How to Stay Motivated When You Don’t Feel Like Working Out

By Kate Harveston – May 6, 2020

“Should” — has any word in the English language inspired more anxiety and guilt? You know you should work out, but your couch sings a sweet siren song. How can you stay motivated when your get-up-and-go abandons you?

If you want to transform your body and your life through exercise, consistency matters. You have to push through even on those days when your motivation lags. The following tips can keep you fit and feeling fabulous even when the urge to become a couch potato strikes.

1. Try Something New

If you do the same routine every day, no wonder you feel less motivated. While you deserve kudos for sticking to your plan, sometimes you have to mix it up a bit. If the thought of plodding on the treadmill doesn’t appeal to you, why don’t you head outdoors instead? Spring weather has arrived in many parts of the country, so take advantage of the fresh air to improve your mood while logging your miles.

2. Take Mini-Workout Breaks

If you find the thought of a 30-minute workout overwhelming, why not break up your exercise sessions? Doing so might boost your productivity and help you stave off health woes. A 10-minute walk three times per day gets you your recommended allowance of activity the same as spending a half-hour on the elliptical.

You can even squeeze in exercise at your work desk. While seated, perform calf raises and ankle rotations to get the blood flowing in your legs and prevent varicose veins. Perform a few shoulder rolls to ease upper back tension. You can also do a seated cat-cow by placing your hands on your lap and alternatively rounding and extending your spine. This move can help alleviate back pain.

3. Do a Little Retail Therapy

When you get a cute new pair of leggings, you can’t wait to rock them on your toned thighs. That fitness gadget you’ve eyed for months can make you feel like a kid on their birthday morning. If you have the money, why not do your part to stimulate the economy while motivating yourself to work out? Go on a healthy shopping spree. Many popular apps have exclusive deals right now, so take advantage.

4. Phone a Friend

Unfortunately, while social distancing remains in place, you can’t call up your best friend and ask them to meet you at the gym. However, you can lean on each other for advice. Invent a secret phrase you can text someone you trust when your motivation lags. You can even connect via Skype or Zoom and work out together from your respective living rooms.

5. Give Yourself a Goal

Sometimes, your mind gets overwhelmed, and that’s OK. If the thought of putting in your full workout makes you shake your head, resolve to get moving for only five minutes. Set a timer — chances are, when it goes off, you’ll want to keep going. However, don’t beat yourself up if you stop, or this psychological trick won’t work in the future.

Another way to get psyched to work out is to give yourself a more ambitious goal. Why not register for a charity race later in the fall or winter? When you look forward to “game day,” it makes it a breeze to adhere to your training schedule. Plus, it gives you something to look forward to when shelter-in-place orders end.

6. Consider a Trainer

When you can’t motivate yourself, consider calling in the hired help. While you don’t want a trainer coming to your home right now, many professionals are offering online services to keep you on track with your goals. Your trainer can also personalize your regimen to help you reach the desired results more quickly, and they can provide tips for preventing injury.

7. Plan a Reward

If the promise of reduced disease risk isn’t enough to get you off the couch and moving, plan a different reward for reaching your fitness goals. It’s crucial to build in progress prizes to keep you going through each step. If weight loss is your objective, you probably don’t want to treat yourself to a fattening meal post-workout, but you can lose yourself in a hot bubble bath.

Get Motivated to Work Out Even When You Don’t Feel Like It

Everyone has days when they lack enthusiasm for their daily workout. If you have a terrible case of “I don’t wanna-itis,” try these tips to get moving anyway. You’ll feel better once you do.


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