Economists and psychologists have been studying how to crack the code of what compels us to repeatedly do something we don’t always want to do. Here is a strategy to boost your workout motivation. Give Yourself a Real Reward!
Sure, some people might be motivated by vague goals such as “better health” or “weight control.” But if that’s not doing it for you, make the benefits of working out more tangible, such as by treating yourself to a smoothie.
Creating a neurological “habit loop,” which involves a cue to trigger the behavior (setting out your spinning shoes next to your bag), the routine (making it through spinning class) and then the reward. “An extrinsic reward is so powerful because your brain can latch on to it and make the link that the behavior is worthwhile,” he explains. “It increases the odds the routine becomes a habit.”
Over time, the motivation becomes intrinsic, as the brain begins to associate sweat and pain with the surge of endorphins — those feel-good chemicals released in the brain that are responsible for that “I-feel-freaking-amazing” rush you get after a great gym session. Once you’ve trained your brain to recognize that the workout itself is the reward, you won’t even want the treat.