We all have those days when we plan to work out and know that we should work out, but we just have zero drive to get it done. I have those days too. When that happens, I remind myself how good exercise makes me feel, and how it will help me achieve my goals. “Suck it up, buttercup!” I tell myself, and another good thing to remember is that getting started really is the hardest part. Once I get going, I’m always glad I did, and when it’s over, I feel great!
There are, of course, times we each have less willpower or dedication. We give in to the temptation to skip a workout. While that’s fine every now and again, it can become a hard habit to break if you skip out too often. The problem with motivation is that many of us believe it’s something that will just happen, that motivation will come to us if we wait long enough — one day we’ll wake up and want to exercise. But we really need to realize that motivation is something we create, not something we wait for. To tap into what works best, I asked my group fitness classes and Facebook Fitness Friends group what they do when they just don’t feel like exercising. Based on their answers, here are 50 ways to push yourself to get moving when you’d rather just watch Netflix. So the next time you’re feeling less than enthusiastic about your workout, take their advice.
1. I tell myself the hardest move is getting off of the couch. Then I turn up my favorite tunes and start to go. If I still feel unmotivated, I can quit. I have yet to quit!
2. I ask a friend to work out with me. It helps us both!
3. I remind myself that the days I don’t want to work out are the days I need to the most.
4. My husband and I challenge each other to work out four times a week each month. At the end of the month, whoever was more consistent gets to pick the movie we get to see on date night.
5. I got a dog. I want to keep him healthy. He gets me out moving and walking twice a day.
6. I’m not allowed to shower until I work out!
7. I go outside for a 10-minute brisk walk. It warms me up and gets me in the mood to work out.
8. I tell myself that I will do half the reps I usually do just to keep the movement going. Sometimes I can only muster half the reps, but most times it gets me motivated to complete my usual reps.
9. I look at my workout like an important appointment I’m not allowed to cancel.
10. Joining a fitness group on Facebook and logging my workout daily is keeping me on track. Plus, I like hearing about other people’s workouts.
11. I write down how I feel after my workout on a giant calendar. I always feel better and it motivates me for my next workout as well.
12. I joined a running group for my cardio training. I now look forward to my cardio workouts!
13. I think about my horse’s back and how nice it must be for him when I ride now that I have lost 25 pounds!
14. I think about the fact that I was able to give away my “fat clothes” and I don’t ever want them back!
15. I keep my workout tools in my living area so that they stare back at me every day.
16. I think of all the people who can’t work out and the years I was injured and wished I could just be my old self.
17. I love my fitness tracker. I don’t allow myself to go to bed unless I’ve logged 10,000 steps or more.
18. I visualize all of my fit friends working out. If they can do it, so can I!
19. I try a new workout on YouTube.
20. I complain out loud about not feeling motivated, then go do it, since I don’t like hearing myself complain.
21. I look at my before pictures and my now. I also have an app that has graphed out my weight loss, and when I see the arrow going down, that motivates me even more.
22. I drag myself to the gym anyway. Before I realize it, an hour has passed and I’m very glad I went.
23. I force myself to just do five exercises for one minute (jumping jacks, squats, sit-ups, lunges, etc.). And I tell myself I will be happier that I did it instead of being mad at myself for not doing anything.
24. I put on a workout video. It always motivates me to see others moving.
25. I remember a time when I couldn’t work out, how sad I was when I was heavier, and how I don’t want to feel sad again!
26. Music is my motivator. I play something with energy that I like. The right music can make you move even when you think you don’t want to and it usually provides a mood boost, too.
27. I put my feelings aside and use logic and reasoning. My feelings then change after a good workout.
28. I put in an “easy” DVD and tell myself I’ll take it easy, and then I end up pushing myself a little harder.
29. I sleep in my workout clothes. I’m ready to go every day! 30 There’s nothing more satisfying than marking a big X on my calendar daily!
31. I have a picture of myself in a swimsuit I like and I want to maintain that.
32. I follow a lot of workout maniacs on Instagram and look at healthy food posts. It helps me stay on track.
33. I join fitness challenges on Facebook. Plus, my Apple watch tracks my achievements. I’m on day 96, my longest exercise streak ever!
34. I tell myself I don’t want to lose the progress I’ve made. I start the warm-up and that feeling of “I don’t wanna!” is gone by the time the warm-up is over.
35. If I’m having an off day, I tell myself how much better I will feel after my workout. I feel stronger and know
that I’ve accomplished my goal for the day.
36. I sign up for races. I vow never to be the last to cross the finish line, and I love collecting T-shirts and medals.
37. My ex called me fat, and I have him to thank for always keeping me motivated.
38. I love group fitness and secretly competing with everyone in the room.
39. I pay myself $5 every time I work out and give myself $10 on the days I don’t feel like it. Then I save it and
treat myself every year to a spa weekend.
40. No workout, no glass of wine.
41. I watch music videos from Beyoncé, Shakira, Britney, etc., when I work out. They look confident and strong, and I want that for myself too.
42. I deserve a workout. And my kids deserve a fit mom.
43. I have a 10-minute rule: 10 exercises, one minute each, no matter what. And it often ends up being longer.
44. I post motivational notes for myself. My favourite one is, “Exercise is a blessing, not a chore. I work out because I am grateful that I physically can.”
45. I have three workouts that I like to do; one of them is all floor work. If I don’t feel like working out, I get down
on the floor.
46. Coffee gets me up and going!
47. I have a “before” photo of myself on my fridge. It inspires me every day.
48. I have a friend who won’t let me skip any workouts.
49. I listen to Britney. “Work, B**ch” if I want to be specific to the cause, haha!
50. Putting on music from the ’80s. It always gets me moving!