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Whether you want to be fitter, lose more weight or just exercise for health reasons, it can be hard to get started and find that inner sense of motivation. Many people feel comfortable in their ‘comfort zone’ and do not want to readily step outside of it. However, to achieve anything worthwhile in life you need to put in effort and hard work.

We are used to ‘quick fixes’ and ‘fast results’ in our society today and exercise may seem like a longer road to success. But being fit is a lifestyle choice and making that decision now to change your life with exercise can bring you great rewards.

This article is designed to simply give you a motivational exercise boost and to lift your spirits when it comes to getting started with exercising.

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1. Reasons

Firstly, you need to consider what you reasons are for wanting to exercise or to take up a new fitness regime. Ask yourself if you are doing it for the right reasons. It is okay to want to improve your fitness and health for your family and friends, but your primary reason should stem from an inner motivation within yourself.

To see exercise routines and schedules through to completion you need to want to grasp at those results for yourself. This is what can truly inspire you to keep going when you hit a metaphorical brick wall. Whatever your reasons may be let them inspire you and you can use them as ‘fuel’ to keep going mentally during your workouts.

We all have days where exercising seems like too much hard work, but it is when you consult your reasons for doing this in the first place that you can find inner strength that you did not know you possessed. If you have a reason for getting fit then you are more likely to stick at your routine in the long term as well as to draw motivation from it.

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2. Goals

Making goals when it comes to your fitness can really make all the difference. Goals can be small or large. However, breaking them down into more manageable daily chunks can make your workout seem easier and more attainable. In addition, the human brain responds extremely well to working to targets and goals. The neurotransmitter dopamine[1] 'creates a sense of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement'[2]. It is the setting of goals which can help us to release this great feeling. As well as this, when we set ourselves goals 'the brain invests in the target as if we had already accomplished it'[2].

This is highly motivational and shows the power of setting goals for exercise. The benefits of goal setting could also be applied more widely to other lifestyle factors too such as work or home targets that you may also have.

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3. Tracking Your Progress

Once you have got going on the track to success with your exercise and fitness routine then it can be a great motivational aid to track your progress as well. Not only will you gain a sense of personal validation from doing this, you could also develop a way to better monitor your actions. This in turn could lead to increased performance results for you because you will be able to see where you are going wrong or right and to correct this. 

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This sense of having a ‘timeline’ for your progress can show you your exercise patterns more clearly. If you use stickers in your planner when you work out then can you notice any weekly patterns? For example, are you always quite lazy about exercising first thing on a Monday but do you always seem to work out on Thursdays and Fridays? You could even download a fitness application to help you monitor your progress in real time too.

You can learn a lot from tracking your progress and I personally enjoy using a planner to help me achieve this. I like to look back over a specific week and to see what I have accomplished in terms of my exercise and fitness. Patterns can start to emerge and you can see areas which you could improve upon.

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4. Pacing Yourself

If you are looking to exercise more in the long term then it is wise to consider the pacing of your routines. If you go into it with heaps of energy and enthusiasm then this is all well and good, but you could be more likely to burn out sooner. Are you familiar with the story of the tortoise and the hare? (This is a story in which a hare and a tortoise race each other. However, the hare believes that he is much faster than the tortoise and so he takes his time and even has a nap during the race. However, he oversleeps and the slow but steady tortoise overtakes him and wins the race!). Although this story teaches us many lessons, one of them is that you should not rest on your laurels or burn out through over-exhaustion.

Great pacing helps you to stick at your activities for longer because you are not using a copious amount of energy all in one go. Try working to your maximum each session but listen to your body when it tries to tell you that it is exhausted. Pushing yourself further in the occasional challenge can be a good thing, but finding a balance to this pacing is the key to setting great long term fitness targets.

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5. Positive Thinking

Lastly, I wish to touch on the element of positive thinking when it comes to exercising. We can all sometimes experience that little voice in our head that says ‘stop’, ‘slow down’ or ‘I am too tired to exercise today!’. But seeing past that nagging voice is the difference between achieving something and not going for it. 

The only obstacle that you have in the way of your success is truly yourself. One needs to learn to work against negativity mentally in life and to battle forwards. It is natural that we all criticize ourselves from time to time, but you can also be your biggest champion.

Therefore, try to turn those phrases of regret and pity into thoughts of success, positive energy and happiness and you could find that you have more mental energy to see your fitness routines through to the end. There are also many additional ways to get fit without a gym so one does not have to rely on this option alone to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Below is a motivation video from Alexander Heyne entitled ‘Trick Yourself into Finding Motivation to Exercise by Using Psychology’ from the You Tube channel ‘Modern Health Monk’.