Almost everyone has days where they don’t feel like exercising, but when those days become too frequent and you completely lose your motivation to work out that it becomes a problem. Research shows that half the people who start an exercise program quit within six months. Those aren’t very encouraging statistics, are they?
Most people begin a new exercise with enthusiasm, but that enthusiasm dwindles over time. Sound familiar? If you’re having trouble getting motivated or are having problems sticking with your workouts, one of these exercise motivation zappers could be the problem.
Motivation Zappers: You’re Creating Too Many Barriers to Working Out
KISS (keep it simple stupid) applies to exercise too. One of the reasons people lose their motivation to exercise is they make it too hard to get started. If you have to get dressed, get in your car and drive to a gym, it’s easy to find a reason not to do it. That’s when home workouts have the advantage. Keep a DVD handy, push a few buttons and you have an instructor to show you what to do and keep you motivated. You’ll be more enthusiastic if you don’t have to jump through hoops to get your workout done.
Motivation Zappers: You’re Bored
If you’re doing the same workout over and over, doing a different workout can rekindle your enthusiasm. Try a new workout DVD instead of the same, old, same old. Challenge yourself with a Tabata workout – 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest repeated 8 times or do circuit training where you’re constantly changing exercises. Expand the number of exercise DVDs you have so you always have a fresh workout to try when your current one becomes stale.
Motivation Zappers: You’re Working Out for the Wrong Reasons
Exercise CAN make you look better in a pair of shorts or a swimsuit but that shouldn’t be your primary motivation for doing it. Research shows that people who exercise for health reasons – to feel better or relieve stress – are more likely to stick with it. Exercise to feel stronger, have more energy and to feel more empowered – don’t do it only to lose weight or inches off your waistline.
Motivation Zappers: You’re Overtraining
If you’re working out an hour or more every day without taking breaks, you’re probably losing your motivation due to burnout. Take at least one full day off a week and don’t be afraid to do a light workout when you don’t feel up to a high-intensity one. Try a yoga workout for a change or work on flexibility and balance. Make sure you’re sleeping enough and getting adequate nutrition. It’s hard to stay motivated when you’re cutting back on calories too much or skimping on sleep.
Motivation Zappers: You’re Expecting Too Much Too Soon
Another reason people lose their motivation to exercise is that they have unrealistic expectations. They expect to see results quickly and lose their enthusiasm when they don’t. Again, it’s important to work out for the right reasons – better health and more energy – not to change the number on a scale. Nevertheless, keep in mind that it takes time to lose inches and see more muscle definition. Don’t have unrealistic expectations.
Motivation Zappers: You’re Not Recording Your Progress
A fitness journal helps you set goals, chart your progress and, yes, it can keep you motivated too. When you write everything down, you can look back and see how far you’ve come and it helps to keep you accountable. Don’t just write down the exercises you do and your weight and measurements, document your goals so you can look back and see why you started exercising in the first place. Sometimes you need a reminder to help you stay on course.
The Bottom Line?
Don’t let these exercise motivation zappers keep you from reaching your goals. Make sure you HAVE goals, are exercising for the right reasons and aren’t overdoing it or allowing yourself to become bored. Working out is one of the best things you can do to stay healthy and to have more energy to enjoy life to its fullest.
International Journal of Sport and Exercise Physiology. (6) 89-100.
The Sport Psychologist, 19, 148-163.
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