I want to exercise, though life gets in the way. I'm so busy! How can I motivate myself to do it every day?

We are never too busy to do what we really want. So, the “I’m too busy to exercise” is actually an excuse. Rather, look for what gets in your way. Do you hate going to a gym? Are you unsure what to do once there? Are you afraid of giving up again?

Usually it’s not that you lack motivation. It’s more likely that you have a plan that’s too ambitious or one that’s not suited to your lifestyle. Or perhaps you don’t have a backup plan. If your exercise strategy is not set up properly, you’re less likely to stick with it.

Analyze each of these questions to figure out what hinders your motivation:

Are you doing the right workout for you? Your friends talk about the ultimate Zumba class or their empowering yoga sessions, so you feel you should follow the crowd. Analyze the type of person you are and your overall daily activity. If you are an extrovert you may enjoy shaking your hips in front of a crowd, but if you are always around other people, you may welcome time alone on a cardio machine.

Are you setting the right plan? Write down your goal. It should be specific, measurable, and time specific (deadline). Equally important is to be realistic—it should be neither too easy nor out of reach. Also write down what may affect your plan. Include setbacks like extra workload and social commitments and come up with a solution for each scenario.

Are you setting up a weekly review? Remember life changes every day so you need to review your plan as it goes, then adjust accordingly.

Are you sharing your plan? Research conducted by Dominican University of California, shows that  “people who wrote down their goals, shared this information with a friend, and sent weekly updates to that friend were, on average, 33% more successful in accomplishing their stated goals than those who merely formulated goals.”

Are you dressing up? You may think that working out in a baggy t-shirt and any type of old tennis shoes is fine. But if you do not feel good in your clothes, you will not feel good about exercising. Dress nicely and wear well-fitting clothes, and make sure you have the right footwear for your workout. This will bring spark to your look and reduce any shoe-related injury.

How close is the gym? Try to join a gym ten minutes or less away from your home or office. If the commute is long, you are more likely to drop out of your proposed routine.

Are you looking to food to get motivated? Bad choice. It takes over 30 minutes of tough walking to burn the donut you just ate as an exercise reward. Rewards are great to keep up motivation. Studies show that people lose more weight when there’s a money reward in the plan—but don’t tie it to food. Instead, pamper yourself with something you enjoy like having a facial or buying a new lipstick.

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