Long-term fitness goals require dedication, determination, and discipline to be successful.
It’s important to be consistent, but sometimes we all need a little mental boost or extra motivation to get going.
If you’re struggling to find motivation or you’re new to training and don’t know what to do, here are 32 tips that can help.
You should either find ways to work these positive things into your life now, or keep this list somewhere you can easily access it if you’re having a bad day and need a mental boost to keep going.
- Create a Routine
Without a plan, you are more likely to fail at staying motivated to work out. To make it more likely that you’ll stick with working out, make a routine. We understand that it can be hard to find time, but remember that your physical and mental health are more important than anything else. So make time for working out.
- Write Your Goals Out
Trying to be vague with something is not going to be helpful. It would be like getting into a car and trying to drive somewhere without knowing where you want to go.
If you want to improve, be specific about what you want to improve. What weight do you want to achieve? How much strength do you want to have? Be as specific as possible, and write these goals down. Keep the list in a place where you see it every day, so that it serves as a reminder of your motivation for doing this.
- Track Your Workouts
Keeping a record of what you have done can help you to both keep track of your progress and plan your next steps.
This could be a potential new source of motivation for you every time you train. Will you be motivated by these challenges?
- Set Up a Rewards Program
This can be anything you want it to be. Do you have a place you want to go? Maybe you have your sights set on something you want to buy.
If you achieve your weight-loss goals, you will be rewarded with whatever it is you wanted.
- Give Yourself a Deadline
Having a deadline approaching can benefit you.
Bodybuilders wanting to look their best on contest day and powerlifters wanting to be at their best at the next meet are similar. Write a day that is reasonable based on the goal and make that day a holiday in your mind.
- Quotes of the Day
The wise words of someone you admire can have a positive impact.
Save quotes about training or success that you like and refer back to them later.
- Visualize Your Success
See the movements, feel the weights in your hands, and try to envision hitting every rep with ease. What do you want your training session to look like? What weights do you want to lift today? Take a few minutes for yourself, close your eyes, and try to create images of the session in your mind. See the movements, feel the weights in your hands, and try to envision hitting every rep with ease.
Visualize what you want to happen, then when you go to do it, it will be like you’ve already done it.
- Seek Out Inspirational Stories
Change “greatness” to “success” Everyone has a story and a journey that is their own. Many people have overcome great obstacles and adversity to achieve success.
If you know someone who has achieved great success, think about that person. If not, look for stories of successful people and ask yourself one question: “Why not me?”
- Create a Playlist
Music can have a positive effect on your mood. Everyone has a song or artist that makes them feel good.
To create your workout playlist, start by finding your favorite songs. Then, make a playlist that will be about the length of your workout. Finally, hit play. You can even start the list with that one song you like the most and walk to the weight room while it’s playing, like entrance music for your own event.
If you want to see how the top fitness stars train, subscribe to their YouTube channels.
Watching your favorite athletes working hard could inspire you to do the same.
- Use Your Social Media
Some people argue that social media platforms are to blame for a lot of negativity, but the truth is that they are neutral. The way that social media affects you is determined by who you follow and what you look for.
Find people or brands that you admire and look through some of their posts while you drink your pre-workout. Then take a step closer to being where they are.
- Training Partners
Working out with a partner can help to keep you motivated and accountable. Training with someone can also help to push you when you are struggling.
When you do something for yourself, it is one thing. However, being there for someone else will give you more reasons to follow through.
- Keep a Before Photo
Having a visual representation of your motivation can help remind you of your goals. We all started this journey for a reason, and we want to better than we were when we began. Find a photo of yourself from when you first made the commitment to improve yourself and hang it somewhere you’ll see it often.
You can either make progress today or regress. Which would you prefer?
- Take Progress Photos
It can be difficult to see your progress when you are looking at yourself every day. A helpful way to keep track of your physical changes is to take a photo of yourself once a month.
If you see changes, you can be motivated to do more. If you don’t see many changes, you can make adjustments before you get too upset.
- Record Yourself Training
You can also improve your performance by watching yourself on film and seeing what you did right and wrong. You can then change things up and move forward to the next game.
Set up your camera to film yourself doing your biggest sets and see if your form looks good. You might see yourself doing something amazing and get motivated to keep going.
- Go to Fitness Events
When you are around people who share your values and goals, you tend to feel more motivated and energized.
Find an event in your area like the Arnold Sports Festival or Olympia and meet other people that are successful or want to be. The positive energy can be contagious and help you move forward.
- Get Competitive
I don’t like losing any more than you do. Sometimes talking smack can be motivational at the gym. You may find you work a little harder when you’re angry. Also, competing with a friend to lose weight can be more fun and the prize more compelling.
- Join a Workout Group
If you’re struggling to find workout buddies in your area, Facebook is a great place to start. There are tons of groups for all different kinds of workouts, and you’re bound to find one that’s a perfect fit for you. I’m a member of two running groups that meet once a week, and some of them even have fun perks like meeting at a brewery or restaurants afterwards. It’s a great way to make friends who are also looking for motivation to stay active.
- Consume Caffeine Before a Workout
Caffeine is a great way to improve your workout, both mentally and physically. For athletes, caffeine can improve performance by 2-4%. This means that you can either race faster or maintain higher intensities for a longer period of time during your workout. Until 2004, the World Anti-Doping Agency considered high concentrations of caffeine illegal in Olympic events.
- Try a Pre-Workout Supplement
This may be a bit too much for some people, but if you want a guaranteed way to stay motivated at the gym, try pre-workout. Some people are concerned about what is in pre-workouts. That’s understandable. Just do your research. I never used to be a fan of pre-workout, but I never educated myself about it. Once I learned that the fears about kidney health were exaggerated, that drinking water would solve any possible gastrointestinal issues, and that the substance actually improves reasoning skills, I was all for it.
- Lose the Excuses
Find a time that works better for you and your schedule. The brain often comes up with excuses for why we should not do something. It is important to not give in to these excuses. A good analogy for this is a puppy. If you don’t let the puppy chew on your shoes, then your shoes will stay clean and hole-free. In the same way, don’t let your mind come up with excuses for why you can’t do something. For example, don’t schedule your workout routine for a time when you know you will be likely to make excuses (like happy hour on a Friday afternoon). Find a time that works better for you and your schedule.
- Get Some Awesome Workout Apparel
When you look in the mirror and feel put together, your confidence will increase. Adding a few sweet outfits to your gym wardrobe will not only help you flex on everyone at the gym, but it will also increase your motivation to work out.
- Change it Up
It is normal to feel burnt out and like you are just going through the motions. To stay motivated, you should try different exercises. If you are sick of the Stairmaster, try the bike, for example. When you stop gaining any ground in shoulder presses, you could try lateral raises instead.
- Mix in Light Workouts
I love long runs because the intensity is low. With treadmill sprints, you are focused on the pain and suffering, but with long runs, you can space out and get lost in thought. You may find yourself in a mental trance, so deep in thought that you forget you’re working out. These exercises are also great for generating great ideas and positive thoughts.
- Get 8-10 hours of sleep
Sleep is important for success in all areas of life. Working out while tired or mentally exhausted rarely goes well. Quality sleep is more important than quantity, so drinking alcohol to fall asleep is not ideal.
- Minimize Alcohol Intake
The last time you woke up hungover and were excited to go to the gym was probably never. Unless you’re a psychopath, working out hungover will never be beneficial. If you’re going to drink, that’s fine, just be sure to drink before your off days.
- Eat the Right Foods
You are what you eat, meaning that the food you consume has an effect on your physical and mental health.
- Don’t Overdue it
Start light, and build your way up. The ability to stay motivated to work out is largely dependent on your workload. It’s common for people to get hit with a surge of motivation and want to run a marathon two weeks later, but your body isn’t ready to take on such a large workload at that time. If you try to bench 225 pounds without gradually working up to it, your body’s recovery time will be around seven days. This amount of time off from working out will make it difficult to maintain your usual routine. Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your workout.
- Remember Why you Started
A time came when you decided you needed to change. When thoughts of quitting creep in, going back to your reason for changing will keep you motivated to stick to your weekly routine.
- Commit to Positive Self-Talk
When you need to stay motivated to work out, the only person who can help you is you. Look in the mirror and say, “I am a boss *****, and nothing is going to stop me.” Say it as you mean it.
- Have Extrinsic Motivation
You should be motivated to do something for your own personal sake, but it’s okay to reward yourself with something special after you accomplish a goal.
- Environment Matters
Being the only person in your friend group who isn’t training can be hard, and you may feel like you have to do the same thing as them to fit in In order to be successful, you need to not only be dedicated to your training, but you also need to enjoy the atmosphere you are in. If everyone around you is either negative or training for something you’re not, it can have a negative impact on you. Being the only person in your friend group who isn’t training can be difficult, and you may feel like you have to do the same thing as them to fit in.
Choose a gym that you feel comfortable with and that is close to your home, or if you can, create your own home gym so you can have more control over your environment.