CLICK TO ENLARGE
How do I motivate myself to exercise?
1. Map out protected time every day: this negates the time-wasting I-have-too-much-to-do excuse and resistance. Failure to schedule exercise = recipe for failure.
2. Start with a reasonable, even easy protocol. Keep is short (20-30) minutes at first. Only add to it after 3 successful weeks.
3. Realize that doing anything is better than doing no exercise. If you're too tired at the 10 minute mark at least you did something that day.
4. Don't fill your head with lofty and unrealistic goals. Have one goal only: do it. Unlike what many self-help and fitness gurus seem to suggest, the goal is not to be a certain weight or have a certain appearance. Those things will slowly develop with time at their own pace as you stick to a routine. The one goal is to do it. That's all. Think of nothing else.
5. The more you think and negotiate with yourself the less chance of actually "doing it". Once you start thinking and rationalizing you're already headed for failure. Forget it all and just blindly but safely work the exercise routine.
6. Never compare yourself to others when exercising: if you fare better you'll get lax and if you fare worse you'll get discouraged.
7. Disconnect Diet and exercise: though connected by the bond of 'good health' really , from a motivational standpoint these two have nothing to do with one another. Exercising more, for instance because you've overindulged on food recently, will just promote discouragement. Diet is a separate matter. Once you start thinking diet you've got another route upon which the mind can build rationalizations. (eg. My diet's been good so I'll skip my exercise today." or vice versa, extra exercise with extra food.).
8. Consult an exercise professional to help develop an initial reasonable exercise routine that is in line with your abilities.
9. Don't rely on professionals or other people to actually motivate you to exercise. If they're unavailable you'll rationalize skipping.
10. Incorporate getting outdoors once a day besides going to work, no matter what exercise routine you set up. Just the act of getting outside gets the "motivation juices" flowing and establishes some momentum. Even muted sunlight of cloudy nordic days contains enough UV just on your exposed face to convert inactive pre-vitamin-D to its active form.