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Top Tips on How To Get Motivated To Work Out

Like the waves that come and go, so too does motivation. And typically like waves, motivational fitness inspiration comes in spurts, then next thing you know, it’s gone. Staying motivated to work out on a year-round basis takes time — lots of time — to fully master the discipline. But therein lies the problem — motivation.

 What you truly want to do is learn how to find inner drive and determination to be successful year-round. The problem is, the two are oftentimes used interchangeably when in fact, at their basis, they are different. 

Man flipping a tire while working out.
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The Difference Between Motivation and Determination

There is a difference between motivation and determination, and learning it can help set yourself up for making fitness a lifestyle change.

Motivation

Motivation comes from outside sources, usually from watching or reading something.

  • Movies
  • Books
  • Motivational speeches
  • Social media posts
  • Success stories

These are things that essentially make you want to start something.

Determination

Determination comes from internal inspiration — finding and having your own will to do something, start something, or make a change. Determination is, in most experts’ opinion, the most powerful form of inspiration, and once driven, an individual is hardly persuaded in a different direction. This helps you finish what you start.

Now that you have a bit of a better understanding of the differences, let’s look at a couple of things that can help you find your inner drive.

Man standing over a barbell in a gym.
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How Can I Get Myself Motivated To Exercise?

To help you stay on a motivated workout path, you need to do a little soul searching. Everyone knows that they should be exercising, but what makes that reason unique to you? What is your WHY — your reason for wanting to work out?

Wanting to drop an additional 10 or 20 pounds is a good place to start, but that is typically generic and impersonal. Wanting to lose 20 pounds because type 2 diabetes runs in your family and you are scared you’ll end up diabetic like other family members — now that is truly powerful. Do some real soul searching to find that truly transformational power, and you’ll be surprised where it can take you.

Stop Making Excuses

You can sit there and sugarcoat it all you want, and come up with excuses left and right. What it always comes down to in the end is that it wasn’t important enough to you, plain and simple. That is why you failed in the past. Yes, there are extreme circumstances that happen in life that are completely out of your control, but you can always find time to work out.

Everybody is given the same amount of hours on any given day. You get to choose how you use them. Sometimes that means sacrificing other things in life. In the end, you just have to be real with yourself; is fitness a priority or not?

Man working out using battle ropes.
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Reward Yourself Along the Way

This is one of the easiest things to do, yet very few do so on their own accord. One of the best ways to help yourself with that inner drive is to celebrate the small wins. Lose 5 pounds on your 50-pound journey — celebrate it. Add an extra 10 pounds of the 30 you want to add, to your one-rep max bench — celebrate it.

All too often we are our own harshest critics and will overly punish ourselves for missing workouts, falling off the meal plan, or skipping a workout. But that only further kicks you when you are down. Instead, celebrating the small victories along the way can do wonders for helping us stay driven and determined at making this a lifelong journey. 

Get Friends Involved

Another great way to get some added accountability is to utilize the buddy system. It’s easy enough to tell yourself that you can’t work out today or that this excuse will suffice. Now try telling someone else that you can’t work out today because of X, Y, Z — it’s not so easy. 

By getting a workout partner to start the journey with you, it gives you extra determination to be there for them as well. You don’t want to be the one to let them down, and they’re not gonna want to let you down either. You help hold each other accountable and push each other through the tough times. 

Bonus tip: Don’t have a buddy system in play? Put it out there to the world by letting social media know of your intentions. Post a pic of yourself starting out and make sure you caption it with your intentions. Now your entire network of friends and family knows you have this new journey or goal and can cheer you on. This makes it even harder to go back on your intentions.  

Consistency Reigns King

In the world of lifetime fitness, consistency will always win in the end. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to go out and run a marathon every single day to be successful. It means to truly be successful, you should do something every single day to help make you better. 

Consistently working out three times a week, going for walks on your off days, and doing mobility and recovery work one or two times a week will always be greater than going to the gym every single day for a month and a half straight, then getting upset and quitting altogether. You’re working on setting yourself up for long-term success. So, missing a workout here and there doesn’t mean you should just quit workouts for the rest of the week or month. It means stopping, reevaluating, and getting back on track. 

Another way to think about fitness is that it is your new job. If you miss a meeting because of other obligations, you wouldn’t quit your job, would you? No, you wouldn’t. So you shouldn’t do the same with your fitness. This is your new job and there are going to be learning curves along the way. Learn from it and grow — just make sure that you’re in it for the long haul. This is your fitness career.

Work Toward an Identity Shift

This is by far the hardest thing for an individual to accomplish in terms of a fitness lifestyle change. The reason why so many struggle with health and wellness is they have, more than likely, always seen themselves as the out-of-shape one — the individual who doesn’t work out, can’t run, gets winded going up a flight of stairs, the list goes on. 

To truly make fitness a lifestyle change, the mindset must change as well. This is easier said than done. To be truly successful, an identity shift needs to happen.

A great place to start is by thinking of yourself as an athlete. Fitness is now your job and your life. You are now the one that your friends and family will think of as the healthy and fit one. And as an athlete, you wouldn’t slack on diet and nutrition, skip workouts, or get poor sleep if you wanted to keep your job, would you? Well, neither should you. 

Once you get this buy-in from yourself — that you are an athlete, fitness can be for you, you are worth it — the possibilities are endless. 

Man working out doing a barbell snatch.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Lifelong Lessons

Some of these tips are going to be harder than others to adopt, whether you’re just starting out or have been working on fitness for decades. To be honest, that is the beauty of fitness. There is never an end goal, and you’re never going to be done with it. Fitness is a constant, ever-evolving field that has everyone learning their whole lives. That’s what makes it so exciting. Learning how to find that inner drive can be just as fun, too. 

Being driven and determined is greater than motivation. Ultimately, it comes down to finding and figuring out your why — what makes you want to do this. Dig deep, get to the pain, and get after it. 

Editors' Recommendations

Jeff Turbett
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Jeff Turbett is a health and wellness coach with over three years of experience transforming clients lives and physical…
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