Finding Your Exercise Motivation – when you don’t want to or don’t have time


How to motivate yourself to exercise

How do you exercise when you’re lacking motivation?

Ah, exercise. Nothing brings me more joy and anxiety all at once.

Personally, I have a little bit of an aversion to gyms. Sweaty people, germy equipment, eyeballs looking at me when I do the cat-cow . . . Yeah, not my cup of tea.

If you’re a gym rat and love it, I say more power to ya, sister! Alas, I am not of your ranks. If you can relate this post is for you.

The truth is, once I get into the groove of things I actually do enjoy exercise. BUT…

How do we motivate ourselves to work-out when we don’t even like exercise or just have ZERO drive? When even the plethora of known benefits of moving our butts still isn’t enough to get us off them?

Here are 11 tips and tricks I use whenever I get into these exercise slumps.

**This post may contain affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you) when you click through and make a purchase.**

11 tips to find your exercise motivation

Remember, you don’t have to exercise for hours to reap the benefits

Ten-minute chunks of time are still beneficial. A little bit of movement 2-3 times a day can at least get you started. Park your car farther away from work or the store, take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to the park with your kids or jump on the trampoline with them. Just do something. Something is always better than nothing!

workout inspo


Don’t move in ways you think of as exercise

Do you really hate jogging? Or using equipment at the gym? Or doing yoga? Then don’t do it. Find something you actually enjoy (swimming? hiking? dancing?) and build from there. As your motivation increases, your desire to try something new may too.

Set small goals first

If you’re the type of person who is all or nothing or who needs a big, fancy detailed plan to get you psyched up, this tip may not be for you (skip ahead a bit!)

But if not, and particularly if you’re new to regular exercise or coming back from a long hiatus, start small (you don’t want to injure yourself after all!). Make a goal of 10 minutes daily, then 15, then 20. Start with 2lbs (seriously), then 5, then 8.

Don’t judge yourself for not doing more! Congratulate yourself for any kind of exercise you do and just keep going.

In the words of Dory, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…”

Steal random moments of exercise

So maybe this is weird, but . . . I occasionally hold wall squats while I fix my hair, I always hold my stomach muscles tight when standing and often hold pigeon pose when I do the dishes. Sometimes I’ll make a goal to do 5 lunges (each side) for every one hour I sit at my computer.

The point is, there are plenty of random moments to squeeze in even a few seconds of exercise. Do sit-ups during commercial breaks when watching TV, sit on an exercise ball at your desk or do push-ups at your kitchen counter. Turn it into a game!

Mix it up

Maybe you’re lacking exercise motivation due to boredom? I know this happens to me a lot. After doing the same kind of exercise or the same routine for weeks, I lose my drive.

Find a new exercise video or fancy program (Pinterest is perfect for this!), sign up for a new class, buy a new fun piece of home gym equipment (ever tried kettlebells?), use a new machine at the gym, find a fun new workout app. Heck, you could even get yourself a cute new workout outfit to wear. Anything to get out of the exercise blahs!

[Need a library of workouts to choose from? I highly recommend Food Matters TV. This site makes it so easy to stick with a healthy lifestyle!]

RELATED POST: 20 Home Gym Essentials for $20 or Less – build your own home gym for only $100!

Recruit a buddy to hold you accountable

Make an agreement to work out with a friend regularly or check in with each other for encouragement and accountability, or join a Facebook group. Either way, the more people know about your goals, the less tempted you’ll be to quit.

Write out your goals and track your progress

Personally, I like writing my fitness goals down (on paper or in an app) and ticking them off as I reach them. It helps keep me motivated if I have a clear focus for where I’m going (15 minutes 3x this week, 20 minutes 5x next week . . .) and can see where I’ve been.

Find a reason and set a deadline

Many of us will be motivated to workout a few weeks before summer (why hello dusty bikini. . .) or as a new years resolution, but then as soon as those moments have passed stop exercising.

I’m suggesting you keep finding a reason. Friend’s wedding coming up? Exercise. Anniversary getaway? Exercise. Family reunion? Exercise.

Treat all these moments like your personal runway gorgeous lady! (Rawr)

And, of course, improving your health is the best reason of all!

Enter a challenge

Maybe baby stepping it isn’t enough for you. In that case, challenge yourself! Enter a fitness contest or start the Couch to 5k program. Go get it!

Yoga Download Fit and Fab Challenge

Create a vision and come up with a mantra

Close your eyes and imagine your ideal healthy, fit self. What does she look like? What is she doing? How does she hold herself? Hold that picture in your mind.

When I first tried this years ago, I pictured a combination of the Doritos commercial girl (remember the one that would grab the chips with her mouth mid-air?) and the girlfriend from the movie Joe Dirt. The first one because she’s brunette (ahem, so am I) and the second because she had the most amazing bod <covet>.

If you’ve never seen it, there’s a scene where she rides up on her horse in these skimpy shorts sporting perfectly toned legs. With that picture in my mind, my mantra as I jogged on the treadmill became, “Run from saddlebags, run to hot in the saddle.”

Ok, so maybe it sounds pretty silly. But I swear it works! (well, for me anyway…usually) Anytime I’m tempted to sit on my butt instead of exercising or eat something unhealthy that mantra pops into my mind along with a vision of the woman I want to be (which is still me, but just version 2.0).

When all else fails, tap

If all my exercise motivation tricks fail, I turn to tapping to reset and reprogram myself. Sometimes it’s actually best to do this first. If you’ve never heard of tapping (or EFT) and all its amazing benefits, check out my post:

Related: Ease Anxiety and Depression in Minutes With This One Simple Technique

I hope these exercise motivation tips help!

Let me know how your fitness journey is going in the comments and take the poll below!

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6 thoughts on “Finding Your Exercise Motivation – when you don’t want to or don’t have time”

  1. This was a great post Liane! Great writing style and I liked that you’re encouraging exercise in ‘bits’n pieces’. I just recently wrote something similar on my blog. Not being a fan of exercising in general, but enjoying the feeling of being fit and healthy, I finally came up with pretty much what you’ve described in my own fitness routine. Thanks for the great post.

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