I'm always trying to find different ways to exercise (currently playing lots of Wii - that counts, right?) but I find the problem of after a few weeks to a month I lose motivation, get distracted and move on to something else.

Does anyone have any tips or idea on how to keep motivated?

  • 2
    Take breaks. As long as you trust yourself to get back into it. I don't really fit the demographic of somebody who has ever lost a lot of weight because I've never gained a lot. My usual pattern is 6-9 months working out then 3-6 off (if you start in relatively good shape, after about 4 months you stop seeing results and workouts become maintenance). The results go a long way to motivate me so I take breaks. Commented Mar 20, 2011 at 20:24

5 Answers 5


Looking in the mirror is a pretty good way.

I also got a great motivation boost, when I received much more attention from ladies after losing 10kg.

  • 4
    +1 for looking in the mirror and seeing results...nothing motivates more than positive gain!
    – KJYe.Name
    Commented Mar 2, 2011 at 2:14
  • 2
    I use the mirror and how clothes fit as my gauge too. I'm pretty dense so people are always surprised by my weight.
    – Rhea
    Commented Mar 23, 2011 at 14:35

It usually comes down to a personal preference, but this is what worked for me.

  1. Start doing a sport that involves continual learning of a skill.

    It can be a team sport, or a martial art, if you don't want/don't have the opportunity to do team sports. I get bored very easily by repetitive exercises like running or swimming, but getting into Muay Thai and boxing kept me going for a few years so far.

  2. Exercise in a group, or with a partner.

    Don't underestimate this one. Your ability to push yourself increases if there are other people, who train with you. In the gym where I go, people are paired up in class: one is holding the pads/mits for a round, another one is doing the drill for a round, then swap. I, for one, have a much higher slack-off rate if I'm training alone.

  • +1 for group or partner. They can motivate you when you dont feel like working out and vice versa.
    – SwDevMan81
    Commented Mar 2, 2011 at 1:52
  • +1 for starting a sport. It gives you goals and feedback. Helps you to feel successful when your fitness levels improve.
    – Josh G
    Commented Apr 7, 2011 at 20:47

Set yourself goals

Because they give you something to focus on, you can measure if you're making progress towards it and it can be very gratifying to accomplish them!

For example when running I'm using MiCoach from Adidas, though any performance monitoring gadget will do. It allows me to keep track of my progress and see how well I sticked to my workout.

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It also keeps track of overall statistics and gives 'achievements' when you hit a certain milestone. But off course, you can use several metrics to keep you motivated:

  • try to run longer,
  • try to run faster,
  • lift more weights,
  • do more repetitions.

Just measuring your exercise and using it to set goals can be a great motivator, especially when you can't exercise in a group! But off course, this isn't suited for everyone. You need intrinsic motivation to keep this up. Otherwise, I agree with the rest: go run in groups!


One tip I've heard about is to reward yourself, but not in an unhealthy way of course. Things like letting yourself hang out with friends only if you follow your excercise schedule, or going to see a movie in the weekend.

Also, try telling your friends and relatives about your goal. The social pressure might persuade you to keep excercising.

  • I used to be very close-lipped about my goals but by being open about them, you really hold yourself accountable and I believe your possibility for success greatly increases.
    – Rhea
    Commented Mar 23, 2011 at 14:37

Every now and then I read this article by Henry Rollins. I actually printed part of it out and taped it in my living room. "The Iron Never Lies"

Also, I think setting realistic goals and watching you progress towards them is huge.

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