How To Get Started and Be Motivated to Move More
For the infographic associated with this article, go here.
Do you secretly hate exercising? Do you struggle to stick to a program? Do you struggle to be motivated to get up and move?
Many people know deep down that they should exercise and move more throughout the day. They know what they need to do but will use excuses because maybe they don’t know how to get started or lack the motivation.
Motivation is key to success.
A lot of people will say they exercise because they want to lose weight or they want to feel better about themselves, etc. That is a very typical answer, but we need to dive deeper into what your why is, what is going to motivate you to make this a lifelong habit and not just a quick fix.
In the book No Sweat by Michelle Segar, she talks about how our why for exercising needs to be positive. If we make exercising a chore like saying, “I need to exercise to fix my horrible body,” our motivation won’t last long.
I remember having a really hard time one week in college. I was super stressed about some projects and assignments, finals were coming up, I was working at a wellness center and in charge of a lot of events, etc. I had a lot going on.
I was working out but not regularly. I told myself with everything I had going on that I didn’t have time to workout. I made that decision because I was just too overwhelmed and stressed to even think about it.
For a straight week, I did not go to the gym.
Was I able to get a lot done? I checked a few things off my list but not nearly as much as I wanted to accomplish.
Did not spending time in the gym make more time for my To Do List or relieve my stress? My stress levels definitely increased, I was overwhelmed and anxious, and felt like I had no time for anything.
Was I able to focus and prioritize? Absolutely not. I would start one thing and move on to the next without finishing. I was doing an assignment one night and struggled to focus.
I knew I needed to get up and move but I thought, “Well I am already home and ready to be done for the day.” I didn’t want to have to go back to campus to use the gym, but guess what? There was a gym in my apartment complex I could use. I could do a home workout. I could take a walk/run outside. I used every excuse in the book not to and I lacked motivation.
Then, I caved and went to my apartment complex gym and did a 45 minute workout. I broke a sweat and felt so much better. I came back home and got my assignment done with no distractions. I knew I needed to include time to work out in my schedule.
The next week, I worked out five days and I got so much done. I was not as anxious and was so productive and at ease with everything I had going on. My motivation skyrocketed knowing that taking the time to work out helped me be less stressed and so much more.
Finding My Why
I share this experience because it made me realize my motivation, my why, my purpose, my desire to move more. My why to incorporate movement into my daily life is that it helps me with my overall mental health. It is my happy place. I feel so much more motivated and better about life. I know the effect it has on me when I don’t make it a consistent habit.
That is my why, my reasoning, my motivation to move more. Everyone’s why’s are different.
Here are some other real-life examples:
“I am motivated to exercise because I want to be able to keep up with my grandkids and my hobbies. I like to go on long walks, ballroom dance, and spend time with my grandchildren. Exercising helps me keep up with all of that.”
“I am motivated to exercise because it clears my mind of all the chaos that goes on in the world. It clears my mind of the stresses that come from work, finances, politics, COVID 19, etc. It also gives me a feeling of accomplishment. I feel so good after I get a workout in.”
-57-year-old retail manager
“I am motivated to exercise because I know what it feels like to be unhealthy because I was in a place where I wasn’t healthy. I also want to set that example for my children. If I want them to be healthy, I need to take care of my own health.”
-Mom to 3 kids
Motivation to Action
When we figure out what our motivation is, then we need to figure out how to put it into action:
- Schedule a time to exercise: We complain and often use the excuse that we don’t have time to exercise. Make it non-negotiable; treat it like a meeting for your job, a class, an appointment, etc. Maybe you need to sacrifice TV watching to get a workout in or to make things easier, exercise while you watch an episode. Shows are about 30 minutes, that is all you need. For more on the importance of getting exercise 30 minutes a day, check out Coach Sarah’s article “30 Minutes A Day Keeps the Doctor Away.” For more info on scheduling time to exercise, check out a video I did earlier in the year, Schedule Your Workouts.
- Do something you enjoy: People often look at going to the gym, exercising, whatever you call it as a chore. I used to think of it that way, but now I can honestly say it is my happy place. I do things I enjoy and it makes it feel more like a delight than a chore. Try different forms of exercise to see what is the best fit for you. Maybe you will like walking, hiking, running, weights, dancing, different classes at the gym, etc. For more tips on doing a form of exercise you enjoy, check out Coach Jen’s video Pick a Movement You Enjoy
- Move more at home: With our busy lifestyles, we can find ways to get some extra movement while we are at home. Put in some extra effort when doing chores around the house, involve the whole family, get creative, have a dance party while preparing dinner. For more tips, check out my video Move More at Home.
Taking the time to move more will bring you joy and success. Figure out what your motivation is, what will get you moving. Then, put that motivation into action. Stop making excuses, take charge now, and start making this a habit that will give you long-lasting benefits.
For more accountability in this process, set up a call time with me!