How To Find Motivation to Exercise

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In a previous post, I spoke about trying to work out how much to workout. If you catch my drift. I mentioned the journey I had been on trying to sift through often contradictory pieces of information about how much to workout and what to be doing. The next piece of the puzzle is finding the motivation. And get going.

The Motivation Conundrum

I still find that as soon as I think I’ve worked it all out then a new piece of information or research turns up. It’s like an endless game of whack-a-mole. As soon as I’ve covered one type of exercise there’s another must-have or must-do. This is just one of the many reasons I feel discouraged from working out. My motivation goes right out the window. Because let’s be honest, if I’m not doing it right as might as well not do it at all. Which means more time on my couch watching TV rather than dragging myself out in the cold to the gym. I don’t need to tell you which is my preference.

Then think of the laundry accrued by multiple sweaty workouts, multiple times a week. The laundry in itself is a reason to forgo any kind of exercise. Then there’s money on clothes and gym membership. Which could be spent elsewhere. And also the fact that most of us are tired and quite possibly just don’t want to.

Motivation, Motivation, Motivation

There’s so many reasons not to. See above. But I know that I need to. If only I could find the motivation. But here’s the thing. The more I exercised the easier I found it to do so. I remembered how I felt about exercising or more importantly after exercising.

After a workout, although not always – too much pressure, I invariably feel better on some level. Sometimes it’s a release of tension I did or didn’t know I was holding. Other times it’s a distraction from whirling thoughts or something I’m fixating on.

The best times is when it reminds me of what me and my body is capable of. Especially on long days when I think I’ve drained my energy reserves. It’s on these days I appreciate how strong and healthy I am to have a body to carry me throughout the day. I not only reflect on how lucky I am but it can shift my mood and often my confidence. It can help me feel good about myself. Zumba can make me feel beautiful and confident. It can also let me laugh at myself as I try to learn a move. When I lift weights or complete a move I’ve been struggling with I feel strong and powerful. These thoughts and feelings are frequently hidden, buried under piles of self-doubt or negative thoughts. But they are there and they’re worth clinging to.

So, How to Motivate?

Remember How Good It Feels. I’ve said enough about this above. But can you think of a time you exercised and felt great. How good did it feel? What did it feel like? Could you feel like that again?

Get Out Clause. Most of my exercises are 20-40 mins long. Some days that can feel like a huge amount of time or a big portion of my day. So I give myself a get out clause. I give it a go for 10 minutes. If I’m not feeling it or want to give up then I can. Usually I find that by 10 minutes in one of two things have happened. Either I’ve stopped thinking about it and will end up finishing the workout. Or I’m clock watching and know there’s only 10/20 minutes left of the workout until a cool down. I’m too stubborn to give up once I’ve got going.

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Accountability. They say one of the best ways to achieve your goals is to have accountability. So tell someone that you’re planning on working out. Or record it somewhere so you can see how you’re doing. Or don’t if it feels like too much pressure.

Get Someone Else on Board. Can you workout with someone else? Should you choose to. I know that when someone is waiting on me at the gym or for a workout I’m more likely to go. It goes back to accountability but also not wanting to let someone else down. Again, this may feel like too much pressure and that’s okay.

Find What Works. My aforementioned blog talks about this. To really commit I had to find what worked not only for my body but my interests and timetables. A mix of home and gym gives me flexibility to work around a busy schedule. Variety of exercise types including yoga, weights and cardio stops me getting bored.

Think Outside the Box. Exercise isn’t always found in a gym. The world is your oyster, or playground. There are outdoor gyms you can use, you can go for a walk or a run. Are there dance classes in your local area or a climbing wall? What about extreme sports? How about ice skating, skateboarding or rollerblading?

Forgive Yourself. I’ve always had mixed feelings about exercise. Sometimes pushing myself to workout when ill or when I wasn’t in the mood just made me angry or resentful. I’ve had to learn to forgive myself when I miss a workout. Sometimes I’ve got too much on my plate so if I miss something and do less that week it’s okay. Our bodies need breaks too.

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15 thoughts on “How To Find Motivation to Exercise

  1. I struggle to find the motivation to exercise lately but I always feel so good after I force myself to do it. When I am not really “in the mood” I do the 8 minute Tae Bo workout on YouTube so that at least I have done something lol.

    I should also try you get out clause for the days when I just really don’t want to exercise. It was so much easier when I was younger but now in my late twenties I don’t seem to have the same drive to workout as I used to especially since I couldn’t afford my gym membership anymore. I always say little exercise is better than no exercise lol and I aim for a minimun of 3 days a week.

    I liked this post!

  2. These are some great ideas. I’ve been really struggling with exercise at the moment, and often find excuses not to get out there and go for a run, or to a class. This will be a great help. 🙂

  3. YES this is the biggest problem I’m having in my personal self-development right now. I know I need to workout, I know it makes me feel better, but I have absolutely no desire to – at all. I used to play pro basketball in Europe and I’m embarrassed at how out of shape I am now. One day I’ll start a routine and stick to it for longer than a week. Thanks for the motivation! I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling this way haha.

    1. Thanks Daina. You’re 100% not the only one but I’ve found it so lovely hearing from others who have felt the same too! I think flexibility is key too. I’ve grown out of so many of my routines and found it hard to stick to them. Changing it up was definitely a life saver!

  4. Getting someone else on board is the main thing for me – I find I can do so much better, push harder and actually enjoy it more if there is somebody else doing the same thing! These are great tips.

    1. So true! I find it so helpful particularly if it’s someone I get along well with because they distract me and make it so much more fun. Plus it’s a great way to socialise and exercise freeing up more time in the week!

  5. I love this! I’ve been ill over the last week and a bit and have just missed about four sessions that I’m really frustrated about. But you’re right: as long as I focus on how I feel when I do go, it’s going to be a lot easier getting back to it than my normal trick of talking myself out of it. Needed this post today – thanks!

    1. Poor you! I wish you better. Not knowing whether or not to exercise when you’re ill is the worst. But sometimes we just need a break. But the longer the break the harder I find it to get back into it again!

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