A person cannot directly choose circumstances, but can choose their thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape their circumstances.
-- James Allen, 1864-1912, Author of As a Man Thinketh
A few years ago, one of my personal training clients asked me to help him manipulate his diet. He wanted me to provide a substitution for his daily lunch of a cheeseburger with French fries. He had been eating this lunch three to five days per week for about two years. You might be surprised at what I told him. I recommended that he remove the cheese from the burger for two weeks and then we'd analyze it again after that.
So what's the moral of the story? In order to create motivation and new habits, you need to coax it with small changes -- not force it. This philosophy has worked for many of my clients and for eDiet members who have a dislike for exercise.
Your goal should be to create a successful time period of exercise with a limited number of days. Tell someone who dislikes exercise to work out four to six days per week and you know what you get? Failure waiting to happen.
I've always recommended that people who hate to exercise but know they should, limit their exercise to twice per week for 30 days. Why so little? Well, I know anyone can commit to two days per week for 30 days. So immediately we remove the dreaded feeling that plagues many individuals. Why 30 days? Because we need to create a timeframe along with quantifiable goals (two days per week of workouts) in order for the mind and the emotions to experience a feeling of success.
The key here is to create a realistic plan of consistency -- so that at the end of 30 days you can look at yourself in the mirror and say, "I did it! I completed all my workouts for one consecutive month."