Finding motivation can be the greatest challenge when it comes to fitness. Let’s be honest, it’s not exciting to wake up to a screaming alarm at 6 AM in order to hit the gym before a busy day at school or work. It may be even more difficult to find this motivation after a long day in the office or running around trying to accomplish the endless to-do lists we all seem to carry.

So, how do we get motivated?

This question is one that I have dealt with in the past and continue to struggle with. It would be great if the answer were simple and if the remedy for lack of motivation could be the same for everyone. However, there is not a single answer that works for every person.

I’m going to explain a few of the motivational techniques I use in order to stay active.

My first tip is to establish a routine. We are more likely to do something every day if we build it into our schedule and allow it to become part of our daily activities. At first, incorporating a workout routine into the day-to-day madness may seem a bit overwhelming, but once established, the routine will become easier. The first week or two may be challenging, especially if it means waking up an hour earlier, or pushing through the exhaustion of a long day. However, once you have established a rhythm, the routine will become simpler.

My second tip for finding motivation is to mix up your activities. There are a variety of workouts that allow you to get your heart rate up and your body moving. I suggest writing out a plan for your week. Set specific workout routines for each day, making sure to vary the activities. For example, I enjoy starting my week with a distance run, followed by different types workouts throughout the week. You could try yoga, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), sprinting, lifting, etc.

Third, find a buddy. It is easier to find the motivation to workout when we know someone is holding us accountable. We are less likely to hit snooze or flop down on the couch after a long day if we know someone is expecting us to show up and work hard. Working out with a partner can also help to increase performance. It is beneficial to have a fitness partner who will both push you and encourage you. Plus, working out with a friend can change the entire attitude we have toward our workout. A friend may help build your confidence, encourage you when you want to quit, or just make you laugh.

Fourth: music, music, music. I’m all about the playlists. Try mixing up your music to suit the type of workout you are doing. For example, when I trail run, I really enjoy listening to music with colorful instrumentals, such as Sleeping at Last or Cinematic Orchestra. You can try making a playlist with a variety of genres and artists, or use premade playlists. Just as I would recommend mixing up your activities, I would also recommend mixing up your music in order to help you stay focused and keep your workouts from becoming mundane.

Last, but certainly not least, focus on the outcome. Keep pushing yourself to run the extra mile, to lift another rep, to sprint just a little faster, because you are strong! Remember that hard work does pay off and that you are capable of much more than you realize. Do not allow yourself to get discouraged by an off-day. We all have those workouts where we feel tired, fatigued, or just unmotivated. That’s okay. Just remember to stay focused on your accomplishments, rather than the workouts that feel discouraging.

Keep pushing yourself, be confident, and stay motivated!