by Rachel Gore

Tomorrow’s the day. You’re finally going do that morning workout before heading into the office, just like you’ve always wanted. You set an alarm for 7 a.m., convinced that you are truly committed to a new fitness schedule. When the morning comes, however, you can’t resist the urge to stay in bed, so you groggily hit snooze and convince yourself that you need the extra sleep: “you know what, I’ll just start tomorrow.”
Does this sound familiar? Unfortunately, not all of us start with enough motivation to wake up early, work out consistently, then start the day off with a healthy breakfast (all before even getting ready for work). Instead, waking up early to exercise feels like the hardest part of the day. While some people are happy to stick with their evening workout routines, others wish they could motivate themselves to do it in the morning but don’t know how to begin.
Here are a few tips on motivating yourself to finally get started:

Find an accountability buddy.
Even if you’ve planned a whole week’s worth of morning workouts, the mental barriers are very real, especially if you’re sleepy. If that’s the case for you, putting another plan in place to hold yourself accountable may be the push you need to get started. While a real-world workout buddy is ideal, some don’t know anyone who will commit. An alternative option is one of the many websites that match you with a virtual fitness motivation buddy. When there’s someone else out there keeping track of you (while you do the same for them), you will feel more inclined to pull yourself out of bed in the morning.

Prepare the night before.
Make sure you don’t have any decisions to make in the morning. Lay out your gym clothes the night before, decide whether or not you want to eat something before hand—maybe just something small like a banana—and know exactly what your workout will consist of. If that doesn’t work, consider putting on your gym clothes the night before.

Make a list of the reasons you want it.
Taking the time to sit and write down why you want to start a morning fitness regime can serve as a source of inspiration when you feel like calling it quits. You can keep the list on your phone, near your bed or even written out and taped to the wall. There are an abundance of reasons you can include on your list, such as being able to relax without worrying about exercise after work, sleeping better at night and decreasing food consumption throughout the day (all of which have been associated with regular morning exercise).

Pick something enjoyable.
Do you hate running? Then don’t! Forcing yourself to do an exercise you hate is going to make it that much harder to commit. Maybe you like to dance, do yoga, or swim. Maybe you don’t want it to feel like exercise at all. In that case, try something more moderate. Taking your dog on a walk or spending the morning tending to your garden are both moderate forms of exercise that can provide you with many of the same benefits as more intense workouts.

Ease into it.
While you may be eager to reach your fitness goals, remember that you don’t need to throw yourself into it all at once. If getting up in the morning has always been difficult for you, try committing to one or two days a week to begin. By slowly implementing it into your routine and adding on a little bit at a time, the transition into a more active lifestyle won’t feel so dramatic and overwhelming.
As exercise becomes a regular part of your morning routine and you conquer your mental barriers, it truly will become easier. Every journey begins with a single step. When will you take yours?