Posted on September 14 2018
“An extrinsic reward is so powerful because your brain can latch on to it and make the link that the behaviour is worthwhile.”
Over time, the motivation becomes intrinsic, as the brain begins to associate sweat and pain with the surge of endorphins — those feel-good chemicals released in the brain that are responsible for that “I-feel-freaking-amazing” rush you get after a great gym session.
Take Baby Steps.
You would never try to run 10 miles on day one, right? When you do too much too soon, you’ll end up sore, injured, and discouraged. Take it easy as you get started. Maybe you only run a quarter of a mile your first week. When that becomes easy, you can make it more challenging.
Put on your workout clothes.
When you can't be bothered with getting off the couch just go and put on your workout gear anyway. Don’t think about it, just get dressed. You’re not going to just plop yourself on the couch after having put your training clothes on. Find something that fits you and makes you feel good when you wear it. Bright colors or all black, whatever you prefer.
Keep a Workout Journal.
Write down how you feel after a workout every single time. So, when you feel low on motivation and don't want to wake up and go for a run or a workout, you can read how great you felt after completing a five-miler. This will help you to get out of the bed knowing that at the end of the workout, you will feel the same rush again!
Remember why you started.
Don't compare your progress with that of others, just remind yourself that why you started exercising. Think about what inspired you to take the first step, and ask yourself if you really want to start all over again because you couldn't be bothered to get off the couch.
Find your Gym Buddy
Get connected with a fitness group or find a friend to start exercising with. You have friends that you’re meeting up with and people to encourage you through those tough exercises. Consider getting your colleagues or a group of friends together for a sweat session. Strike up some friendly competition with colleagues or friends and find out who can run the farthest.
Surround yourself with motivation.
You need to hang around with people that make you feel capable of reaching your goals. You also need to write down your goals and motivational quotes in places you will see them. You cannot be motivated all the time, but you can consistently cultivate a motivating environment for yourself (quotes and people) so that you know you can even when you don’t necessarily feel like it.
Overthrow the ‘Stay here on the sofa’ gremlin
When it comes to exercising, the voice in your head can act like a gremlin, popping up with every excuse it possibly can, to stop you going out. “It’s cold,” “It’s starting to rain,” “I haven’t got time now,” “It’s late,” “I’m tired,” “I’m hungry,” “It’s getting dark,” “I can’t find my kit,” “Time of the month,” “I have a headache,” etc. Our advice is to shut out the gremlin and GO OUT ANYWAY. Often, in the time you’ve wasted deliberating whether you have time to go training you could have gone and come back.
Celebrate the Small Achievements
It takes weeks to see real changes. Even a kilogram of weight loss or a kilogram of muscle gain is a reason to reward yourself. Go out with friends, or shop for a new pair of jeans.