Exercise for Beginners - How Do You Stay Motivated?

Staying Motivated

women doing yoga
Getty Images/Klaus Vedfelt

Motivation is the most important aspect of your workout and, as such, is usually the hardest thing to come by. It's not like you're just going to wake up every day excited to exercise, although that would be awesome, wouldn't it?

The point is, it's hard enough to figure out all the different elements of your workout - The cardio, the strength training, the stretching and, somehow, fitting that in every day. On top of that, you have to find the oomph to follow through with all of those workouts.

Weight Loss Isn't Always a Great Motivator

Many of us start exercising because we want to lose weight, but weight loss doesn't have a lot of staying power. What happens when, a week or so in, something else takes precedence in your life and weight loss falls down the list?  You probably quit exercising.

So, if weight loss doesn't really work and we can't expect motivation to just happen, what can we do?

First, remember that every day is different which means that every day will present new obstacles to fitting your workout in. The key is to make exercise a priority so that, no matter what comes up, you won't let your routine slide to the bottom of the list.

Tricks for Staying Motivated

  1. Plan on ways to get past obstacles before they happen. If you find you're skipping exercise because of family responsibilities, plan a family walk or outing to get them involved too.  Think of what stands in your way and find a way around it before your workout.
  2. Try to workout in the morning. You'll have more energy throughout the day and you won't have the excuse of skipping it because you're tired, have too much going on or have to work late.
  3. Workout with a friend. When a friend is waiting for you, you're less likely to back out.  You can even just have an email friend you check in with on a regular basis to make sure you're doing your workouts.
  4. Make a list of goals and put them on the refrigerator. When you think about skipping your workout, go back and read your list. Remember why you're doing this.
  5. Keep track of your progress. When you reach a goal, that will motivate you to keep going.
  6. When you wake up, ask yourself how you'll make your day healthy. It doesn't have to be an all out workout. Sometimes just taking a walk or drinking extra water can be enough to keep you on the healthy lifestyle track.
  1. Plan your workouts the night before. Some people even find it helps to plan a whole week in advance. Either way, knowing exactly when and what you're doing will help you follow through.
  2. Be prepared. Get all your stuff together before your workout. If you have to, stay, hunt around for your shoes, you may just give up completely. Take away as many excuses as you can. I often get up and put on my workout clothes right away. That helps!
  3. Reward yourself. It's important to pat yourself on the back for reaching your goals. Get a massage, got for a night out, get a new pair of workout shoes or a relaxing night reading a book. Knowing you have something to look forward to makes finishing your workout much easier.