Get Fit: Motivating Yourself To Become a Person Who Exercises

I used to be a workout junkie and I loved it. Every day consisted of an hour or more at the gym and 1-2 carefully crafted, thoroughly delicious salads. Life was great! Most importantly, I felt great.

And then I moved.

After unpacking all the boxes and memorizing all the streets, I had to find a new gym. It became obvious that nothing in my new neighborhood would even hold a candle to my old gym. I’d accidentally grown emotionally attached to that gym — it was right up there with my very best friends from New York. Finding a new gym was going to be a lot like finding new friends. Except that making new friends had me going out multiple nights a week, which in turn negatively affected my ability to find a new gym. Predicament! So one day went by without working out. And then another. Suddenly I had no routine, no desire to workout, and no outlet for it either, because all of my friends were out drinking instead of running.

exhibit a

This went on for a while and I gradually started liking myself less and less — not necessarily just because I wasn’t working out, but because I felt like I wasn’t living up to my personal best. After a few months of this rut, Dinah Shore Weekend was coming up. Maybe I don’t have to tell you this, but nothing spells motivation like b-i-k-i-n-i. I decided to let the impending warm weather and partial nudity be my motivation to getting my life back on track.

Now it’s a year later and the same motivators are right around the corner: Dinah, bikinis, even A-CAMP. If you’ve been thinking about getting in shape for spring, let’s do it!  I’ll be here to give you some tips, maybe some new ideas, answer your questions, and share stories and feelings.


Because sometimes just getting out the door can be the hardest part, today I’ve got four simple but effective tips to get you started!

christina bly for autostraddle


Motivation Tip #1:
Set Goals.

The best motivation is something you can set your sights on. For lots of my friends, it’s Dinah. For you it could be a race, a wedding, your high school reunion, A-CAMP, a Scrabble tournament,  the midnight premier of The Hunger Games, etc. It doesn’t matter how absurd the goal seems, as long as it is something within the semi-near future — three months is a perfect time because it’s still fresh and fun and you can also see results. Make sure it’s something that you truly care about feeling amazing for!




Motivation Tip #2:
Tell a Friend.

This rule is good for both safety and public humiliation. Telling a friend that you are going hiking, running, or to the gym will inform at least one person of your whereabouts, in case you encounter a 127 Hours type of situation. It also adds a wonderful element of integrity, making you responsible for the plans you’ve made to workout. It can be easy to talk ourselves out of our plans to workout because hey, we ‘re really convincing. But our friends are much harder to convince. Chances are good that if they find out you didn’t workout when you said you would, they’ll judge you, lose faith in you and never believe anything you say ever again. Oh, you’re going to the bookstore this afternoon? Picking up vegan tacos for dinner? REALLY? How can they believe you? That’s right, they can’t.


Motivation Tip #3:
Schedule Your Day.

Write a schedule of your day or week or month in a journal or on your computer. Make sure you allot 2 hours for working out (includes a shower and getting to the gym) and in the workout slot write something really uplifting like “GO TO THE FREAKING GYM YOU LAZY FUCK” At least that’s what works for me…


omg shoes


Motivation Tip #4:
Bribe Yourself.

Some might call it pampering, I like to think of it as little bribes. Lacking cute yoga pants? Need swanky new running shoes that sparkle in the daylight?  Been dying to buy a Kindle but just can’t justify it? This is the PERFECT excuse: Do it for you. For your new body and your new year. Don’t let not having the right equipment stop you from working out — instead reframe the expense of buying it as a reason to use it as frequently as possible.


What are your favorite motivators? What gets you out of bed and to the gym on those frosty winter mornings? I’ve got big ideas for this column, but I want to hear from you! What do you want to talk about here? OPEN THREAD IT, KIDDOS.


Thumbnail image model: Lauren

Sarah has written 14 articles for us.

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!