Emotional Payoff: The Best Source of Motivation for Exercising Daily

Emotional Payoff Exercise Motivation That Works

I tried a running habit before. I soon learned that my best workout routine is a mix of strength training and cardio.

But whatever I’m doing, I still ensure I have a form of exercise per day. The key is to focus on having an emotional payoff.

This is what makes it easier to be consistent with your exercise. By doing something small each day that made you feel good. Even when things get tough and busy.

What motivated me the most about the experience was that, at first, I used to get excited about the idea of finishing my day’s workout. Then, sometimes, I just won’t feel like doing it.

But eventually, what made me truly consistent was when I started to feel good about reaching my daily goal. Nowadays, it’s either cardio day or strength training day.

And if I can’t do both because I’m busy with something else? Then I go for a 30-minute walk.

Even when I’ve been sitting all day and I don’t feel like taking that walk — I do it. And I always feel better afterward.

That’s the key.

Know your why

Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. That will ensure it will be sustainable for you. And that it will be worth it.

If you’re exercising for superficial reasons, you likely won’t hit your goal. Because your “why” may be the only thing pulling you towards action when you don’t feel like it.

Remember that you’re doing all this for yourself. Epictetus said it well:

“How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?”

What Epictetus meant was that if we wanted to live our best lives, we should also be in the best versions of ourselves. We can’t make the most of life if we are physically weak.

If you’re healthy enough to be reading this article, that means you’re lucky. Because not all can do that. Leverage this blessing. And go after your goals.

Rely on internal (not external) competition

Forget about keeping up with the “fit-fluencers.” Or those ripped folks at the gym. This isn’t their journey. It’s yours. Make it a game of you against you. Make competing against yourself a huge motivator. Not competing against others.

Why is this effective?

Because internal competition ensures you’re measuring yourself against a practical benchmark. Here’s the thing: Social media has made it easier for us to compare ourselves with others. But it’s best if you avoid falling for that.

Constantly comparing ourselves to others may just discourage us. So instead, focus on yourself.

  • When did you last have a run or cardio workout? If it’s been too long, then start slow. Maybe take short, daily walks for a week. Then transition to jogging. Then running. It’s all about slow, consistent growth.
  • How about strength training? How often do you hit the gym? If you’ve been pretty regular, then you already how much weight you can sustainably lift and what exercises are a good fit for you. If not, then it’s time to learn.

Relying on internal competition allows us to personalize our journey and tailor-fit our exercise routine to suit us best. That’s not something we can do when we’re constantly trying to fit someone else’s standards or expectations.

You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish

The biggest realization you’ll likely have would be this: You CAN do hard things. And when you want to live an easy life — you always need to do hard things.

Daily habits are potent. Repetition etches it into our brains. And it becomes second nature for us. Marcus Aurelius said it well:

“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”

Every minute you spend dedicated to your goal makes it easier for you to do it again the next day.

So show up. Put in the work. Above all, permit yourself to be proud of doing the hard things.

Read Next: