updated 11/4/2003 7:25:33 PM ET 2003-11-05T00:25:33

You don’t have to like exercise to do it, but there are some ways to get yourself going.

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The opinions expressed herein are the guest’s alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have a question about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

Question: I can’t find any motivation to exercise. When I go to the gym, all I do is look at the time and get frustrated. I desperately want to start an exercise routine. Any ideas on how I can get past my negative ways?

Answer: You don’t have to like to exercise to do it. It’s nice if you find something that you like to do, but not everyone does, and they still get it done. Most people do feel better once they’ve done it and there’s no reason to think that you won’t, too. And for most people, once they do get started, start to get into it.

Some quick tips to get you going are to start simple and set a weekly goal. Write down what activity you’ll do, what day of the week, how many minutes, and what time of day. Be as specific as possible. For instance, write down Tuesday, 7 a.m., walk for 15 minutes on the treadmill. By start simple I mean select one or two exercises, keep the time manageable (10-15 minutes to start is all you need), and that’s it. Don’t overwhelm yourself. The simpler the better. As you become more fit you can add more, but you need to start with something you can handle. You say you watch the time, so keep it short to begin. Plus, to help the time go by, try listening to your favorite music or book on tape.

Go ahead and write down a weekly plan. Setting goals has been shown to be very effective for motivation. You ought to start today.

Richard Weil, MEd, CDE, is an exercise physiologist and certified diabetes educator. He has published dozens of articles on exercise and health and has appeared on many television programs. He also speaks about health at many national conferences.

WebMD content is provided to MSNBC by the editorial staff of WebMD. The MSNBC editorial staff does not participate in the creation of WebMD content and is not responsible for WebMD content. Remember that editorial content is never a substitute for a visit to a health care professional.

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