Do you ever wonder how to get yourself mentally motivated for some great exercising? How to turn your occasional cross-fit or aerobic fitness program into a regular ritual?
Some people want to sweat so much but they struggle in keeping themselves mentally motivated to keep going and make fitness a part of their daily routine.
Your usual wisdom may not be up to the task when it comes to putting on your workout shoes and getting out the door and running. Many fitness experts say you have to do a new workout 21 days in a row for it to become a part of your daily life.
But, what happens when you are just not in the mood simply because the weather is cold outside and you want to sleep like a comfy baby on your bed?
Five Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Mentally Motivated to Exercise
Psychologists and economists have studied ways to crack the code of getting us to do things we just don’t want to regularly do. Check out these five scientifically proven ways to stay mentally motivated to exercise.
1. Treat Yourself With a Reward
The real goal of your workout is losing weight and looking better. But, that may no longer be enough for you… maybe you would rather just watch your diet than sweat regularly. Make a deal with yourself for extra treats when you get an exercise routine in place. For instance, buy yourself new clothing, or watch an episode of your favorite series afterward a great workout.
- According to writer Charles Duhigg, devising a neurological loop, called a “habit loop” will govern any habit. Habit loops have three elements: cue, routine and reward. Duhigg explains that the reward element is so powerful because it links your brain to it and makes that powerful connection a worthwhile behavior. He also adds that successful rewards help increase the odds of a routine becoming a habit.
- As you continue on with your habit loop, your motivation becomes inherent, and your brain starts to affiliate the sweat and agony of exercising with increased endorphins, which become the reward. Over time, your brain acknowledges that the workout itself is the reward without having the want and need for other treats.
2. Create an Exciting Workout Playlist
Another way to motivate yourself to get through any workout is pumping up the jams. Recent research shows how music motivates you to exercise longer and better. Plan ahead and make a workout playlist that is full of pumped-up tunes that you can listen to when you are about to quit.
3. Pick Up a Fitness Mantra
Originally a concept from Hinduism and Buddhism, a mantra is a word or phrase that aids in meditation or concentration. Mantras can be a quote from Gandhi or a song lyric. Pick up a fitness mantra that will help you keep going when you feel like giving up. According to psychologist Leah Lagos, “Different words create resonance in the body for different people.”
- This means you must use a phrase that has a personal connection, a phrase that lights a fire within yourself. Look for fitness motivation quotes and pick one or two powerful phrases that can help you get through your workout.
4. Sign a Personal Commitment Contract
It is easy to make promises, but it’s hard to actually stick to them. To combat this, make a personal commitment contract with yourself. Then, consider signing it potential witnesses, particularly those who will hold you accountable and be supportive.
- Actually, you can extend the stakes higher by signing a contract that involves paying an amount of money when you skip a certain exercise or routine. For instance, sign a contract with a consequence of a $20 fee - to yourself, from yourself - when you skip a fitness class.
- This is all about simply committing to doing something in a set amount of time. Let’s say your goal is to workout for 45 minutes, three times a week for 14 weeks. If you fail to achieve that, you must pay some charges. The consequence could be monetary or it could include the humiliation of your friends knowing you did not accomplish your word.
5. Appreciate Your Results
Seeing the results of your hard work pushes you to workout and exercise even more. A study in Strength and Conditioning Journal in 2011 discovered that actively exercising people who focused deeply on their results accomplished more compared to those who focused on a certain workout or a certain exercise. For instance, if you have to run for six miles, but you’re struggling to make it through mile three, visualize how you will look after the sixth mile, and it will motivate you to go further in your workout.
- Visualizing the benefits of your workout counts as a motivational strategy. However, imagining the results of your workout must also be accompanied with realistic and practical methods to achieve the goal.
All it takes to get through a workout is mentally motivating yourself. Remember the tips we provided, and you will see yourself more enthusiastic to exercise than ever! If you’re looking for more creative ideas to get yourself exercising, perhaps professionals from TG Psychology may be able to help as well.
Todd is the Director and Principal Psychologist at TG Psychology, in Penrith, NSW. He has over 14 years of experience working with adults and young people in both public health and private practice settings. He has treated people from diverse cultural backgrounds, with a variety of emotional health and behavioural issues, including: depression, anxiety, relationship issues, anger, addictions, trauma and grief. He has also facilitated a number of group programs, treating a wide range of issues: from quitting cannabis, to social skills training, self-esteem development and deliberate self-harm behaviours.