Exercise is critical. No one can argue with that. But, what a lot of people have a problem with isn’t accepting how important it is, but how to get yourself to do it: how to get motivated.

We might want to be fit and strong but exercise is something that takes time and consistency — and because of this a lot of people have a hard time getting started and even more, sticking with it.

But, there are ways to stay motivated — and some of them might be a really great and pleasant surprise.

Treat yourself

Now, I know what you might be thinking: that a food reward would be a guilty pleasure after a workout — and it can be, but you can make it a healthy one instead: a glass of red wine, for instance, or a small piece of high quality dark chocolate. But rewards can also be things like watching an episode of your favorite show, or taking a long, hot bath. By doing this you’ll see exercise as less than something you dislike doing and more something that will get you what you want — as well as get you healthy and fit.

Do something fun during the workout

Here’s a great motivator: buy some music, or a book on tape, and put it aside to listen to only when you are working out. This way the only way you can enjoy it is to get in your exercise.

Set realistic goals

A lot of people give up on exercise because they expect to be entering a bodybuilding competition the next day. Instead, set yourself reasonable goals like losing five pounds, or walking a certain distance. This way you will achieve the goals and feel rewards as opposed to disappointments.

Find friends

A great way to stay motivated is to find exercise buddies who will work out with you. This way you can all get some assistance in staying focused.

The bottom line is that you should find a motivation to exercise that works for you—no matter what it is, as long as it gets you moving and inspired to work out. Do that, and before you know it you’ll be seeing some amazing results!