Can't Stay Motivated to Exercise?
One of the biggest problems people have with exercise, is staying motivated. Just when you think you are ready to change your bad habits for good, days later, you realize the thrill is gone and you're bored with exercise.
While there are many reasons people have trouble staying motivated, I'm going to touch on what I believe are the most common...
Losing Weight For The Wrong Reasons
Some people only want to lose weight because they are comparing themselves to someone else. And if this is the case, your problem could be larger than just weight. Now we're talking about low self esteem.
When you compare your body to someone else's, you are essentially saying to yourself "I'm not good enough and I want to look like [that person]." And when that's how you truly feel about yourself, you'll find that the motivation to exercise doesn't last.
It's one thing to want to lose weight for your own health and well being. But if you are doing it because you hate yourself and would rather look like someone else, then you have the wrong kind of motivation that almost always leads to failure.
Nothing wrong with wanting to look good for yourself. The constant comparing is what gets you into trouble.
Pressure From Friends and Family
Loved ones often feel they are doing their family members a favor by teasing them or pressuring them to lose weight. They believe that if they pressure them enough, it will motivate them to lose the weight.
What many people don't realize is pressuring someone to lose weight actually has the opposite effect on them. It only makes the person feel worse and often times they turn back to eating the wrong foods and won't want to exercise.
If someone you love is overweight, it's important you encourage them, not pressure them. The last thing they need is someone they love harping on them about their weight issues. Society does that enough don't you think?
And if you are a victim of pressure by family and/or friends, it's important you let the people know how it makes you feel. And if it's a significant other who threatens to leave you if you don't lose the weight, it's time to evaluate whether or not this person should even be in your life (but that's a whole other subject!).
It's important to find several different workout routines that you enjoy and mix them up throughout the week. Walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes a day, or even every other day is bound to get boring after a couple of weeks (or sooner)!
One thing I do to keep my motivation up is alternate between going to the gym, walking around my neighborhood, and working out to the TV. If you have a digital cable service or satellite TV, chances are you have some sort of exercise channel you can watch for free.
The channel has pre-recorded workouts that focus on all areas and normally broken down into categories like: fat burning, cardio, weights, walking etc.
You can also view the length of each program. So if you're looking for a 20-minute walking routine, you can search the walking category until you find one that's suitable.
So be sure to check your cable or satellite provider's listings to see if you have a channel like this.
One of my favorite workouts is Michael Carson's Cardio Sport. It's a great combination of both cardio and toning. Read my review of this exercise video here.
Improper Goal Phrasing
Too many people focus on the end result, i.e. "I have to lose 50 pounds." If you keep focusing on the total amount of weight you need to lose then it can be mentally discouraging.
Instead, set smaller goals like "I need to lose 2 pounds this week." Keep a journal and document your progress. When you see yourself reaching these smaller goals week after week, you will be more motivated to keep going.
Seeing progress is so important.
Saying "I want to lose 2 pounds this week" sounds like a more obtainable goal than "I have to lose 50 pounds." Remember, so much of losing weight is mental and the story we tell ourselves. So if your story is always "I am so fat" or "I have so much weight to lose" then you are losing the battle before it even begins.
And if you are one of those people who sets out to lose an enormous amount of weight in a short time, cut yourself some slack. It's not healthy to lose large amounts of weight quickly, so make sure your goals are realistic.
Not a Priority
Another reason people have trouble staying motivated is it's not a priority. Period. And that is something you have to learn over time. No one else can really give you motivation or force you to make it a priority.
A lot of people think or say their health is a priority, but if you continue to eat the wrong foods when you know they are wrong, then your health can't really be a priority can it?
That doesn't mean you don't want to lose weight or be healthy, but there are other things in your life that are more important at the moment that keep you from sticking with your routine.
So much about staying motivated is the relationship you have with yourself. Remember, in the end, you are the one who decides whether or not to eat that cookie or sleep in late instead of going to the gym.
When your health is a top priority in your life, you'll find it's easier to make the right decisions when it comes to diet and exercise.