Contributed by Jaklyn P.

I struggle to get myself to work out.  I give myself 100 reasons why I don’t have time, distract myself with other chores and try to hide from myself.  But, when I do exercise, I feel so good I know that it is important for my emotional, mental and physical health. So, here is how I motivate myself to work out even when I don’t ‘want’ to.

Get rid of the perfect workout.  I used to think that working out was about going to the gym, spending 20 minutes on the treadmill, pumping iron for another 20 and then another 20 for swimming. For some, such a workout plan is bliss; to me it is a nightmare.  So I rethought exercise and spiced it up a bit.  I made an exercise plan out of things I enjoy doing.  Now, my exercise program includes walking my dog for 90 minutes a day; doing vigorous squats on some days and, at other times, dancing!

Think of the benefits. Instead of focusing on why I don’t want to exercise, I think of what is bad if I don’t do it (I feel tired, sluggish, my body will be weaker, etc.) and how I feel after I exercising (I feel stronger, better about myself as I know I’m taking care of myself, I feel a sense of accomplishment that I did what I said I would, etc.).

Support/partners.  I don’t work out all the time with a partner but working out with a friend helps.  I take hikes or go swimming with friends which has made my workout a social event. With a partner it becomes more fun and I feel more responsible for showing up for my friend who is depending on me to keep them going.

Stress relief. A walk makes me feel better, each and every time.  It takes me away from my stress and gives me some time to take care of myself. Also, I have found that some of best ideas and solutions come to me while I am walking.

Get a trainer.  Not all of them will yell at you.  Ask friends for recommendations and find a friendly, motivating trainer to push you further.

What do you do to motivate yourself to exercise?