In this article, we’ll teach you how to easily improve your exercise motivation using 7 simple steps.
In fact, as fitness coaches, we use these motivation methods on a day to day basis with dozens of clients with alarming success.
Plus, we’ll show you how to practically put these into action.
Let’s dive right in!
Homeostasis – The Exercise Motivation KILLER
Scientifically, it refers to ‘the tendency towards a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological process’.
Well, I don’t blame you if you didn’t even bother to read the definition, so let’s put it more simply.
Essentially, our body hates change. It’s constantly striving to keep us in a state of comfort and to avoid stress.
Don’t get me wrong, this is great most of the time.
✓ It ensures we don’t push ourselves so hard that we cause irreversible damage
✓ It helps us rest, recover and adapt
✓ It helps to keep us free from disease and sickness.
However, it can often feel like when it comes to exercising, every cell in our body is screaming out in opposition.
Our body is actually fighting against us when we try to make positive changes in our life.
It takes a lot of will-power to overcome our body’s bad habits and tendencies.
However, these 7 simple steps will help you gain at least some momentum towards lasting change.
The Seven Steps
1. Stop Beating Yourself Up
The first step is about changing your mindset.
Take a step back and stop beating yourself up.
If you’re finding it difficult to find exercise motivation, remember that most other people are too.
I personally have been in the fitness industry for 7 years, have been consistently exercising my entire life and it is still an effort to exercise.
There are certainly some mornings where I miss sessions and there have been weeks in a row where I don’t do a THING.
Remember, it never gets any easier, you just get better!
Your body wants to resist change because it knows the work it will take to adapt and grow from doing so.
Our body is physiologically geared towards comfort and maintaining equilibrium.
It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and demotivated – so the first step is taking some time to accept that exercise can be difficult and not be so hard on yourself.
2. Understand that Exercise Causes Profound Personal Growth
At the same time, it’s important to remember that subjecting ourselves to a little bit of discomfort, also be described as eustress, is probably the best thing we can do for ourselves.
That time you went for that job interview, drove a car for the first time, had a difficult conversation, or other activities that cause some level of stress and discomfort – they’re the things in life that grow us.
Every time we do so, we are forcing our body to make us a slightly better version of ourselves, a level beyond our previous capability.
It’s like every time we exercise, we are trading in our old selves for a slightly upgraded version, bringing us one step closer to our potential.
3. Pick something achievable, build the consistency and then grow it from there
Goals are great.
Without them, it’s like we are on the road without a map.
We are making progress, but it’s difficult to quantify and know if we are actually heading in the right direction.
However, think about your primary school cross-country, there were always kids who sprinted the start, looking flash and athletic in the beginning, only to be defeated and hardly even walking 500 meters later, with the consistent ones overtaking.
The point here is, we too often see people setting goals that are far beyond their current capability, only to fall short every time.
The most important element for success is consistency. Pick something you know you will be able to do consistently, for example, this could be one, 20-minute session a week to start with.
It is better to perform 4 x 20-minute sessions over 4 weeks than to set the bar drastically high, performing 3 sessions the first week, followed by 2, then 1, then none.
You’ve performed the same amount of sessions across the same amount of time, but in the first scenario, you have built a routine and some consistency that can be built upon.
In saying this, it’s still important to set ambitious ultimate goals. Most people underestimate what they can achieve in the long term yet overestimate what they can achieve in the short term.
Keep dreaming big but create a plan and set some achievable goals in the shorter term.
4. Identify something to run away from
Last year, I was struggling with an alcohol addiction. I would get anxious and upset if I didn’t have a big Saturday night plan that involved going out and writing myself off.
It was a vicious cycle, yet no matter how many goals I set for myself, they weren’t enough to motivate me to change.
I came across the future authoring program. The premise behind this is that although it’s important to set ambitious goals for our future (something to strive towards), it’s also equally important to set something to run away from.
I thought about my current alcoholic traits and the kind of compounding destruction they would cause if I didn’t make a change.
Although I’ve outlined an extreme example, I challenge you to think about your current habits and lack of exercise consistency.
If you were to continue these habits for several more weeks, months, years or decades, what kind of effect would it have on your life?
Although dire, imagine a worst-case scenario. For me, this was enough to help me spring into action and make some drastic life changes.
5. Have someone to keep you accountable
I can’t stress enough how vital it is to have someone keep you accountable to what you set out to achieve.
Importantly, this doesn’t necessarily have to be as expensive or complicated as a gym buddy or personal trainer.
90% of people have trouble getting to the gym in the first place – they are usually fine once they get there.
In saying that, if you are struggling for motivation or lack knowledge of what to do in the gym, we have plenty of programs and resources for you to follow.
The most important thing is having someone to follow you up or voicing your aspirations to someone before you get started.
Agree on a time that you will catch up and assess your progress. Again, this needs to be consistent – it could be an ongoing weekly phone call or text, which forces you to be accountable.
You will be surprised at how badly you don’t want to face another week telling your accountability partner that you’ve been lazy AGAIN.
6. Realise that success is built on healthy habits and routines
Each day, we only have so much capacity or effort that we can exert.
Coming back to the phenomenon of homeostasis, our body is geared towards its current habits, trends and routines.
Therefore, if we change these for the better, they become easier over time – but it takes a sustained effort in the beginning to engrain these.
When we start something new, it takes a lot of effort to overcome our current state of inertia.
As we repeat the task habitually, it becomes second nature, almost automatic and doesn’t drain us of nearly as much of our daily capacity as it used to.
Most experts suggest that it can take 3 weeks for one of these activities to become a habit, so it requires consistency.
Once you’ve ingrained a pattern of behavior, pick another one and repeat the process.
7. Don’t delay getting started.
Don’t wait till next Monday, tomorrow, or even in an hour to get started.
The absolute best time to change your life trajectory for the better is this instant.
The earlier you’re able to make a significant life change, the greater the compounding, beneficial effect over time.
You’ve found yourself in this moment for a reason – you’re seeking change, for self-improvement – you want to be better than you currently are. Therefore, doing something about it – don’t excuse, compromise or negotiate with yourself.
Pick something achievable, no matter how small and get started immediately.
There’s never been a better time to change.
Summing Up Exercise Motivation
Improving your exercise motivation doesn’t transform overnight, but changing your mindset and implementing these strategies will certainly go a long way.
What step did you find most useful? Comment your answer below.