Identify the right ‘why’ behind your exercise routine


  1. Consider your history with exercise.
    Take a moment to consider all the messages you’ve ever received about exercise from your immediate environment. For example, ask yourself: Who was physically active in my family? What was I told about the ‘right’ way to exercise? What adjectives come to mind to describe the images of people exercising I’ve seen in the media? How have these images made me feel about myself? How do I feel about exercising?  Use your answers as a basis to figure out what exercise means to you.

  2. Think about why you started exercising.
    Take a moment to consider why you started exercising, either currently or at some time in your past. For example, complete this sentence: “Most of the time, my primary reason to begin exercising regularly has been because I wanted to …” Identify whether you’re primary reason is external (I want to lose 10 pounds) or intrinsic (I enjoy morning runs). An intrinsic factor will motivate you more than an external one.

  3. Rate how you feel about exercise.
    Write down the numbers 1 to 5 on paper, where 1 represents a chore while 5 represents a gift. Then ask yourself, “What does exercise feel like to me — is it a chore I must do or a gift I can’t wait to open? Then circle the number that best describes how you feel about exercise.

  4. Identify a ‘why’ that is real and meaningful to your daily life.
    Create two columns on a sheet of paper. Label column 1 as “Physical movement can enhance…” and column 2 as “Physical movement can decrease….” Under column 1, list all the attributes in your life that exercise can boost, such as energy, mood, sex life, productivity, sleep, etc. Under column 2, list all the attributes that exercise can reduce, for example, stress, anxiety, PMS, low self-esteem, depression, etc. Then put a checkmark against the main attributes you want to enhance and decrease. Use these as your primary reasons for engaging in more physical activity.


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