How to Motivate Yourself to Go to the Gym

A gym membership is a great way to give yourself access to high-quality fitness equipment, classes, and trainers. However, many people who have gym memberships do not use them regularly. If you are trying to motivate yourself to go to the gym more often, there are several strategies you can try, such as rewarding yourself, connecting with people at your gym, and keeping your gym bag somewhere convenient.

EditUsing Material Incentives to Stay Motivated
Purchase an audiobook that you commit to listen to only at the gym. Research has shown that only being able to listen to an audiobook while at the gym motivates people to go to the gym more often. Choose an audiobook that you are very interested in listening to so that this will actually motivate you.[1]
If audiobooks aren’t your thing, then try making a list of movies you want to watch and only allow yourself to watch them while you are working out, such as while walking on the treadmill or using the elliptical machine.

You may also consider making a gym-only music playlist. Create a playlist of your favorite songs and commit to only listen to them during your gym workouts.

Another alternative to audiobooks is to find a podcast that you will only listen to at the gym. Choose upbeat tracks to help make your workout more fun.

Set up a reward system. Knowing that you have something that you are working towards may also help you to stay motivated to go to the gym. Take some time to establish rewards for going to the gym a certain number of times weekly and monthly.[2]
For example, you could reward yourself with a new nail polish or movie rental for going to the gym 5 times in 1 week. You could also reward yourself with a pedicure or a trip to the movie theater for hitting the gym 20 times in a month.

Choose rewards that will motivate you and commit to give them to yourself only if you meet your gym visit goals.

Calculate the cost of not going to the gym. Gym memberships are not cheap, so not using your membership is a waste of money. If losing money motivates you, then take some time to calculate how much money you will be losing by not going to the gym or not going often enough.[3]
For example, if your gym membership costs $60 per month, and you don’t go for a week, then you will be wasting $15. If you only go to the gym 2 times in a month, then it is like you are paying $30 per visit.

Pledge money that you will go to the gym or donate to charity. If the idea of losing a larger sum of money than you are spending on your gym membership sounds like it would motivate you, then try making a pledge that you will donate $100 dollars or more to charity if you don’t go to the gym a certain number of times in a month.[4]
For example, you could pledge to go to the gym 20 times in one month or donate $100 to your local animal shelter.

Or, if you think you’d be motivated if the money went to a cause you do not support, then you could pledge to give the money to that cause if you don’t meet your goal.

EditMaking Gym Visits a Positive Experience
Think about your biggest motivation to go to the gym. You may want to get fit to look better in your clothes, to feel more confident, or to improve your health, but these reasons may not be specific enough to motivate you. Instead of focusing on general reasons, try to come up with something very specific and personal to motivate you to go to the gym.[5]
For example, if you have a child, then your motivation might be something like, “I need to go to the gym regularly to be a good example to my son.” Or, you could go even further and say something like, “I want to walk my daughter down the aisle on her wedding day, so I am going to the gym today.”

You can also base your motivation on an upcoming special event. For example, you might say something like, “I want to look amazing at my 10 year high school reunion, so I need to go to the gym today.”

Set goals for yourself. Having a realistic fitness goal can be a great way to stay motivated to go to the gym regularly. Try setting a SMART goal that you can accomplish by going to the gym. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-based.[6]
For example, your goal could be to reduce your 5k time by 2 minutes by the end of the next month. This is a specific goal that is measurable and achievable. It is also something that you will clearly know when you have accomplished it (results-focused) and it has a deadline, so it is also time-based.

You could work toward this goal by running a 5k course on the treadmill at your gym 3 times per week.

Participate in exercise routines and classes that you enjoy. Working out will always seem like an unpleasant chore if you force yourself to do activities that you do not enjoy. Instead, find an activity that you enjoy doing to help make visiting the gym something you look forward to.
Try different classes at your gym, such as spinning, step aerobics, kickboxing, and high intensity interval training (HIIT). If you don’t like one class, then take a different one. Showing up a little early for class can help you make friends and feel more invested in your workouts.

Use different machines, such as the treadmill, step machine, stationary bike, and elliptical walker.

If your gym has a circuit training station, try it out to see if you like it.

Get to know the trainers and regulars at your gym. Taking some time to chat with the trainers and regulars at your gym is a good way to make going to the gym a more pleasant experience. It will also help to keep you accountable because if you stop showing up, people will notice. Try saying “hi” to the trainers and regulars you encounter each time you visit the gym. After a few visits, you might want to introduce yourself to the trainers and regulars.[7]
For example, if you encounter a regular or trainer on your way into the gym, say something like, “Hi! My name is Chris. I don’t really feel like being here today, but I am here! How are you doing today?”

You may also consider getting an accountability buddy. This can be someone you meet at the gym or a friend who also needs help sticking to their gym visits. Send each other texts throughout the week each time you go to the gym, or plan to meet the person at the gym a few times each week.

EditSetting Yourself Up to Go to the Gym
Get some comfortable workout clothes. Feeling good about the way you look may be an end goal of regular gym visits for you, but having some workout clothes that you like wearing now may help you achieve this goal. If you have been hitting the gym in old or uncomfortable clothes, buy yourself a few new items to wear to the gym.
For example, you could buy a new pair of leggings or shorts, a new workout t-shirt or tank top, and a comfortable new pair of running shoes.

Go to bed early to ensure that you will have enough energy to work out. Feeling tired is a major reason why some people skip the gym. To avoid feeling too tired to work out, force yourself to go to bed a little earlier than you normally do.[8] Even getting an extra 30 minutes of sleep may make the difference between feeling run down and feeling energized when you head to the gym.
For example, if you normally go to bed at 11:00pm, try going to bed at 10:00 or 10:30pm.

Keep your gym bag packed and ready. Setting yourself up to head to the gym at a moment’s notice may be good motivation. You will have less of an excuse to skip the gym if you are totally prepared to go. Pack your gym bag and stow it somewhere handy at all times.[9]
For example, if you like to go to the gym after work, then keep your gym bag in the trunk of your car or in your office at work. Make sure it is stocked with your workout clothes and shoes, a water bottle, a towel, and a snack.

If you want to hit the gym in the morning before you head to work, stow your gym bag right by your front door. Wear your gym clothes in the morning and stock your gym bag with a water bottle, toiletries, a towel, and a change of clothes for work.

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Today in History for 16th January 2019

Historical Events

1909 – British explorers David, Mawson and Mackay reach south magnetic pole as part of the Nimrod Expedition
1943 – -60°F (-51°C), Island Park Dam, Idaho (state record)
1976 – “Donny and Marie” [Osmond] musical variety show premieres on ABC TV
1981 – John Lennon releases “Woman” in UK
1988 – Czech dissident Václav Havel is arrested in Prague for taking part in demonstrations against the communist government
2013 – A four day occupation of an Algerian BP facility by Amenas militants begins, killing 48 hostages

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Famous Birthdays

1409 – René I of Naples (d. 1480)
1872 – Edward Gordon Craig, British modernist actor, director and theorist (On the art of theatre), born in Stevenage Hertfordshire, England (d. 1966)
1930 – Clarence Ray Allen, American murderer (d. 2006)
1931 – Johannes Rau, German politician (d. 2006)
1956 – Martin Jol, Dutch football manager
1969 – Chelan Kozak, Revelstoke BC, equestrian (Olympics 1996)

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Famous Deaths

308 – Marcellus I, Catholic Pope (-308), dies
1554 – Christiern Pedersen, Danish humanist (b. 1480)
1748 – Arnold Drakenborch, Dutch classical scholar (b. 1684)
1752 – Francis Blomefield, English topographer (History of Norfolk), dies at 46
1962 – Ivan Meštrović, Croatian sculptor and architect, dies at 78
1996 – Kaye Webb, publisher, dies at 81

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How to Cut Curly Hair in Layers

Adding layers to curly hair can make your hairdo springier and more vibrant. Cutting them yourself can save you a lot of money, but giving yourself a haircut can be intimidating. It’s not that hard, though, if you start with the right tools. Remember to cut curly hair while it’s dry so you can see the shape of your haircut as you go. Work slowly in sections to add layers that completely transform your look!

EditGetting Your Hair Ready to Be Cut
Find some sharp shears and a wide-tooth comb. Don’t use just any scissors—find some shears especially made for cutting hair, as these will be sharp enough to avoid tearing the ends of your hair when you cut it. A wide-toothed comb is also important when working with curly hair. In fact, the wider the better! This will detangle your hair and it won’t stretch out the hair as much and will help prevent frizz.[1]
Make sure you only ever use your shears for cutting hair. Using them on other objects makes them become dull more quickly.[2]
Stay away from using razors if you have curly hair. This can damage your hair and promote frizz.[3]

Wash, condition, and detangle your hair. Add conditioner and detangle your hair completely. Depending on the kind of conditioner you use, you can comb it through or just apply it and wash it. Detangling your hair will allow you to work with it more easily. Making sure your hair is properly moisturized will help you better identify what hair is damaged and needs to go—sometimes the ends of your hair appear damaged when, in fact, they’re just dry.[4]

Dry your hair. Air-dry your hair, or dry it with a microfiber towel, which is gentler on your hair. Air-drying or gentle towel drying will allow your curls resume their ordinary shape and length. Cutting your hair while it’s dry allows you to see immediately what the final cut is going to look like. Furthermore, curls spring up and get shorter as they dry, so you’re at risk of cutting your layers too short if you chop them while they’re wet.[5]
It’s okay if your hair is a little damp, as long as it is not wet.

Cutting dry hair gives you less control over it, so if you’re finding it too hard to manage sectioning and cutting completely dry hair, you can lightly dampen it with a spray bottle.[6]

EditRemoving Overall Length
Divide your hair in half into two sections. Make a part down the center of your head, starting in the middle by your forehead and continuing all the way back to the nape of your neck. Pull the sections forward over your shoulders.[7]

Put hair ties on each section where you want to make a cut. Tie a hair band over the entire section, and slide the ties down until they’re just above where you want your final length to be.[8]
If you have shorter hair, use clips to section your hair into two or more pieces, and place a clip just above where you want to cut.

At first, aim to trim off an inch or two less than you plan to ultimately cut. You’ll probably have to cut more as you even out the length, and you don’t want to end up with too-short hair. You can always remove more later.

Cut the sections off under your hair tie. Chop your hair in a straight line. Use multiple cuts to get all the way through the section. This will leave you with blunt-cut ends.[9]
If you want to thin out the ends of your hair and make them look more blended, cut upwards into each section, at a slight angle.[10]

Undo the sections and tidy up the length. Remove your hair ties or clips and visually assess your hair. If you see any extra long strands, give them a quick chop. Use two mirrors to look at the back of your hair and straighten out any uneven edges.
Make sure your hair is the same length on both sides of your head. Pull strands of hair from each side forward and verify that they’re the same length. You may need to put your hair back in sections and cut a little bit more off of one side.

If you’re having difficulty getting all of your hair to be one even length, you can also try gathering up all of your hair into a ponytail on top of your head and cutting the ends. This will add some layers into your hair as well. Use clips if your hair is too short for a ponytail.[11]

EditCutting Layers into Your Hair
Divide your hair into four sections. Part your hair down the middle from front to back until your hair is divided in half. Next, divide these halves by making a part from your ear moving backwards towards the middle part.[12]
To part your hair, you can draw the tip of a comb across your scalp. Alternately, put your fingertips on either end of where you want the part to be, and drag your fingers towards each other until they meet.[13]
To make the finished hairstyle look more natural, use a zig-zag shape when you part your hair. The different sections will blend together more easily.[14]
Once you’ve separated out each section, secure the hair with a clip to keep it in place.

Pull the front middle section straight up over your head. Undo the clip keeping the section in place and stretch it up vertically, perpendicular to the floor. You can also pull it out slightly at an angle away from your head.[15]
For shorter layers, hold your hair straight up over your head.[16]
If you prefer longer layers, hold your hair straight out, away from your head, parallel to the ground. If you use this method, the top layers will be longer and closer in length to the bottom layers.[17]

Grasp the ends of the hair between your index and middle fingers. With your hand that is not holding the scissors, use your first 2 fingers to grab the section of hair at its base, closest to your scalp. Slide your fingers up the length of the hair until you reach the point where you want to make a cut.
Look for damage at the ends of your hair. If you see frizz or breakage, try to remove all of it when you cut your layers.

Angle your fingers so that you will cut the hair to be shorter in the front and longer in the back. This type of cut will help push your hair away from your face.[18]
Trim only a small amount of hair at first. You can always go back later and take more off, but it can be tough to fix a haircut if you cut too much off.[19] However, keep in mind that you will need to trim about from the ends to notice layers forming.

Cut the hair off above your fingers. Use several small chops until you’ve trimmed all of the hair. Then, angle your scissors so they’re nearly parallel to your hair, and cut a few times into your hair to thin the ends out slightly.[20]

Repeat the process on the next section. Unclip one of the sections next to the first. Pull the hair straight up, or at the same outward angle that you used when you cut the first section. Use the first section as a guide to determine how much hair to trim—hold up both pieces of hair next to each other, and cut off the new section to be the same length as the first.[21]
When pulling sections upwards to trim them, try to use the same amount of tension so that one section doesn’t end up shorter than another.

Continue lifting and cutting each section in the same way. Bring each section up and forward to the same imaginary point above your head before making the cut. Because the hair on the bottom of your head has further to travel when it is lifted up above your head, it will end up being longer than the hair on top of your head.[22]
Don’t try to use this process for the bottom sections at the nape of your neck. If you leave these unlayered, they will provide a strong, heavy bottom layer. If you layer them, the ends of your hair might appear too thin.[23]

Finish your cut by trimming any areas that stick out. Once you are done cutting the basic layers, let your hair fall naturally around your head, like you would normally wear it. If there are pieces that look too long or that stick out too far away from the rest of your hair, give them a quick trim.[24]
The overall shape of your hair should be fairly even and symmetrical. If the curls on one side of your head are sticking out a lot farther than they are on the other side, resection the longer hair and trim each of these sections to be a little shorter.

EditThings You’ll Need
Sharp shears

Wide-toothed comb



Spray bottle of water

Wall mirror

Handheld mirror

Get a friend to look at the hair in the back of your head to see if it’s even. Have them point out curls that are too long.

If your haircut looks very uneven or is not what you were expecting, don’t try to keep cutting off more and more hair. Make an appointment at a salon and have a professional help you fix it.

Trim your hair every 3-6 months. It’s important to regularly cut off dead or damaged hair to keep your overall hair looking and growing healthy. Trim it more often if you’re treating your hair with chemicals or if you regularly expose your hair to heat.

Avoid brushing your curls. Brushing your hair makes it more likely to break, which in turn makes it frizzier. If your hair needs to be detangled, wash and condition it, and while the conditioner is still in, run a wide tooth comb through your hair. This is helpful whether you have tight or loose curls.

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