Staying motivated is hard. Telling yourself you’re going to start exercising more is one thing, but actually sticking to it is another.
Luckily there’s a few simple ways to get motivated—and stay motivated. In fact, most of them have to do with simplifying your routine rather than making it more complicated. But you’ll learn more about that in a minute…
Here’s the 10 best ways to stay motivated and move more throughout your day.
1. Set realistic goals
The key word here is ‘realistic’. Fitness and movement is different for everyone. It’s ok for your goals to fit your fitness level.
Start small and work your way up. Trying to follow unrealistic, one-size-fits-all goals will only lead to discouragement and frustration.
For example: If you didn’t walk at all last week, set a goal to walk 10 minutes this week. Any movements are good movements! Hitting realistic goals will help keep you motivated and energized as you build your fitness practice.
2. Let your movements be meditative
Turn exercise time into relaxation time. We all need a break every now and then. Exercise time is the perfect moment to find some meditation in your movements.
Activities like walking, light jogging, or some simple exercises and stretches outdoors or near nature can be a great time to reflect as well.
When you let your movements be meditative your body and mind will start to crave your exercise time and you’ll stay more motivated!
3. Track your progress
Simply knowing that you exercised yesterday is abstract. Quantifying your movements and exercise time will help your brain see real accomplishments and progress.
“Going from 30 squats to 50 squats” sounds and looks a lot better than “I exercised on Thursday”.
Keeping track of your exercise isn’t always simple (it’s hard to hold a pen and paper while you’re doing push-ups). Luckily fitness tracker apps can automatically count your reps and track your progress while you work out.
Seeing your progress is believing in your progress. So start tracking your reps! You’ll be more motivated to break your records and keep your streaks going.
4. Reward yourself
Reward systems work. It’s that simple. Your brain thrives when positive feedback for an activity is built into your exercise.
Just like your goals, your rewards should be special to you and your lifestyle. Some good places to start are: earning that purchase you’ve had your eye on, giving yourself more TV or video game time, or treating yourself to a recreation day.
Rewards help you build a positive reinforcement loop in your brain which is key to staying motivated and avoiding quitting.
5. Make your movement space
Where you exercise is just as important as what exercise you do. Create a space for your movement practice that you want to visit.
When you’re building your movement space, ask yourself:
- Do I have enough room to move?
- Is my movement space free of distractions?
- Is it possible to introduce some natural light?
- Is my space comfortable?
- Can my space be less cluttered?
When you take time to build a space you want to be in, you’ll find it’s easier to stay motivated because it’s a space you want to come back to. So take time and build a movement space you connect with.
6. Make it a habit
When fitness is a habit, staying motivated gets way easier. While it’s not the easiest activity to make a habit, there are some proven tricks that will help you form habits faster:
- Set reminders to exercise at the same time every day
- Schedule your exercise near another habit you already have, like eating a meal or brushing your teeth
- Track your progress and gamify your fitness
- Set up a daily or weekly reward system that fits your goals
Remember, The 2 R’s are key for building habits: Routine and reinforcement. Make sure you’re adding both to make movement a habit and stay motivated longer.
7. Find fitness that fits your schedule
One of the biggest misconceptions about fitness is that you need long and elaborate training routines to get—and stay—fit.
Exercise can be 5 minutes here and there throughout your day. It can also be a one hour morning stretching routine. Or it can be 10 minutes everyday at lunch time.
It’s about what fits your schedule. One of the biggest motivation busters is being too busy to stick to your plan. The solution is integrating fitness into your day however you want without having to change everything around.
All movement breaks matter, big or small. Tweak your routine to fit your schedule and you’ll be a ton more motivated to stick to it.
8. Avoid workout boredom
Boredom kills motivation. When your brain isn’t stimulated by your movements, quitting isn’t far behind.
If you’re struggling with workout boredom read our workout boredom guide to bust your rut. Here’s a few quick tips:
- Vary your movements
- Listen to music or podcasts
- Workout with a friend
- Join a class or workout group
- Go outdoors if you’re able
Less bored means more motivated. Beat your exercise boredom and stay motivated longer.
9. Know what exercise is
The truth is, fitness comes in all different sizes. A few squats as a movement break while you’re working? That’s exercise. Going for a walk after dinner to watch the sunset? That’s exercise too.
Mainstream fitness can be misleading about what fitness and exercise really are. Remember, any movement is good movement.
Take time to find movements that fit your fitness level and schedule. Chances are fitness is more possible than you think...
10. Gamify your fitness
Last but not least, gamify your fitness! Turning your exercise into a game with a gamified fitness app is the best way to stay motivated.
Gamification turns any task into a healthy habit because our brains thrive on reward systems, positive reinforcement loops and the dopamine release that games provide.
Gamifiy your fitness with a fitness gamification app and enjoy a simple and easy path to more motivation to move.
Making more movement motivation matters the most
Motivation doesn’t come easy… But with these simple tips you’ll be moving more in no time.
To recap: Motivation is about finding a routine that works for you and integrating it into the lifestyle you already have. Fitness doesn’t have to be frustrating. And motivation doesn’t have to be a mountain.
Keep it simple, move more and stay motivated!