QUESTION: I cannot find any motivation whatsoever to exercise. Any tips?— Stephanie
DEAR STEPHANIE: I like the direct approach. No pussyfooting around with you, huh?
I’m a firm believer that everyone—even the most dedicated athletes—needs some motivation sometimes. I know I do. Here are some ideas I use to get—and keep—going.
Be prepared. It’s a thousand times harder to make yourself work out if you can’t find your shoes or don’t have any clean jog bras. Get all the gear you need organized and ready to go. If you are a gym-goer, that might mean keeping a bag packed with essentials (showering stuff, cosmetics, shoes). That way, all you have to do is swap your sweaty clothing for clean ones, and you’re ready to go. If you work out in the morning, lay out your outfit and any gear essentials the night before. Do anything you can to make it simpler to get out the door!
Watch a race. Or better yet, volunteer. There’s no better way to immerse yourself in the feeling you get when you reach a fitness goal (except the obvious—running it yourself). What will you see? People who are JUST LIKE YOU, who happened to sign up for the race to spark their own motivation. Even if you’re not a runner, the finish-line feeling is infectious—you’re likely to feel energized no matter what your sport.
Do it for charity. There’s nothing more motivating than knowing you’re sweating for a good cause. Choose an event connected to a charity that has personal relevance for you or someone you love. There are charity bike rides, hikes, runs and walks, even snowshoeing events. Websites like Active.com feature comprehensive lists.
Get a new outfit or shoes. I can’t wait to run when I get a new pair of shoes. It’s amazing what new duds can do for a girl (but we knew that, didn’t we?). I’m not suggesting you go broke supplementing your fitness wardrobe, but a new outfit is a great once-in-a-while boost.
Join the club (or class). Maybe your workout routine has gotten, well, routine. Try something new—like a hiking club that holds weekend outing, or a Zumba class, where you shake it to all kinds of music in a party-like atmosphere.
Make a motivation box. This may sound goofy, but it works: Decorate a shoe box with photos of inspiring people and images. On slips of paper, write down motivating quotes, good reasons to work out, how fitness improves your health, etc. Enlist friends and family to add their own motivating messages to the box. Each day, choose one message from the box to start your day. Keeping those thoughts top-of-mind will help you stay on track. Good luck!
Spry editor Lisa Delaney is one of the rare souls who know what it’s like to be an “after.” This journalist and author of Secrets of a Former Fat Girl shed 70 pounds—and six dress sizes–and has kept it off for 20 years. She answers your questions here each week.