17 Exercise Tips and Tricks So You Can Step Up Your Workout and Stay Motivated All Year Long

A new year means a new start — and a new gym membership, new workout clothes, and a new healthy attitude so that you can motivate yourself to exercise. No matter how cliche it may be, starting a new exercise routine is always something that can benefit you… as long as you actually, you know, follow it. It takes a while for your brain to realize that a really good sweat session is more satisfying than an hour of binge-watching your favorite TV show (no, seriously), and until that happens, you will probably find that your motivation can be somewhat lacking.

I would never pretend that exercise is easy, because it isn’t. It can be really hard to get yourself in the frame of mind to work out on a regular basis. It’s hard to make time for workouts in between everything else you have to do, and it’s really hard to push through physically exhausting hurdles when you’re already exhausted from work. But it’s not impossible! These exercise tips and tricks will help make your workout seem just a little bit easier… for the month of January, and the months after that. Good luck — you can totally do this!

1. Start slow, doing only 15 minutes each time. 

Eventually, you'll want to start pushing yourself, and longer workouts will just happen naturally. 

2. Try exercise that is actually interesting to you, rather than something boring like the treadmill. 

There are so many other things you can do besides just doing the treadmill or elliptical. Find what works for you. 

3. Work out at the same time every day. 

Establishing a habit and routine is the best way to stick to something. If you exercise at a different time every day, you're never going to really get used to anything specific. 

4. Every time you work out, put a dollar in a jar. 

You'll accumulate more money than you think, and at the end of a certain amount of time, you should use that money to buy something you want as a reward. 

5. Write motivational sayings on sticky notes, then post them all over in places you'll see them. 

It might sound a little cheesy, but when you're feeling unmotivated and you see one of these, it should give you a boost. 

6. If you want to work out in the morning, lay all of your clothes and accessories out where you'll see them when you wake up. 

It will be harder to make excuses that way. 

7. Set an alarm no matter what time you want to exercise — set five or six of them for every two minutes. 

You might blow off the first one, but after the fourth or fifth, you'll feel too guilty to ignore it. 

8. Use motivational jars filled with marbles: one to show how many goals you want to reach, and one to show how many goals you've already accomplished.

Showing yourself your progress in this way is exciting and sort of fun. 

9. Schedule your workouts in your phone, planner and/or calendar like you would any other appointment. 

If you just vaguely decide to work out, you're more likely not to do it. 

10. Leave all of your workout stuff in one place all the time so it's easy to find. 

That way you can't make excuses like, "Ugh, I couldn't find my sneakers." 

11. Make a daily workout jar filled with different activities and pick new things from it each time you exercise. 

This will make things a little bit more interesting. 

12. Take inspiration photos so you can really see your progress. 

It's hard to see your progress just looking in the mirror each day. Inspiration photos will surprise you. 

13. Tell other people about your workouts.

It's harder to cancel a workout if someone else knows you're supposed to do it.

14. Combine exercise with something else that you like. 

If you can only go on the treadmill or elliptical or something like that, use that time to read a book or watch TV shows or movies. 

15. Create an Instagram page just for fitness.

Follow a few fitness pages and look at them regularly. Seeing other people's progress and inspirational quotes will inspire you. 

16. Give yourself a day off on specific days each week. 

You need breaks! If you have them scheduled, you'll develop a routine and habit. 

17. Compete with yourself by using something like a Polar watch. 

This surprisingly makes your workouts more exciting. 

Image credits: Fotolia; Giphy.com

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