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Get off your ass: how to motivate yourself

I’m constantly finding myself in situations where I’m sitting at the computer and I get struck with the urge to work out. But then I overthink everything.

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By Catherine Stewart (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: September 10, 2014

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I’m constantly finding myself in situations where I’m sitting at the computer and I get struck with the urge to work out. But then I overthink everything. I think about what time it is, if it’ll be dark by the time I get outside, or if my exercise clothes are clean (let’s be honest, they’ve been untouched for far too long).

After thinking for so long, I then start to imagine all the exercises I’d end up forcing myself to do. I’d work on cardio and be stuck on a treadmill for an hour, when instead I could be on the computer for an hour actually enjoying myself.

By the time my debate with myself has ended, I choose to stay on the computer doing nothing. Hey, at least thinking about exercise counts a little, right?

Wrong. Lack of motivation is one of the most used excuses made by Canadians every day. Funny how we’re also pretty high up on the list of heaviest nations.

Getting motivated to start exercising is tough. It usually takes something drastic. However, if you set small goals for yourself and, to quote Nike, “just do it,” then you have no time for excuses. You’d already be done your workout by the time you decided to not go to the gym.

Rebecca Woll, manager of personal training at Equinox in New York City, says that in just six weeks, you start to see results in your body, and that makes you never want to go back to the way you were.

I also heard that after eight weeks, your close friends and relatives start to notice a change in your appearance. But then after 12 weeks of your spicy new workout regime, the whole world can now tell that something new is going on with you  — and that it’s looking good.

Many people have had bad experiences with exercising. Trust me — I was forced into gym class too. But the best part about being an adult is making your own decisions. If you found you didn’t enjoy that one experience at the gym because of the spinning class you took, try Zumba out! Try out all sorts of things until you find something you enjoy — even if it’s water aerobics and you’re surrounded by wrinkles and arm flab.

You know yourself better than I do, and if you think you’d need someone on the outside to motivate you, call up a good friend and lay it all out for them. Ask them to remind you to go to the gym or do Just Dance for 30 minutes. (Bonus points if you send them a selfie mid-workout for evidence, sweat stains and all.)

Set little goals and rewards for yourself after each workout. You might even have to buy fancy new gear in order to get in the mood. Remember to make exercising fun and try to remind yourself of that glorious ache in your legs after a day of cardio.

Whatever it may be, find something that motivates you and stick with it. I’m not saying it will be easy, but I am saying that you’ll be looking your best by the time the new year comes around.

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