Being physically active has an abundance of benefits, including better mental and emotional health, increased physical health, better mood, and a better physical appearance. While many people know about the benefits of general fitness, getting started on your own fitness journey can seem like a daunting task—which is why we’ve put together this list of practical, motivational tips to help kickstart your fitness journey.

Create a vision board

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Seeing inspirational images and quotes can help you feel motivated and stay on track. When you’re looking for that extra nudge to get you started, consider a vision board. A vision board is a visual aid that’s made of goal-related images and words. Many fitness vision boards include motivational quotes, pictures of fitness influencers, pictures of healthy foods, and images of physical activities and sports. You can also include images of inspiring gear, like decorative ankle weights or gym bags. That said, fitness vision boards don’t have to be all about images and quotes, either: your vision board may include elements such as meal plans, schedules, measurements, fitness tips, and more. There’s no certain way a vision board should look, and your board should be tailored to you and your specific goals. Remember that your vision board is for you and you alone, so fill it with whatever inspires and motivates you!

Set goals for yourself

Setting goals for yourself is a simple yet highly effective method of motivation. When you know what you’re working towards, it can help you get pumped for the workout that’s to come. There are two important elements to keep in mind when setting goals for yourself: specificity and realism. Being specific about your goals can help eliminate the grey area of what you’re working toward. Since vague, non-descriptive goals can make it difficult to measure whether you’re on the right path or not, it’s a good idea to specify what your goals are and when you want to reach them. Realism is another important goal-making element you’ll want to keep in mind. If your goals are unrealistic or unobtainable within your time frame, you’re not setting yourself up for success. Not achieving your goals due to unrealistic expectations can lead to avoidable disappointment and demotivation. Instead of biting off more than you can chew, assess where you are before creating your fitness goals. Here’s an example: if you’ve never worked out before, creating a goal such as ‘walk 30 minutes a day for one week’ is more specific and realistic than something like ‘lose 20 pounds.’

Find the fitness style that inspires you

If jumping jacks don’t excite you, you’re not alone! There are many different styles and forms of fitness, and the best way to reap the benefits of your fitness routine is to choose a routine that you genuinely enjoy. While numerous people know of common cardio exercises such as running or cycling, there are other tons of great cardiovascular exercises, including swimming, dancing, yoga, Pilates, rock climbing, and much more! Not into cardio? Not a problem! Give weight training a try. If you’re someone who likes to be in the gym during your workout, find your favorite machine or lap pool. If you prefer to be at home, carve out a comfortable space for you and your workouts. Your fitness journey isn’t about conforming to normative methods of exercise but rather indulging in the exercises that help you enjoy fitness.

Get gear that gets you going

Dressing up (or down) in your favorite workout gear is a great way to get you motivated! Regardless of where you are in your fitness journey or how you’re feeling about your physical looks, the right workout clothes can actually make you feel more excited to engage in your workout. If you’re someone who loves bright patterns and colors, opt for clothes, shoes, and accessories that light up your workout space. Accessories and gear can include yoga mats, dumbbells, jump ropes, and your gym bag. If you’re fond of how a certain part of your body looks, go for outfits that accentuate those body parts. Not feeling confident? That’s okay! Put on your favorite comfortable outfit, and spend some time in the mirror, reminding yourself that you are strong, attractive, and worthy. When picking out workout clothing, try to look for sweat-wicking fabric and opt for washer-friendly gear for an easy post-workout cleanup.

Envision your future self

Have you always had a great imagination? If you answered yes, this tip is for you. Something as simple as envisioning a healthier and happier you can help you find the motivation you need to start your fitness journey. While your imagination may not be tangible, the strong desire to become that future self can act as a huge motivator. Also, because your imagination is mental instead of physical, it’s a great way to kick that mentally-driven lack of motivation. The best part? Since this method of fitness motivation doesn’t cost a dime, it’s a great way to get you moving without having to go to a store (or even leave the house)! Remember to think about the best version of yourself, and never compare yourself to others. Idolizing others and comparing yourself to others can lead to unrealistic expectations and self-esteem issues. If you tend to compare yourself to your favorite fitness-inspiration figures, combat those unhealthy body comparisons by imagining your own best features becoming even better.

Remember why you’re here

We all have different reasons for wanting to start our fitness journey. Whatever your reason may be, it is valid and important. You can use that same reason for starting your fitness journey as a sort of motivational tool. For example, if you’re working out to be a healthier parent, use the strong love for your children as fuel to kickstart your journey. If you’re starting your new fitness routine for aesthetic purposes, imagine yourself in your dream outfit. If you’ve been feeling down, remember that improving your fitness can help you have a better mood.

Staying motivated


If you’ve started your fitness journey, you already have a good reason to pat yourself on the back! However, we sometimes lose steam or motivation amidst our fitness journeys. A lack of motivation combined with a change in your fitness routine may lead to total burnout—in other words, your fitness journey comes to a halt. Instead of ending up back at square one, try these exercise motivation tips that will keep you on your toes when you’re feeling under the weather:

Focus on the positive

Your fitness journey won’t be all sunshine and rainbows; some days are harder than others. More likely than not, you’ll experience soreness, tiredness, and frustration at some points. It’s completely natural to feel any of those things during your fitness journey. To keep yourself in good spirits, try to focus on the positive side of fitness. Fill your mind with thoughts of how your health will improve, how you’ll look better, and how you’ll feel better. Feeling sore? Remember that soreness means you’re building muscle and therefore becoming healthier. Frustrated you don’t look a certain way? Remind yourself you have always been beautiful. Surround yourself with positive people to encourage your own positive thought processes. Try to spend less time with those who don’t support your fitness journey and people who constantly vocalize their negative thoughts.

Slow your roll

It’s important to start small and progress slowly to prevent burnout or injury during your fitness journey. If you try to do too much at once, it’s easy to overload your body both physically and mentally. Progressing slowly allows you to regularly assess where you are and the right pacing for you and your fitness routine. If you’re having a bad day, remember that it’s perfectly alright to allow yourself a rest day. If you find yourself having to take more rest days or breaks than your schedule allowed initially, don’t be afraid to reassess and edit your workout schedule. Your mental and physical health are related; it’s better to slow down and allow yourself a break, as opposed to stressing yourself out to the point of giving up.

Celebrate every win

Whenever you accomplish something related to your fitness journey, it’s important to recognize and reward yourself! No matter how big or small, every accomplishment is a ‘win’ and should be used as a motivational push to continue your great work. Tailor your rewards to things you like; if you’re a big gym buff, consider rewarding yourself with a new or customized gym bag. If you love taking classes, perhaps you can reward yourself with a pass to a fitness exercise class. Naturally, you don’t want to compromise your workout successes with poor eating, but a little dark chocolate never hurts anyone!

Consider a workout buddy

Having a workout buddy can be a great way to keep yourself—and your workout buddy—inspired and motivated! You and your workout partner can hold each other accountable, give fitness tips, and help each other up when you’re feeling down. If you want to work out with multiple buddies at once, consider joining a large workout fitness class. You can also start your fitness journey with a close friend with similar goals.

Get help from a professional

Need help with motivation? Our therapists are here for you

If you’re still experiencing a lack of motivation or just feel you’d do better with external help, don’t be afraid to reach out. A qualified fitness expert, such as a fitness trainer, will be able to guide you along your fitness journey. Sometimes, the problem is more mental than physical. If you think you’re experiencing a mental block or you have a severe or chronic lack of motivation, the licensed mental health professionals at Regain may be able to help you overcome your problems.


Regardless of which of these motivational fitness tips you choose to implement, getting started on your fitness journey is always worth it. Get started on your fitness journey today and experience a better you!