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

Staying motivated to exercise when you don’t feel like it can be a challenge for anyone. But avoiding exercise can be detrimental to your mental health and well-being, so learning and practicing various ways to stay motivated can help you overcome this obstacle.

Be Accountable

One of the easiest ways to stay motivated for many is to find a workout or fitness partner. This can be a friend, family member, or someone from your gym or fitness group. Together, you can motivate each other and stay accountable while figuring out ways to make your fitness routines more fun. If you don’t have fitness-minded friends or just want to meet new people, join an online fitness group that participates in activities you enjoy. fitness app connects users through groups that share fitness goals and victories as they motivate each other. You might also find that having a fitness partner will also add to your health and mental well-being.

Pay Attention to Mental Health

Mental health encompasses your emotional and psychological well-being and is an important aspect of overall health. If you are not mentally well, fitness can be a greater challenge that feels impossible to overcome. Symptoms of depression and low self-esteem can drain your motivation. But this doesn’t have to be the end of your fitness journey.

Incorporate practices that are known to improve your mental health such as deep breathing techniques, stretching, yoga, or meditation. Incorporating these practices for just 10 minutes each day can promote a sense of calm and balance that carries over into your everyday life.

Exercise Early

Working out in the morning is a technique many experienced fitness enthusiasts use to stay motivated. When you incorporate your exercise routine into your daily routine, there is no time for excuses that often build up during the day. When you get ready for exercise, don’t turn on your brain to begin overthinking, simply put on your shoes and clothing and begin. Another reason experienced exercisers work out in the morning is that there is little chance of an unexpected event getting in the way and turning your schedule upside down.

Exercise Shorter

If you have days when you don’t feel like exercising, then make a shorter commitment. It is easy to begin a new fitness routine feeling full of energy and telling yourself you will exercise every day for 1-3 hours, but there is very little chance you will do that. However, if you commit to exercising for 10 – 20 minutes, chances are you will stick to it. Ten minutes is much easier to fit into a busy schedule. Shorter workouts will help you appreciate your time for self-care, which will have a great impact on stress levels. Interestingly, one study found that 10 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise improved mental focus while another study showed that 15 minutes of jogging each day greatly reduced the risk of depression.

Reward Yourself

Rewarding yourself is a way to make working out a habit quickly. First, savor the feelings of accomplishment, mental well-being, and physical strength that you feel during or after a workout. Indulge in the satisfaction and remind yourself that your workout is the time for self-care as you build physical and mental strength and fortitude. Give yourself tangible rewards, too, like a protein shake, or a new tune, or tip yourself after a particularly tough workout. Use rewards that mean something to you and be sure to have some for both short and long-term goals.

Keep a Fitness Journal

A fitness journal is a place to plan your diet, exercise, and self-care routines and keep track of them, too. Begin making a habit of writing in your journal every day and include meal ideas and plans, shopping lists, and your favorite recipes. Write out your goals for exercise such as what you will do, how long you will do it for, and when you will do it. This will help you fit exercise into your schedule, which is a major part of the battle for most people.

After you plan, be sure to write what you actually eat each day and record your actual exercise routine to compare it with your plan. This can help you adjust accordingly as you see some days you have less time for exercise and other days you may have more.

Also, include in your fitness journal your feelings about meals and exercise routines. You might discover what triggers unhealthy food cravings, and learn what foods give you energy and what foods sap your energy. You can also learn if certain exercise routines leave you feeling better or overly drained and then adjust them. A journal can also be great motivation after a few weeks as you read back through your accomplishments and see what you have learned about yourself and how far you have come.

Indulge in Fun Activities

Exercise does not always have to be grueling or a chore. Many fun activities are also great exercises and can help you get in shape. Many gyms now have interesting classes to suit all personality types from yoga to dance classes. Take a kickboxing class or martial arts class and learn some self-defense on the side. You can also go on an adventure every time you walk, jog, cycle or run with a fitness app that features races around the world or in fantasy lands.

Virtual Races

Throughout a virtual race, you can learn about a destination and visit exciting sights, then earn rewards like medals and t-shirts when you complete the race on your own time. connects you with other virtual racers so you can interact and meet new friends around the world. Completing each race at your own pace will help you feel a sense of accomplishment, which can be highly motivating.

Begin Today

If you have days that don’t feel like working, make a plan today to inspire motivation. Read through these tips, choose a few that you like, create a plan, and get busy. Your body and mind will thank you!