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How to motivate myself to go to the gym

Updated January 24, 2019

Everybody falls into the same traps when it comes to going to the gym. It’s always “been a long day,” or you can always “do it tomorrow.” If you’re not truly motivated to go to the gym, you’ll subconsciously find any reason you can to avoid it. It might be phantom leg pain, it might be because you need to visit your mother, or it might just be that you can’t afford the membership. The problem isn’t physical, it isn’t fiscal, it’s psychological. Learning a few tricks can help you overcome these pesky mental roadblocks.

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Start small

Aim to take any step, even if it’s minuscule, to help yourself get healthier. You might be telling yourself you don’t have time to go to the gym, for example. Ask yourself what you do have time to do. Could you spare a few minutes to do some press ups or sit ups? Could you go for a quick run around your street? Anything is better than nothing, and when you get used to doing that bit, you’ll be able to do a bit more. It doesn’t have to be intensive; just move in the right direction.

Schedule yourself

Make a commitment to yourself to go to the gym regularly. You don’t have to go every day. If you try to do too much at once, you’ll probably fail and get discouraged. Just start with twice a week if that’s all you want to commit to, or even once a week. Choose specific times on specific days to go to the gym, and make sure you always go. Treat them like important appointments.

Exercise with a Friend

Find a friend who wants to start exercising, and see if he or she wants to go to the gym with you. It doesn’t matter which of you have to change your schedule to suit the other's; the important thing is that you regularly go together. You’ll support each other because it’s much more difficult to let another person down. You’ll feel too guilty to present them with a pathetic excuse, and you’ll end up exercising. If your exercise mate lets you down, however, you still have to keep to your schedule.

Set yourself a goal

Think about the reasons you want to go to the gym. It could be a better looking body or for the multitude of health benefits. Find an image that represents your goal. This could be a picture of yourself when you were slimmer, an example of your dream body, or even the person you want to look good for. Keep this picture in your wallet or set it as the background on your phone. If you’re ever thinking about ditching your responsibilities, look at it and think about why you wanted to go to the gym originally.

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About the Author

Lee Johnson has written for various publications and websites since 2005, covering science, music and a wide range of topics. He studies physics at the Open University, with a particular interest in quantum physics and cosmology. He's based in the UK and drinks too much tea.

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