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5 Tips for Working Out When You Have No Motivation

What motivates humans to repeatedly do something that we might not even like to do? Like working out? That is a question many health professionals have been trying to answer for years. Yet, they don’t have a solid theory, however, there are some things (hacks if you will) that seem to work as motivation for most people. 2488

1. Reward

This is one hack that many people use to give them the motivation they need to accomplish something when they really don’t feel like doing it –  a tangible reward. However, be careful that the reward does not undermine the reason you doing it in the first place. For example, a new workout outfit in one of the brightly colored patterned moisture-wicking fabrics is a much better reward that supports your effort of working out, than one associated with food. 4654

2. Penalty

This is the nemesis of a reward. It is usually a written agreement with yourself, or a pledge with friends, that you will do something for a specific amount of time. Like exercise 30 minutes a day, five days per week for 3 months. As part of the commitment, there must be an anti-reward if you fail to follow through, such as a $10 penalty fee if you miss a workout during the stated period of the agreement. Or the penalty can be non-monetary, such as having to suffer the embarrassment of admitting to your friends that you missed a workout.
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3. Visualization

When waffling on whether you are going to get up and exercise or not, visualize how good you feel after working out. Or how good the warm sun feels while outside on your walk, or the pleasure of the birds singing, or ….  This works! It is also called mental contrasting and is used as a way to overcome a mental obstacle that is holding you back from doing something. 4656

4. Exercise with a friend

This is one of the most powerful motivators! None of us like to disappoint another person. Exercising with a friend keeps both of you in check. On a day when you don’t feel like exercising, you will just so you don’t disappoint your workout friend. And if the truth be known, that person may not have wanted to exercise either, but did so because s/he did not want to disappoint you! It is a win/win for both of you. 4657

5. Journaling

This is similar to visualization except it is written down on paper. The highs and lows you feel before, during and after working out provides a written record of what motivates you (and what does not). The endorphin rush felt after exercising, the rewards, penalties and feelings – both good and bad – are all stimuli as to why you should power through a workout – even if you do not feel like it at the time. 4687

The “thing” that motivates each of us can differ, but usually one or more of these tips works in most cases. Find the one(s) that work for you and push forward!