It’s Friday night and you’ve finally finished a meeting at work that should of finished over an hour ago. It’s pouring down with rain and the last thing you want to do is attend the gym and run monotonously on a treadmill for an hour! Your intentions at the start of the day were good and your gym kit is in the boot of your car, but your motivation for going through the motions has now evaporated. This scenario paints a common picture for all individuals that undertake regular exercise. Potentially, at some point, if not already, you will experience a complete lack of enjoyment regarding your chosen activity where it starts to become more of a chore.
So what can you do to avoid this? Unlike eating, drinking and sleeping, exercising is not essential for your survival. With this in mind, it’s important to always try and make exercise as fun and enjoyable as possible so that you possess the intrinsic motivation on days like the above to say to yourself; ‘I am going to the gym tonight’. If not, then your chosen activity will simply become a despised chore or a previous pastime.
Ways To Stay Motivated
If you’ve previously experienced these lethargic feelings towards exercise and managed to overcome them then congratulations. If however, you’re right in the middle of an exercise slump for these very reasons then fear not because help is at hand. This article aims to put the fun and enjoyment back into your chosen activity with a few helpful hints:
- Involve other people: Whatever physical activity you choose to undertake, wherever possible try to involve others. Ideally, these others should share similar interests and goals in relation to the chosen activity, so that you can both enjoy their company but also motivate each other too. If for whatever reason you are struggling to locate a suitable individual, then why not join a class or group where everyone will share a similar interest.
- Look past the gym: The gym is a great place to exercise and achieve fitness goals but it’s not for everyone. If you are interested in a particular sport or alternative activity then you should follow your passion and undertake this instead. Too many individuals follow the norm and join a gym purely for ease, when in fact they have no interest in attending at all. Following your passion will reduce the likelihood of boredom and frustration.
- Add a little technology: Depending on your chosen activity, you may be able to utilise an mp3 player or television whilst you workout. Previous research has highlighted the potential benefits of music whilst exercising to act as both a motivator and distraction. Alternatively, that treadmill run may seem much easier if you’re able to watch your favourite TV program at the same time. Don’t forget about your training partner though!
- Always keep a record: Keeping records probably doesn’t seem all that fun but allow me to elaborate, taking weight training as an example. Many individuals will gain enjoyment from a change in their body shape. One problem with this is that it’s sometimes difficult to see results from one day to the next. However, if you keep record of your achievements, for example weights lifted, then this can act as proof and assist motivation levels.
- Regularly alter routines: It’s been said before and I’ll say it again; ‘Variety is the spice of life’. No matter what physical activity you undertake always try and alter it regularly. This may be as simple as having a day away from the treadmill and running outside or switching your weight training session for a gym class. Not only will this assist in keeping your body guessing but it will also help to avoid the feeling of boredom and monotony.
The key message to take away from this article is that exercising should be fun. There are enough stresses and strains in everyday life that your free time should be spent doing something you find fun and enjoyable. Whether you chose to incorporate one or more of the helpful hints listed above, remember to always have fun in your chosen activity. If this occurs, the intrinsic motivation and progressions should follow as a matter of course.