With work, kids, and trying to have a bit of a social life, it can be hard finding time to get in some daily exercise. There is always something else to do or something you would rather be focusing on, and working out gets pushed to the side and forgotten until the next time you step onto the scale.
You can beat this downward spiral right now by learning a few nifty ideas that will help you navigate through any personal roadblocks to exercising. You will learn how to bargain with yourself and, if necessary, bribe yourself into getting a workout. You will also find the best ways to trick yourself into exercising because, if your brain is saying no, you will need to approach exercise from a different angle and make it fun.
The hardest part to creating an exercise habit is getting started. Those first few weeks will be your hardest weeks. You will be battling your mind and your body will be rough and sore from the new activity. The good news is that after you make it past that first month, it will get easier and, you never know, you may actually start to love working out and the new body it has given you.
15 Prepare the Night Before
Here is a way to get yourself motivated the night before you begin your morning exercise routine. By preparing everything that you need for the next morning, you are telling your brain that this is what you are going to do, come hell or high water. Get your water bottle filled and in the fridge so that when you get up in the morning it is as easy as grab and go. Put your keys, purse, or fanny pack on the kitchen table so there are no frantic searches in the morning. Make sure your iPod is charged and loaded with music. Set out your workout cloths, shoes, and socks. Anything and everything you need to exercise, get it ready the night before.
14 Wear Your Workout Clothes to Bed
Don’t worry about your looks when you go out for your morning jog. Put your workout clothes on right before you go to bed so that when your alarm goes off in the morning you are ready to get up and go. Put your hair tie on the night stand so you can quickly put your locks up in a pony tail. Doing this helps prepare you mentally for morning exercises and it is telling your brain that there is no way out of this situation. Exercise is going to happen, whether it wants it to or not.
13 Set Your Alarm Across the Room
We have all been there. We set the alarm clock for an early wakeup and as soon as it goes off, we automatically hit the snooze button. Over and over, it is snooze time until the alarm either ends its snooze cycle or we “accidentally” hit the off button. Before we know it, we’re late for work and we have missed yet another workout opportunity. (Can you tell I’ve done this before?) Instead of setting your alarm by your bed, set it across the room. When the alarm goes off, you have the choice to either get up and turn it off right away or lie in bed, awake and annoyed by the noise. Make it a rule that after you are out of bed, you are not allowed to crawl back under the warm covers until sundown.
12 Plan on a Quickie, Then Push for Longer
Sometimes the trick to getting more exercise is to bargain and set short goals for yourself. Instead of planning on working out for a full hour, tell yourself that you only need to do 15 minutes. What’s 15 minutes, right? You can do it, and there are many 15 minute workouts available on YouTube. Choose an activity or exercise and do it for those 15 minutes. When you reach the finish line, ask yourself if you think you can go on for another five minutes, because what’s another five minutes, right? Bargain with yourself. Reason with yourself. And, when necessary, give yourself a little push.
11 Get Yourself Motivated
You get up in the morning and get dressed and ready to go, but mentally you just don’t want to bother. What made you think this was a good idea when you prepared the night before? You must be nuts. Exercising just isn’t for you. And the talk down continues until you’ve talked yourself out of working out. Instead of facing this common problem on a daily basis, set yourself a goal instead. Make it a visual goal, such as “I want to have a body like the singer Ciara.” Put a few of her pictures up on your refrigerator or in your bedroom. Tell yourself that the only way to get that body is to get out and exercise.
10 Take Photography Walks
Disguise exercise by doing something you enjoy. This is sort of like when moms hide pureed carrots in the spaghetti sauce, but you are doing it to yourself while saying that it’s fun. One fun trick to get yourself to take more walks (and try to reach the 10,000 steps a day goal) is to take your camera out on your walks. Take photographs of everything that catches your interest, from the strange looking fungus growing on the trees to the historic buildings in your city. Make plans to share your photos on Facebook or on your blog (and if you haven’t started a blog yet, start a blog to keep yourself motivated).
9 Offer Yourself a Reward for Success
“If I get up tomorrow morning and walk five laps around the high school track, I will rent that new scary movie for myself.” If you can’t seem to get yourself into an exercise routine, start offering yourself little rewards or bribes after each workout. This gives you something immediate and tangible to look forward to. The reward can be just about anything, from an epsom salt foot soak to a facial at the spa (great for your post workout skin).
8 Punish Yourself for Failing to Work Out
Be your own parent and take something away from yourself if you fail to exercise that day. I don’t allow myself to watch any television until I have completed my day’s work and done my jog. Other ways to punish yourself is to ban yourself from Twitter or Facebook until you’ve worked out. Forbid yourself from wearing make-up until you have done your squats. Find something that you enjoy doing or something that you take for granted and threaten to take it away from yourself until after you have first done something good and healthy for your body.
7 Listen to Audiobooks During Workouts
Listening to audiobooks is a great way to tune out during a workout and they are often available to borrow for free at public libraries. Choose a genre you find interesting and begin listening to the audiobook only when you are working out. The only way you are allowed to find out what happens next in the story is to put on the exercise clothes and get working. Otherwise, don’t let yourself listen ahead or finish listening to the story when you are not working out.
6 Get a Fitness Tracker and Up Your Steps
The Fitbit and other fitness trackers are all the rage right now and it’s for all the right reasons. If you are starting out as a walker or jogger, wearing a fitness tracker can help you set goals (and reach them), keep track of calories burned, and your heart rate. Fitness trackers are especially great if you are joining the 10,000 steps revolution or if you want to increase the amount of steps you take on a daily basis. They are also an investment you can make to guilt or force yourself into getting exercise, if that is best way you can get yourself motivated to do something.
5 Play a Fitness Video Game
What is more fun than playing video games? When the Wii entered the market back in 2006, people of all age groups found that playing video games can be fun and healthy. With the Wii fitness accessories and exercise “classes,” workouts became a fun activity that everyone in the household could do. The Xbox One with Kinect offers Live users Xbox Fitness, with interactive workouts that will give you some serious challenges. The PS3 also has some fantastic fitness games, from Zumba to Move Fitness.
4 Create a Workout Playlist
The day before you plan on starting your exercise routine, load up your mp3 player with fast paced music. A great place to get ideas for your exercise list is to visit YouTube and search for “workout music”. If your phone has wifi, you can play these lists directly on your phone as you jog, walk, or do any kind of exercising. The whole point of listening to high energy music during workouts is to get you moving and your heart pumping. The music acts as a motivator, so stay away from any slow beats or songs with depressing lyrics.
3 You Can Only Watch TV If You Work Out
Instead of taking away your television time as a punishment for not working out, you can turn couch potato time into an enjoyable workout time. I like to workout on my exercise ball when I watch tv, but you can also ride a stationary bike during your favorite show or set up your tread mill in the living room so you can do a brisk walk while you catch up on the latest news. Exercising while watching television is an excellent motivator and you will find that hour or two each evening passes by quickly.
2 Bike or Walk to Work and the Store
Think of how much gas money you would save if you started walking or riding your bike to work, the store, and your friend’s place. Walking and biking are both highly underrated in today’s world of go, go, go. To get your exercise in during the day, begin walking or biking to work. If this is not possible, start taking walks during breaks. If you live fairly close to the grocery store, start walking or biking there. Yes, you will have to make more trips there to get what you need for the week, but the calories you burn are so good for you and your scale.
1 Do It With a Friend
Get a friend involved with your workouts and work on keeping each other motivated to get into shape. Plan walks together, shop for running shoes together and check out local tracks. Meet up for jogging and explore local hiking trails. The two of you can even join a gym together (some places offer a discount if you join along with a friend). If you can’t get any of your friends to exercise with you, check out the events section for your local newspaper. Many areas have either walking or hiking clubs that offer up free walks. Start getting involved in community activities and you will make new friends to meet up with for workouts.