have some basic strategies in order to start working out and moving more if you struggle to motivate yourself to do so.

The reality is that doing some form of exercise needs to become a non-negotiable in your life in order to be at your best.

“Change equals self-improvement. Push yourself to places you haven’t been before”-Pat Summit

Don’t stress though, just start small. Build little by little. After you do that, challenge yourself to go beyond your limitations and soak in the glorious pride and endorphins that come with it. Then when all else fails just find the time to do something fun.

Stop overcomplicating exercise, it doesn’t need to be complicated. It just needs to be done!

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