Do you know how to get motivated for fitness? For some people, it’s easy – they simply love working out, so there’s never the need to do anything to get themselves in the mood, they are always ready.

For most people, however, knowing how to get motivated for fitness is vital if their New Year’s resolutions are to last more than just a few weeks. Simply saying you want to get in shape is typically not enough – unless you can change the way you think you will always find it a struggle to get yourself off the couch and out the door to the gym.

Understanding how to get motivated for fitness involves knowing a little bit about how the human brain works. One of the most important steps towards achieving any goal is thinking positively about it – unfortunately, most of us are very good at telling ourselves why we can’t do things, but poor at being our own cheerleaders.

When we set out do something like get in shape, we undermine ourselves the whole time by listening to that nagging little voice in the back of our head that says things like “I hate exercise”, “I always fail when I try to work out,” or “this is too hard, I can’t do it.”

The answer to this? You have to consciously change the thoughts that run around your brain – you do this by coming up with some positive statements to replace the old, negative ones that are holding you back. What’s great is that you don’t actually have to believe them to start with – as long as you keep saying them, your brain will believe you and work to make it happen.

So if, for example, you tell yourself “I enjoy exercise, it makes me feel good”, you will actually start finding your workouts easier. And instead of saying “I always fail when I try to work out,” why not tell yourself “I am fit and healthy.” It doesn’t have to be true yet, but if you say it often enough, your brain will make you behave in ways that help to make it come true.

The other trick is to set goals. The brain loves goals, targets to aim towards. In business, many people use SMART goals to help them achieve their targets. SMART goals are:

S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Reward-based
T = Time-oriented

Fitness goals can be things like doing 10 push-ups by a certain date, running a 10K race, or maybe improving the weights you lift in the gym. If you keep track of your progress by keeping a written log of your training you’ll always know where you are.

Changing your thinking in this way won’t provide overnight results, but if you set clear goals, and say your positive statements four or five times a day for several weeks, you will start to trick your brain into acting like a strong, fit, healthy person. And what does a strong, fit, healthy person do? They work out, regularly.

Why not give it a try? You have nothing to lose but that extra fat carrying around!

Original article appeared on NetFit