Finding Motivation To Work Out : Four Scientifically Proven Ways
motivation to start working out

Finding Motivation To Work Out : Four Scientifically Proven Ways

We’ve all had those mornings when the sky is gray, there’s a cold rain, and the bed is so warm and comfortable and finding motivation to work out gets thrown out the window.

Why do you have to go to the gym, anyway? 

There’s a pillow calling your name…

It’s hard to find motivation sometimes, even for the most devoted fitness fanatic.

Economists and psychologists have spent years looking into the science of motivation, and how we’re able to make ourselves do things that we really don’t want to do.

Based on their studies, the following four hints are things that have been found to actually motivate the uninspired.

motivation working out

1. Give Yourself a Tangible Reward

We’re supposed to be able to motivate ourselves by imagining all of the wonderful things that will happen if we haul ourselves out of bed and go running.

Sometimes, though, those visualizations just fall flat.

The trick, scientists propose, is to offer oneself a tangible reward in addition to the intangible ones.

Yes, still envision how awesome you’ll look at your cousin’s wedding when you’ve dropped those last ten pounds.

While that’s this summer – what about now?

When you actually go through with it and go to the gym on a day when you don’t want to get out of bed, then praise yourself.  

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Or maybe a short term goal can be to treat yourself to some frozen yogurt, or an afternoon of Netflix binge-watching.  

Doing something that will give a little nudge to the pleasure center of your brain and the endorphins will be released.

Retrain or Even Trick Your Brain

Your brain will start to associate the task (going to the gym) with the reward (a smoothie).

When this association is made, the brain starts to believe in this new behavior.

In essence, you’re trying to train your brain that it is actually worth all the effort.

Before you know it, finding the motivation to work out becomes slightly easier.

This is called the neurological habit loop.

There’s the cue to trigger the behavior (waking up and realizing that it’s time to hit the gym).

Then there is the actual behavior (going to the gym and working out).  

Then last the reward.

All three steps have to be included for this loop to be complete.

At the beginning, the reward for working out is purely extrinsic, but over time, it becomes internalized.

The brain begins to associate the pain and sweat of a workout with the rush of endorphins.

Eventually, the workout itself is all the reward you'll need.

working out motivation

2. Sign a Contract


People are more likely to follow through with promises if they’ve shared them with others.

This is especially true if the witnesses to these promises are friends.

There’s a very strong social drive to not disappoint your “tribe”.  

If you fail to keep your promise, you’ll likely feel regretful or embarrassed.

Thus finding motivation to work out becomes the primary objective.

Even better, have the contract that you sign impose a penalty if not fulfilled.

Like a clause that forces you to give $5 to a friend every time you skip the gym or workout.

Having a monetary component is powerful because no one likes to lose money. 

People who sign long-term commitment contracts like these are more likely to exercise and keep their promises.

The brain will soon associate something negative (losing money) with not working out.  

In turn, hitting the gym will be a positive association.

So over time, not only will you save your money but you and your friends will know you're a person who keeps his or her commitments.   

And an added bonus is your health and fitness will drastically improve.  

how to get motivation to work out

3. Rethink Affirmations and Visualizations

Affirmations and visualizations only really work if they’re paired with more realistic methods of problem solving.

It’s not enough to identify what you want and to envision yourself achieving it – you must also determine what’s stopping you from achieving it in the first place.

This process is called “mental contrasting”. It works in three steps:

(1) identify the wish;

(2) visualize the outcome; and

(3) identify what’s holding you back and how you can get around it.

Psycho-Cybernetics: Updated and Expanded
  • Psycho Cybernetics Updated and Expanded

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Once you realize that you always skip your after-work run if you stop at home after leaving the office, then you know what you need to do.

Go straight to the workout. Home will still be there after you’ve done what you’re supposed to do.

need motivation to work out

4. Find Your Team

There’s really nothing like a strong and supportive community to encourage and motivate a person.

The feeling of esprit de corps cannot be underestimated.

Surround yourself with people who are dedicated to the same goals as you, and who make you feel better about yourself by being around them.

In time, going to the gym means that you get to spend time with people like you who are consistently finding motivation to work out and support your fitness goals.

Use these four scientific ways so you can not only reach your goals, but actually be able to inspire others around you.