« Health & Fitness

How to Get Motivated

by Christy Taylor

You know you should exercise every day. But that doesn't mean you do it. Half the battle is getting motivated.

Achieving your fitness goals isn't easy; it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Even if you manage to get up an hour earlier to hit the basement treadmill or faithfully go to the gym after a long day in the office, missing a few workouts can be so unsettling, it can derail your entire plan.

So how do you stay motivated to keep moving? Virgin HealthMiles , which provides employee health programs that pay people to get active, has five proven tips.

1. Keep a food and fitness journal.
Research has shown that writing down everything you eat can help you to lose weight. In that same vein, keep a journal of your workouts and other physical activities. Try this: Set mini-goals that are more achievable, and create a calendar for your workouts. When you finish a workout, check it off the calendar. Job well done!

2. Believe it. Achieve it.
Coaches like to tell long-distance runners that their sport is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical. Acknowledging the mind/body connection is a critical part of any exercise plan. Think positive thoughts and banish the negative ones. Try this: Tell yourself "I am strong. I can do it!"

3. Reward yourself.
Give yourself a meaningful reward when you have reached one of your goals. It's a way of celebrating yourself. (Just don't use an ice cream sundae as the reward!) Try this: Indulge in a massage or spa treatment or buy yourself a new item of clothing.

4. Keep it fun!
if your workouts aren't fun, it's hard to stay motivated. Sometimes, just changing how you exercise can turn boredom into something more interesting. Try this: If you run, sign up for a race and a recruit a friend to compete with you.

5. Make yourself number one.
With all the demands on your time, it's easy to make yourself the last priority in your life. Don't do that. You should be No. 1! Working out and getting in shape will give you the energy you need to take better care of your responsibilities. Try this: Schedule "me time" every day so you know you'll always have time to exercise.