Motivation and exercising

We all know that exercising is good for us. Doing it, though, is another thing ?

By understanding better how self-motivation works, you will be more likely to stick to it, even when the little voice inside you says ‘I’ll do it next week.’, ‘It’s rainy today’, ‘I am tired’ or ‘I don’t have time’ …

Your intrinsic motivation to exercise is driven by your interest or pleasure in the activity itself and / or your self-desire to seek new challenges, new goals without relying on external pressures or external rewarding.

Here are a few ways to foster it.

Start with ‘why’:

Why exercising is important to you in this moment of your life? What does being healthy mean for you now?

What will exercising give you that is even more important?

Write down the priority level for this activity versus other personal or professional projects.

Define your first goal

Set a reasonable, achievable and measurable goal: For example, exercising 45 minutes two times a week for 3 months.

Define exactly when, which activity, where, maybe with whom…

Setting up an alternative option from the beginning is recommended:

For example:

– Running 30 minutes every Monday at the park, in the evening between 7 and 8 pm.

-Alternative option in case of urgency or valid reason (for example nobody to look after your little ones): running early morning on Tuesday and starting work a bit later…or if you are a mom join the mama trainings 😉

Track Your Progress

If you know that progress has as much impact as final goal for you, chart your workouts, whether you do it online or on handwritten journal. Seeing improvements, whether running faster, doing more steps, or working out more often, will make you want to keep going.

 Identify self-sabotage

Self-sabotage is when we say we want something and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen. Guilt is a very common cause: accept the side steps, the uncontrollable events, the fact you did not manage last time your tried, etc.

Don’t let a misstep be an excuse for giving up.

Feel and register the pleasure, the joy or the fun

There are many ways of exercising: walking and chatting with a friend, dancing, running for a charity, swimming with your kids, cycling to work. Choose activities you like and ensure you are fully present and aware when practising, focusing on pleasant sensations, whether there are your inner sensations, the environment around you, a feel of fresh air, etc. Memorizing those pleasant sensations will help you focus on positive aspects and foster your motivation next time.

 Anticipate and make it convenient

Setting up a routine will really help :

  • have your gym bag ready in front of the house door and get ready immediately after work.
  • prepare your preferred sport outfit in the evening, get up and get dressed. No more excuse afterwards !

When you’re busy, don’t spend 30 minutes driving to a gym. You can use online exercise videos instead, run in your neighbourhood, etc.

Plan your reward and enjoy it

Treat yourself for working out. Whether it is a nice healthy lunch break afterwards, a new outfit, a massage – whatever you enjoy.

Your extrinsic motivation to exercise is instead driven by the external rewards you think you can get out of it: recognition and praise by your family circle or friends ; fame or crowd cheering, professional growth or increased romantic possibilities…

 Those are worthy reasons to start or support your exercising program. Be aware though that physical exercise might not bring the expected life transformation and do not rely mainly on this motivation factor.

Get a supporting and cheering team: ask friends, family, colleagues, neighbours to encourage you to stay on track.

Go with the flow : Reaching a flow state during your workout, this state of total absorption into your activity with a focused state of mind, will make you feel happy, totally connected to your body and the movement. May you reach it ?


Nadège RavouxHealthyLux Passionate Contributor

HealthyLux June theme – To enjoy the glow of good health, you must exercise.

If you would like to volunteer for a Healthy Luxembourg, please contact us ( We can’t wait to hearing from you!


Leave a Reply

More HealthyLux articles