7 Simple Ways to Get Motivated for Your Workout


Staying motivated is at least half the battle when it comes to keeping active. Without the brain in the game, it's hard for the body to follow suit. Thankfully, you can get a jolt of motivation with just a few simple tips, and without an expensive personal trainer. (See also: 6 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Motivate Yourself)

So get on your grind with these workout tips that don't cost a dime.

1. Set (Realistic) Goals

Working out with no goal in mind is a recipe for motivation disaster. Maybe you want to start by walking the recommended 10,000 steps a day. Perhaps you'd like engage in a strength training routine three days a week. What about losing those last 10 pounds? Or maybe you want to complete one of those crazy monster runs up a mountain. Whatever it is, make your goal measurable and realistic. And write it down or sign up for the event… now.

2. Be Incremental

Thing is, sometimes goals — even attainable ones — can seem like gigantic beasts. Getting there doesn't have to be so overwhelming, however. Break down your larger goal into smaller pieces. Attack each piece day by day. For example, if you'd like to run your first 5K, you can look up (many) plans online that give you daily workouts. Likewise, if you're looking to lose a few pounds, you can do daily or weekly weigh-ins to track your progress. If it helps, write down your workouts on a calendar and cross them off as you move along. (See also: 8 Ways To Track Your Diet and Fitness For Free)

3. Get Support

Friends and family can certainly make finding motivation much easier. Plan to head to the gym to do weights with your buddy or meet up with a coworker for a brisk walk at lunch. You'll be having so much fun that it won't feel like working out at all. And even friends who don't live so near can help — keep in close contact via social media to stoke the fires from afar. Even a quick "you're going to smash your workout today!" message can do wonders.

4. Visualize

If you're on a site like Pinterest, you post powerful quotes and other visual reminders on a virtual motivation board. You can also find free workout ideas this way — here's my motivation board for a jumping off point. Take this idea analog by cutting out photos and sayings from magazines, newspapers, and anywhere else you find a healthy dose of positivity.

5. Make It Convenient

Give yourself a boost by making the challenge much less challenging: exercise at home! Getting to the gym is sometimes the hardest part for me, so sneaking in sweat sessions in my living room helps on particularly difficult days. These at-home exercises will give you a gym-quality workout for free. And here are five ways to turn your neighborhood walk into a real workout.

6. Forge Ahead

If you have a bad day, don't fret. Instead, keep your eyes ahead of you. Nothing squashes motivation more than a negative attitude. Keep yours in check by valuing the hard work you've already done toward your goals. We all have off days, get sick, or feel tired. Remember that rest is okay and — actually — quite good for the body. If you have a strenuous workout planned and don't feel up to it, exchange it for something lighter. Or at very minimum, take a 10 minute walk or jog to see if that doesn't get you feeling better. Movement begets movement.

7. Reap Rewards

Last, but certainly not least, reward yourself each step of the way. I have a friend who recently started running. Her reward? Pretty running clothing — and it's worked to get her from "just finishing" her first 5K to whittling her time down to 27 minutes in just six short months. And she looks good crossing that finish line with all her bright, colorful gear. Better yet, you can give to yourself on the cheap, here are 20 free and fun ways to reward yourself for a job well done. You deserve it!

How do you keep your motivation stoked for working out?

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