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Motivate Yourself To Exercise (When You Really Don’t Want To)

I get it. I really do. Exercise is a big part of my life and I still find exercise motivation hard when I’m pulling on my running shoes and getting out the door. How to motivate yourself to exercise is something we all need to learn.

There’s always some distraction. I’ll go when I’ve finished this. Something’s just come up. I’m feeling tired today, maybe I should take a rest day.

Before you know it, the day’s over and your fitness plans have evaporated. There’s always tomorrow…

And I enjoy exercise! I love to be fit! When you’re someone who really hates it, and just sees exercising as one big chore, the exercise motivation must be really hard to find. Here are a few tips I hope will help…

exercise motivation

9 Tips For Exercise Motivation

#1 Find A Buddy

I’ve put this tip first because I think it makes the biggest difference. Especially if you can find a buddy who’s at the same fitness level as you, but just a tiny bit keener. Someone who can guilt-trick you into getting out the door.

Arranging to meet someone for exercise takes all the pressure off. It’s a done deal. You will be exercising at a certain time. No buts. A no-show would be letting your partner down. I will frantically get ready to meet a buddy on time for a run. I never have the same level of exercise motivation when I’m running on my own.

#2 Exercise Early

I’m notoriously a big failure when it comes to exercise motivation in the morning. But it is a good idea. If you can trick yourself into exercising early, it’s a big win.

What do I mean by trick yourself? Try getting fit at home. Rolling out of bed and hitting the yoga mat you laid out the night before.

Or lacing up your running shoes and heading out before you’re fully awake and able to object. These are both ways to slip in a bout of exercise before the demands of the day take over.

Plus you get to spend the rest of the day feeling terrific and just a little bit smug.

exercise motivation

#3 Build An Exercise Routine

This one is linked to exercising early. If you always exercise at a set time every day, you’re less likely to skip your session.

Over time this routine could even become a habit, a routine that’s so familiar it’s hard to break.

Just tell yourself you’ll exercise at a set time every day. Set an alarm and just go!

#4 Set A Goal For Exercise Motivation

Setting a goal can make a big difference to exercise motivation especially if it’s a real challenge. Just look at all those people who’ve never done any real exercise in their lives and then decide to run a marathon. Amazingly most of them manage it!

Spring can be a good time to set a goal with the added advantage of getting fit for summer!

To work as an exercise motivator, the goal has to be big. It’s got to be something you’re excited about and it has to be achievable.

What counts as achievable is down to you. When you set your goals don’t listen to the naysayers. If you think you can do it – go for it.

#5 Wear Your Favorite Workout Kit

If you’re having a tough time finding the motivation to exercise, wear your favorite workout kit!

Somehow pulling on your bouncy new trainers, and dressing in the kit that makes you feel good, can make a difference. Feeling good will make you more motivated to have a worthwhile session.

#6 Set Low Exercise Expectations

Okay I know, this is the exact opposite of setting big goals. What I mean is if it’s a day when it’s a tough call getting out the door, don’t expect too much.

It’s easier to make yourself go out for 10 minutes than a hard 60-minute session. If you can’t face the hard session you pre-planned, just go and do the warm-up.

See how you feel once you’ve started. Sometimes starting is all it takes to shake off your lethargy. Plus ten minutes of exercise will always be better than nothing.

#7 Don’t Overthink It

Try not to make a big deal out of your exercise routine. It’s a time of the day when you just put your kit on and go. No big deal. You need to stop chasing perfection. Don’t wait for the perfect time to start exercising, feeling completely ready, just go!

Don’t think about your session until you’ve actually started. Make it just one of the things you do, no different from all the other activities you squeeze into your day.

#8 Promise Yourself A (Non-Food) Treat

Now if you’re exercising to lose weight, the last thing you want to do is see food as a treat for completing your session. That doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself.

I’m sure there are all sorts of wonderful treats you can think of and you don’t need my help with this one. So promise yourself the set of tickets to watch your favorite performer, a new eyeliner, the latest novel, a cute top…

#9 Focus On How You’ll Feel Afterwards

Rather than stressing about and overthinking your exercise session. Think about how good you’re going to feel when you’ve finished.

That glow from completing a session is such a great feeling. It leaves you thinking, “Of course I’m motivated to exercise!”

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