Life File: How to Find Motivation to Stay Active

I’ve been asked many times how do I keep myself motivated to work out and where do I find the motivation, so I hope you find some inspiration in my words today. While I believe that there are people who are self-motivated and naturally active and inclined to stay that way, there are some ways for those who are not part of that group to find that motivation. I wish I had a secret recipe or a magic pill (wouldn’t that be easy?), but “unfortunately” it all starts with your mind set. What are you hoping to get out of it? How important is it for you? In your list of priorities, where does it fall?

When it comes to being and staying active, I’ve been a self-motivated person my whole life. I LOVE being active, I’m myself when I’m active. I even enjoy having to walk further or having to take the stairs because the elevator broke down; yes, I truly do. Perhaps is my positive mindset to every situation? Likely. But if you’re not like this, first of all, it’s totally ok because we are all different and it doesn’t make me better than you, secondly, don’t feel defeated because you are not “naturally” prone to be active, third, don’t use it as an excuse to not do something that is GOOD for you, and lastly, don’t think that us people who like being active don’t have our days when we are not feeling it (we are not super humans, definitely NOT!) There are ways around it though, I know people who never even lifted a finger and now they run marathons; people who understood that, no matter what exactly you do (run, cycle, dance, yoga…) being active is essential to feeling better. So, assuming you do know that finding a sport, a class, a fitness routine is important for your health, how exactly do you find the motivation to stick to it?

First of all and most importantly, ask yourself why you want to be active. List the reasons (you don’t necessarily have to write them down) and assign them a level of importance. Why I say this? Because you can’t make something a priority unless you understand why you’re doing it. You want to be healthier, you want to be strong, you want to feel better, you want to look better, whatever the reason (the good thing about being active is that even if you start with just one in mind, ALL of them fall into place! That’s the beauty of it) that is your start point.

Now define your goal. What is your goal? Run a marathon? Be able to do 15 push-ups, finish a whole workout program before Summer is here, whatever it is, DEFINE it. Having a goal and committing to it will propel you in the direction to achieve it. But you have to commit! You have to be serious. This is one thing you have control over, so don’t loose it. Set your mind to it and make it happen. If it’s important to you and you’re committed to making it happen, YOU WILL find the way. Trust me.

So, let’s sum-up where we are so far:
1. You have a reason to stay active.
2. You assign how important that is for you.
3. You define your goal.

Now what? HOW. How are you going to reach that goal? See how important having a goal is? I would say that of all the ways to keep yourself motivated to pull through any kind of physical activity is to have a GOAL. If you focus on that goal, everything will fall into place. I strongly believe that you are most likely to do a workout, run, swim, whatever it is, if you have a goal. I’m not saying that without it there’s no way to stay active (you can stay active just for the fun of it), but, whether you struggle with that mindset or not, having one will DEFINITELY give you an extra push.

So, back to how are we going to make things happen. Well, here’s where you find what works for you. Some of us like swimming, others running, others yoga…there are SO MANY different sports and workouts that I would find it surprising if you don’t find ONE that you don’t hate or that wouldn’t accommodate your lifestyle. You like dancing? sign up for dance classes, you like cycling? there are millions of cycling studios, running? put your shoes on and go out. You can’t join a gym? There are thousands of FREE workouts you can do at home (and please don’t tell me your space is small because if I can do a workout in my teeny tiny living room so do you!).

But what if you get bored? Well, let’s work on that playlist, listen to a podcast, bring a magazine or a book to the elliptical/treadmill…there are WAYS to “trick your mind” and instead of looking for excuses, FIND those ways to kick that excuse in the butt. Can we go back to “how important we said this would be for you?” If it’s important you’ll think of something, and if you can’t think of anything I’m here to help you out.

. There’s music (that’s a BIG one for me, music motivates me like nothing else!). Is there a new album release you’d like to listen? New songs that make you happy? Get them all on your playlist and see the positive impact by yourself. Music not your thing? Podcasts, magazines, books, TV shows. There’s gotta be something!

. Find inspiring people and follow them! Positive vibes and being active is contagious so make sure you’re surrounding yourself with like-minded people. Whether it is in real life or Instagram, you’ll find feeding that need to stay active WAY easier and HIGHLY motivating when you constantly see others doing the same.

. Make yourself accountable. Yes, announce it to the world and commit to something. There’s more chance you’ll pull through a program or workout regime if others are watching than if nobody knows about it. Peer pressure people, as simple as that.

. Buddy up with someone. Even if you’re a highly self-motivated person, having someone who holds you accountable for that workout really helps. You are most likely to skip a run or workout if you have no one to answer to, than if you have a friend who is counting on you. Help each other, motivate each other. Having a workout buddy makes it easier. Even if you don’t work out together but vow to motivate each other, HELPS. I remember two friends of mine who once committed themselves to planking every day and every time they would do their plank, they would text each other. That daily message of “I did it”, feeds the need to do it.

. New gear!!! Yes, new gear is motivating and as superficial as it sounds, cute workout clothes that you feel good in really help. I always get extra motivated when I have new tights, a new bra, a new tank, new shoes….make sure that your workout clothes make you happy 🙂

. Try something new! How about a new class? You’ll never know if you like something or not unless you try it. Plus, it keeps things interesting and fun.

. And don’t forget to track you progress! Looking at back at what you’ve accomplished is one easy way to keep yourself motivated. Looking back at a week where you did 5 workouts in a row, or when you were able to do 12 pus-ups, whatever the achievement, that realization of you what you did will motivate you to keep going. Being aware of it and reading about it will help you stick to the plan.

I’m positive that if you understand how important being and staying active is (I can definitely write about the benefits and how it helps me stay positive and productive, and how overall, makes me a better person), if you make it a priority, set a goal, and do any of these “tricks” you won’t have trouble staying motivated. If there’s anything you would like me to touch on deeper, like what songs I listen to, what home workouts I like, what classes I’ve tried, anything, LET ME KNOW and I promise I’ll write about it 🙂