Five Psychological Tricks To Get That Workout Started
Most of want to get regular exercise — or at least we think we do. But when the moment comes to actually commence a workout, inertia and lack of motivation often win out. The solution may lie within you already. Leveraging your own mind against the problem is a good idea. Here are five practical, psychological tricks to employ to get you to exercise more.
- Ask for the minimum.
Cut a deal with yourself. Rather than demanding an intense hour-long workout, simply ask for five minutes of moderate effort. The great part is that once you get started, you’ll probably find the experience isn’t so bad after all. Once that initial psychological resistance is overcome, keeping moving becomes relatively easy.
- Tell others.
Peer pressure is usually thought of as a bad thing, but what if you used it to your advantage? Telling other people about your plans to exercise can work wonders. Humans are social creatures. The expectations of others matter to us. Knowing that other people may think less of you if you don’t follow through can greatly increase your desire to work out.
- Set small goals.
The problem with big, tough goals is that they are intimidating. Setting a massive challenge for yourself is often counterproductive. Rather than feeling inspired, you may experience hopelessness. Better to set small, manageable goals you know you can accomplish. As you reach your goals and build confidence you can ramp up to harder challenges anyway.
- Promise yourself a reward.
Ultimately, your willingness to do an activity depends upon the anticipation of some sort of reward. If exercise doesn’t provide you psychological satisfaction on its own, you may require an extrinsic reward instead. Knowing that you have something enjoyable waiting at the end of your workout should increase your motivation.
- Choose a routine.
Habits make everything easier, and the way to make something a habit is to follow a routine. Embracing a set, unvarying routine will turn exercise from something that is difficult to initiate into a normal part of your life. Try to exercise at the same time and in the same place each workout. Even such details as wearing the same workout clothes and listening to the same music can help.
Discipline and motivation are not mere matters of willpower. Taking advantage of the ways your mind naturally works is good sense. It might seem strange to try and play ‘tricks’ on yourself, but if those tricks do the job, why not use them? Try any of the five mental tricks seen above and see if they work for you.