Motivation is the drive that pushes us to interact and participate with the world. Whether it is material or abstract, motivation gives us a reason to do everything. Before you even think about starting an exercise routine, you need to ask yourself why. "Why am I exercising?" If the answer is good, you will have a solid foundation from where to to start an exercise routine.
Motivation includes both long and short term reasons to help you accomplish your goals. The long term ones are easy to come by. Exercise makes you: look better, stronger, happier, more independent and healthier.
Short term motivation is a lot harder to come up with. Everyone wants to be healthy and look better but the only way to get there is through daily actions - exercising now. It is easy to say, "I want a beach body" (long term motivation) but harder to come up with a reason to go to the gym right now (short term motivation).
Long term motivation is what you use to start an exercise routine. You can think of these as goals. Exercising decreases body fat percentage which makes you look good and healthy. It can prevent and reverse obesity which is linked to diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Both of these conditions can be treated in part with exercise. With all these benefits, why doesn't everyone have a lifestyle high in physical activity? It is because no one can get the motivation to move right now. "I will do it tomorrow."
Short term motivation is what gets us to move off of the couch and into the gym. This is a lot harder because it requires us to actually do work instead of just dreaming about the perfect body. What motivates is different for everyone. You can try: hiring a personal trainer, working out with a friend or writing your goals down.
Personal trainers are motivation for some people. It is the most expensive route but it can also be the most effective. In exchange for your money, a trainer will make a routine and push you to exercise hard. It will help you get out of the house easier because you have appointments which you cannot miss (if you don't want to waste money).
Working out with a friend can help you get on a regular schedule. If you're comfortable on your sofa watching TV but know your friend will be waiting for you at the gym in 30 minutes, will you go? Now think about if you had no one waiting for you. Exercise is a lot easier to blow off when no one is counting on you to show up.
Writing down your goals can help imprint them into your head. If you want to lose 10 pounds this month, write it down and keep track of your weekly progress. Seeing yourself not making any progress can motivate you to start working harder. You can also keep track of your exercise in a journal. Write down how long it takes to run a mile or how much you can bench press. Write everything down and use it to push yourself harder during your next workout.
The Bottom Line
Short term motivation is usually only an issue when you start out. It is hard to break a habit of exercising everyday after you have done it for awhile. The first few months can be tough to start something new but if you hang in there you will be able to achieve your goals of getting stronger, healthier and looking better.