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Motivating Yourself to Exercise

Here are some tips to encourage you to not only exercise but to enjoy doing it. The most important thing is to take good care of yourself by being kind to yourself along the way. Changing habits takes time and shouldn’t be viewed as a failure if you don’t stick to your routine. Let’s take a look at some ways to stay motivated.

Exercise with someone you like. For some, exercising with a partner (a co-worker, friend, family member or neighbor) is key to staying motivated to exercise. These individuals feel accountable to not only themselves but their partner as well. They want to show up on time, put forth great effort into the exercises and also to motivate each other.

Put it on your calendar with a firm day and time to increase your chances of remaining consistent. For example, 30-60 minutes of practicing Pilates on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons or meeting for a spin class on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Whatever exercise is your preferred method, make it a priority by putting it on your calendar and setting a reminder.

Pick something you enjoy. I’m fortunate to have a job that I enjoy doing. It’s work but doesn’t usually feel like “work”. I feel the same way about the exercises that I’ve decided to practice - Pilates, indoor cycling and yoga. Although sometimes the exercises are challenging and humbling, I feel so good afterwards because I did something for myself. If you are an outdoor person try walking, running or biking. If you miss playing a competitive sport, try joining a team or club.

Set goals related to participation instead of outcomes. One question that I get asked a lot about Pilates is, “will I lose weight?”. The answer is yes, that is possible. However, the focus is more on body awareness while gaining strength and stability. The way you achieve these goals is with regular practice - consistency. Even if it is only 10 minutes of practice, that is still better than doing nothing at all.

Notice how you feel after working out. The feelings vary depending on the individual and what the body needs from the exercise. I particularly enjoy the feeling of lightness as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, feeling grounded and assured of my capabilities or re-energized so that I can proceed with the rest of my day with gratitude. Noticing how different exercises make you feel will motivate you to continue doing it or decide if it is not right for you.

It is advisable to get your physician’s approval before you begin any exercise program, especially if you have a heart condition or if you are recovering from a serious illness or injury.

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