Living a healthy lifestyle is one of those conversations people dread talking about. Our first thoughts are often, “I can’t eat what I want” or “I have to run for hours.” This really isn’t the case. Having a healthy mind and body doesn’t require starving or overworking yourself. Establishing clear motivators and defining what is stopping you will lead to creating a better relationship with the gym.

Staying on track with a healthy lifestyle is easier said than done. To continue on the road to self-improvement, it is essential to remain motivated. First, identify why it is you are working out in the first place. For me, I do NOT exercise because I hate my body; I exercise because I love it. I wish to obtain an active lifestyle in order to enjoy all of life’s benefits.

Start by writing out every reason why you want to stay active—and it may be reasons beyond what you desire. For example, it may be for your children, or maybe you know someone close to you who is unable to stay active due to injury. Make it a priority to work out for them each time you walk into the gym.

Many of us don’t have these outside motivators. If you’re one of these people, then try to think of reasons that pertain to you. For example, did you have a rough day at work? Or maybe you just need some 'me' time. Going to the gym might be exactly what you’re needing to reduce stress and keep peace within yourself.

Motivation is the key to consistently attending to your body's needs and giving it the activity it desires. Try writing down why you must attend the gym daily and hang them up where you know you will see them. By forcing yourself to view your goals, it will be almost impossible to ignore your body. Visible motivation will keep you on a regular gym schedule and remind you why you started in the first place.

Now that your motivators are set and clear, we need to analyze why we may not be attending the gym as well. Write out a list of excuses that you make, may make, or have made in the past to skip the gym each day to identify where you can change your mindset. If you identify your excuses, you can determine what your mind is actually telling you by making such excuses. My list consists of:

“I'm too busy today”

This one is one of my most common excuses, but the truth is, we make time for what’s important—and what’s more important than your health? You make time for friends, T.V. shows, and so on. Saying you’re too busy to hit the gym translates to: your body isn’t important to you.

Not every workout needs to be an hour or more in length; a short 30-minute cardio or lift session is sufficient and is better than doing nothing at all. Don’t let your mind trick you into thinking that each workout needs to be hours in length.

“I already walked a lot today”

Another excuse used to avoid putting your time in at the gym. It’s totally acceptable to count your steps, but using it to justify skipping a workout is only limiting yourself. Push yourself to be the best you and hit the gym even if you’ve hit your step count for the day.

“I am too tired”

This is an excuse that crosses my mind daily to avoid the gym. One thing we need to understand is that much like money, you have to spend some to make some. That means by going to the gym and exercising, you are actually creating energy that is stored for later. Being too tired is a terrible excuse because exercising helps wake you up and provides more than you started with.

Not only does it improve your energy throughout the day, it improves your mood as well. If you’re “too tired” or not feeling up to it, just remember that hitting the gym only increases your chance of having a better day.

These are just some of the excuses that I can make on a regular basis; and of course, there are so many more that I encounter. By identifying what you are really saying, my hope is that this will help your presence at the gym become more persistent. If you think of the excuses as “my body is not a priority,” instead of “I have no time,” you wouldn’t use that excuse as regularly. I challenge you to try these simple tricks and tips to keep a healthy mindset and body.