The hardest thing about working out isn’t knowing what to do. It’s doing it. Staying motivated is a day-by-day challenge but the good news is that habits are self-reinforcing. Once you get in the habit of working out it stops being a chore. It can take a while to get to that point though, and it’s a good idea to have some motivation-boosting tricks up your sleeve.
Here are four ideas you can use to motivate your workouts:
  1. Fit Jar Cash: Get a big old Bell jar, put it somewhere prominent, and pay yourself every time you finish a workout. It can be five cents or five bucks, the point is to have a tangible reward for every workout and see the money stack up. When the jar is full use the money for something special: maybe a few extra PT sessions, or a some new gym gear.
  2. Fit Jar Popsicle Sticks: If you’d rather take than give, get a big bunch of popsicle sticks and write a non-food related reward on each. For a daily hit of motivation list little things like “hang out with friends” or “pick flowers” and pick a stick after each workout. To savour the anticipation of something bigger, list stuff like: “magazine subscription” or “get a sports massage” and reward yourself with one popsicle stick at the end of each week that you complete all your scheduled workouts.
  3. Buy a new suit or dress in your ideal size: Give yourself a material goal (if you’ll excuse the pun) and splurge on a new outfit in your ideal size. It doesn’t have to be formal or super-expensive, just something nice and special occasion. Every time you work out imagine yourself in walking into a party in that outfit. Think about how toned, healthy, and confident you’ll look. Believe me, it’ll help make those last five minutes on the treadmill flash past!
  4. Post a picture of the body you want where you work out: This is my favorite kick-in-the-pants technique because it really makes you visualize your goals! Find a photo of a body that you want to look like. Quick note here: be realistic. If you’re 5’9” and a naturally slim guy don’t choose a picture of a professional line-backer; if you’re curvy and petite don’t spend your time gazing wistfully at photos of bony six-food fashion models. Once you’ve got the right photo, put on your home gym mirror, in your fitness closet, your gym locker or just on your regular mirror. If you don’t feel like working out, or are tempted to slack off on your session, take a look at your photo and remind yourself what you’re working towards. It’s a simple trick and great motivation. When you reach your goal, swap that old picture for a photo of your fit new body.