A great writer once said, “To know and not to do, is not to know.” We all know exercise is good for our body, brain, and soul…. but how do we take what we know is good for us and actually do it? The key to motivation in the brain is that it works with our reward network, meaning if the brain perceives a sense of reward we’ll be motivated to pursue and repeat the action that created that reward. Rewards don’t have to be big, they just have to make the brain feel safe and comfortable.
Here are a few tips to spark that motivation to help you exercise.
Create a reward for your workout
(other than the reward that comes naturally to your body or brain). Maybe you like to treat yourself to a smoothie or juice post workout. Or your reward might be that for each workout you do you put some money in a jar and purchase something wonderful when you have enough saved up. Maybe your sense of reward comes from making a checklist and checking off each time you go to the gym. Sometimes seeing accomplishments on paper can help. Get your family or friends involved! You could even set up reward packages for each time you complete X amount of workouts you and your family agree that you get an evening off to yourself or a night out with your friends.
Pay for your classes or memberships in advance
Sometimes fulfilling a commitment can be a motivating factor. Paying for classes up front can be a powerful incentive to get off that couch. Some of us are motivated by the thought of following through with something, while others of us are motivated by not wanting to waste hard earned money we already spent. Most of us are far more motivated to action if a part of us perceives we’ve already agreed to the action.
Set clothes and gear out the night before and leave it where you’ll see it first thing in the morning or on your way out the door. You might want to set an alarm on your phone or computer and put your workouts on your calendar as appointments. You can do this a week ahead of time so that you already have your time allocated.
Get the proper gear
Sometimes the right gear is like the tools of the trade. Invest in some quality workout clothing like shoes or comfortable gear that breathes. If you are experiencing comfort and support while you work out you are more likely to perceive that as a positive experience.
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