Want to know how to get motivated to work out? Sometimes, getting ready to go work out is harder than the workout itself. It can feel like the last thing you want to do sometimes.
Not everyone is going to feel like working out everyday. Even elite athletes and Navy SEALs know when they need to push themselves through feeling lazy, and also when it is time to rest.
However, fighting the urge to kick back on the couch every night and eat Dorito’s is important for all of us.
The following tips will help you learn how to be like the Nike slogan and just do it. Motivation is like a muscle that needs to be strengthened. As your motivation gets stronger, so will your muscles!
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How To Get Motivated to Work Out
1. The Chain Method
By tracking the days you work out on a calendar, you can start to see a pattern. This practice is often called the “Chain Method” or the “Seinfeld Strategy.”
Jerry Seinfeld, one of the most famous comedians of all time, coined this strategy as a way to get better at writing jokes. According to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, Seinfeld’s strategy to become a better comic was to create better jokes, and the way to create better jokes is to write everyday.
All you have to do is hang a big calendar on a prominent wall in your home. Everyday you write a joke, or in your case exercise, mark a big red ‘X’ on that day.
“After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.”
2. Put On Your Workout Clothes
This is a habit author James Clear often refers to as the “Two Minute Rule.” Clear says that any good habit you want to form, such as exercises, can be scaled down to a two-minute version. For example, “Do thirty minutes of yoga” becomes “Take out my yoga mat.” or “Run three miles” becomes “Tie my running shoes.”
“Do a work out” could be “Put on my workout clothes.”
This makes any seemingly large habit, scaled down to a smaller, mundane, oh-so-easy, practically no-excuses habit.
This is a powerful strategy because once you’ve started to do the right thing toward your habit, it’s so much easier to continue doing the right thing!
As for me, once I put on my workout clothes, it’s so much easier to actually do the workout.
3. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
If you knew that you were losing money by not working out, are you going to be more likely to do it?
This is often the case when you pay for group fitness classes!
Orangetheory Fitness, a popular group fitness class around the world, is one of my favorite workout classes around. It is great for all fitness levels as they provide many ways to modify each exercise. They also make the workouts so much fun. (I highly recommend it!)
One thing I both love and hate about OTF is that you will be charged a fee if you don’t show up to the fitness class.
This fee is by design, of course, because they don’t want people to skip their classes since that is their whole business, but more importantly, it keeps you accountable.
You are more likely to go to the fitness class to avoid a fee – and that’s pretty dang motivating!
4. Make a Dream Board
Dream boards, also known as vision boards, are a collection of images or objects to help you manifest your goals, dreams, or vision. These can be made of magazine cutouts, printed photos, or with digital photos and online tools such as Canva.
They are a way to help you visualize exactly what goals you want to accomplish. These collages of pictures and themes are very helpful with motivation, because if we don’t identify what the vision is, it’s very difficult to pinpoint precisely where we want to go and develop traction towards that goal.
If you make a dream board, hang it on a prominent wall or make it the background screen of your phone or computer so you are constantly reminded of your workout goals and why you do what you do.
5. Fuel Your Body with Nutritious Food
Feeling sluggish and tired from lack of nutritious food is the last thing you need if you want to know how to get motivated to work out. By not eating well, your body won’t meet its nutritional needs to work out consistently.
If you have ever felt dizzy or fatigued during a workout, you likely weren’t eating enough. You won’t be motivated to hit the gym if you are not feeling energized. Aim to eat a well-balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, carbs, proteins, and fats.
Remember – food is energy.
6. Consume Motivational Content
Whenever I don’t feel motivated to do a certain thing, I watch Youtube videos about what I am aiming towards. For example, if I want to clean my house but don’t feel like it, I watch house cleaning videos (am I the only one who does this?) It makes me feel inspired to start cleaning!
Using this tip, you can watch content, read, or look at photos of things that help you visualize your fitness goals. This helps to pinpoint exactly what you’re working towards and helps you get some traction started in the right direction.
7. Don’t Think of It As Exercise
When exercise just doesn’t sound appealing to you, think of a different way to make it more fun. Even better, make exercise your favorite thing to do. How do you do this exactly?
Find a form of exercise that is both social and fun for you. For me, I love taking dance classes and circus arts classes. For others, that thing you love might be rock climbing, hiking, tennis, or hockey.
Instead of thinking of it as exercise, which can feel like an unwanted chore, think of it as a fun activity you get to do, not have to do.
If you are a Dallas, Texas local and need some fun activities to help you stay fit, check out this article Hobbies in Dallas to Stay Active: 20 Ideas.
8. Think About How You’ll Feel Afterwards
No one has ever said, “Man, I sure regret running 5 miles!” That would sound crazy. On the contrary, people are more likely to say, “I am SO glad I worked out! It feels so good to move my body and get my blood pumping!”
That wonderful feeling after working out is why so many avid runners and/or gym goers do what they do. It makes the pain of exercise worth it.
Interestingly, post-workout calmness and reduction in anxiety may be due to chemicals released by our bodies during exercise called endocannabinoids. These are bodily substances similar to cannabis but they are naturally produced by our bodies during exercise. These chemicals promote positive effects such as reducing stress and anxiety as well as feeling more calm. No wonder we feel so happy when we move our bodies!
9. Work Out With a Group
It is true that exercise is better all together! When we exercise with a group, we are held more accountable by others, and we’re more likely to be more motivated by the energy of the group. The actions of others tend to rub off on us.
In fact, studies show that we tend to gravitate towards the exercise behaviors of those around us. It’s no wonder that a 2016 study showed that obese people tended to lose weight when they began to surround themselves with healthy individuals.
To work out with a group, you can invite some friends to a pilates class, park, or rock climbing gym. I also really love Orangetheory Fitness for some sweaty, fun, and effective group fitness classes!
10. Make a Playlist That Gets You Moving
Not only does listening to music help relieve boredom, it can also get you very motivated to work out!
Studies show that listening to music before a task such as exercise gets you energized and ready by increasing your stamina and putting you in a better mood.
Not to mention, the type of music you listen to while working out can help you perform better. For example, when a song has a strong steady beat, you tend to run or move to that beat and feel less tired.
11. Design Your Environment for Success
One of the most influential books I have ever read is Atomic Habits by James Clear. In the book, Clear discusses how modifying one’s environment will help them form a positive habit they want to take up.
Clear states, “When I wanted to start flossing consistently, one of the most useful changes I made was taking the floss out of the drawer and keeping it next to my toothbrush on the counter. It sounds like a silly thing to focus on, but the visual cue of seeing the floss every time I brushed my teeth meant that I didn’t have to remember to pull it out of the drawer.’
The same concept can be applied to working out. The key is to make the habit as easy possible, with as little barriers as possible.
You could try writing out your home workout in advance, thus making the process of working out a little more mindless when it is time to do it.
Another thing you can try is laying out your gym clothes the night before your workout or wearing them when you are at home. If you’re already ready to go, you are far more likely to work out than you would be if you weren’t prepared.
12. Use The 10 Minute Rule
This method is very similar to the Two Minute Rule mentioned above. Basically, all you do is tell yourself you’re only going to work out for ten minutes. Honestly, even telling yourself to work out for 5 minutes is better than nothing!
Instead of putting so much pressure on yourself to work out for a long period of time, you scale down to a much more manageable amount of time.
By doing so, you are getting started in the right direction. And let’s be honest, getting started is usually the hardest part when it comes to getting motivated to work out.
Chances are, once you get started, you’ll probably work out longer than you expected!
13. Plan Ahead
As the saying goes, failure to plan is planning to fail.
Planning ahead of time allows you to look at your schedule and set you up for success. Do yourself a favor by having your gym bag ready to go, clothes laid out, and workout planned or class booked.
By planning to work out, you increase your likelihood of actually doing it by planning to succeed instead of finding an excuse to skip the workout.
People who don’t have a plan usually won’t accomplish their goals. So plan to succeed!
14. Ask Yourself, “Will I Regret Skipping this Workout?”
Getting the motivation to get off the couch and work out is oftentimes harder than the workout itself.
When laziness kicks in, and you just don’t wanna do anything, ask yourself, “Will I regret skipping this workout?”
If you foresee yourself feeling regret for not doing the thing you know you should’ve done, just get up off the couch and “Just Do It” – Nike.
You will never regret doing the workout, but you might regret skipping it.
15. Give Yourself Short-Term Goals
Knowing how to set short-term goals is vital to your success. One method of setting short-term goals is by using the SMART goal system. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based.
For example, a good SMART goal would be “I am going to run a mile in 8 minutes in 4 weeks.” Another one could be, “I am going to stretch every day for one week.”
These short-term goals should be step stones to a long-term goal’s bottom line. Once you have decided on a long-term goal, you can begin to work backwards from there and create the intermittent goals you need to achieve along the way.
16. And Also Give Yourself Long Term Goals
In most cases, long-term goals consist of a series of several short term goals. What distinguishes a long-term goal for a short one?
When it comes to long-term goals, think about where you want to be in ten years. It helps to align your goals with what is most important to you – such as staying mobile into older age, or being healthy for the sake of your family members. This can give you greater drive towards striving towards your goals.
One long-term goal I have made for myself is being able to do a backflip on the ground – I know this sounds crazy for some people! But this goal helps me feel motivated and excited about physical fitness, so I suggest you also find the thing that makes you happy, excited, and motivated for the years to come.
17. Make Whatever You Do to Exercise Your Favorite Thing
Picking up heavy objects and setting them back down again is not everyone’s favorite thing – although lifting weights has many health benefits! Even if your personality doesn’t align with being a gym bro, there are countless things you can do for exercise that you will LOVE!
So, if you love dance just as much as I do, choose dance as your form of exercise. If you make exercise fun, you are going to look forward to it everyday instead of dreading it!
18. Track Your Successes
There are many ways to track your successes that will help you stay motivated! Examples include writing what you’ve accomplished towards your goal in a journal, keeping a running tally of days you’ve worked toward your goal, taking progress photos, and more!
The more progress you see, the less likely you’ll be to lose motivation. After you’ve got a few weeks of progress under your belt, you won’t want to break the streak!
19. Keep Some Workout Equipment Handy At Home
Keeping workout equipment at home takes most of the hassle out of working out. Not only is it a constant, visual reminder to exercise, it makes the habit of exercise easier to do – and therefore you are more likely to do it.
By curating your environment towards your goals, you set yourself up for success by breaking down any barriers. My favorite home workout gear includes ankle weights, dumbbells, resistance bands, and a yoga mat.
This gear comes in handy all the time – especially when I do Youtube workouts!
20. Look Good, Feel Good, Do Good
Get some cute workout gear that makes you feel good. The clothes we wear when we’re trying to break a sweat matter much more than one might think.
Studies suggest that the clothing we wear affects our emotional state and self perception. In fact, the clothing we wear can make us feel more like the version of ourselves we are trying to become.
There are many factors that contribute to feeling more motivated to work out based on our clothing choices. One factor, obviously, is feeling comfortable in the clothing we wear. If you’re going on a run, for example, you’ll want to wear a supportive bra and comfortable running shoes.
Most importantly, in my opinion, is that the clothes we wear are going to make us feel a certain way about our self-esteem, so wear something that makes you feel more confident!
For me, I feel like a real-life Wonder Woman when I wear a matching sports bra and leggings, or pretty much anything from Lululemon.
21. Give Into Temptations
No – don’t go on a food binge! I just mean, reward yourself with that workout set you’ve been wanting, the dessert you have been craving, and so on.
In fact, one of the main tips from the book Atomic Habits by James Clear is to make the habit you are trying to stick to attractive through a reward mechanism.
Whenever we begin to associate a habit (such as exercise) with a reward, such as losing weight, becoming a better athlete, or fitting into a dress, we begin to actually crave the thing that leads to the rewards. The reward mechanism teaches us what actions are worth our efforts!
You can read more about how this reward mechanism works here.
22. Set a Date to Reach Your Goals By
If you need to be accountable, one of the best things to get motivated to work out is to set a date you need to reach a certain goal.
For example, if your goal is to be a regular runner, sign up for a 5k a couple of months from now so you will be motivated to start running each day. If you have ever run a 5k, you will know why you need to train in advance for these – they are pretty hard to do on the fly without training!
Some other things to plan that can keep you motivated include a beach vacation, your wedding, or a wrestling tournament – the possibilities are endless!
23. Define Your “Why”
For many people who already work out on a regular basis, it can feel like exercise is so intertwined with their personality that they haven’t stopped to think about why they are doing it for a while.
So what is the reason you want to work out?
Some reasons that may resonate for you are: exercise clears the mind, you want to stay healthy ever since you saw a friend or relative endure preventable health problems, it makes you feel strong, it gives you a sense of community, or it inspires people around you.
Define your “why” and you will feel rejuvenated and more passionate about reaching your goals.
24. Motivate Yourself With Sticky Notes
Write down words of encouragement or reminders to keep going when you don’t feel like working out. Post these around your home as a visual reminder to continue to strive towards your goals.
Some sayings you might write down include “You are looking better each day!” Or “Don’t give up!”
25. Watch and Work Out At The Same Time
Do you need to work out, but also want to watch your favorite TV show? As they say in Spanish, Por que no los dos? (Why not both?)
Download your favorite show to your device and watch it while on the elliptical, stationary bike, or treadmill. That way you can move your body and watch entertainment at the same time. If this makes working out more fun for you then absolutely do it!
26. Make Sure to Rest
When you’re chasing a fitness goal, it can feel counterintuitive to sit down and relax. But, truly, being burned out isn’t going to help you feel motivated to work out. Rest is very important so you don’t get exhausted and burned out – or worse – overtraining syndrome.
If you ever hope to be a regular exerciser, it is important to find something sustainable, meaning you are getting adequate rest. Experts suggest one to two days of rest per week is adequate enough to help you reach your goals.
27. Exercise Before You Go Home
Does life feel crazy with work and responsibilities? After a long day on the job, once you get home, the last thing you want to do is leave the house – believe me, I have been there!
Preparing to work out on your way home from work or school is going to make it so much easier to keep the momentum from your day going.
Packing a gym bag in advance and planning ahead of time is one more way to weaken a barrier that would prevent you from working out. Just go straight to the gym from work or class – you will thank yourself afterwards!
28. Get a Personal Trainer
Hiring a personal trainer is a smart decision for many people. They can tailor a fitness regime specifically to you, hold you accountable, and provide educated advice.
If you are struggling with motivation and you don’t know where to start on your fitness journey, a personal trainer may be a good option for you.
29. Write Down What Results You Want To Achieve
We have probably all heard before that if you want to achieve a goal, you should write it down. Although it sounds cliche, it actually does work!
One study by neuroscientist Mark Murphy suggests that vividly describing your goals in written form is strongly associated with goal success, and people who do so are 1.2-1.4 times more likely to achieve the goal. This is due in part to a process called encoding, where writing something down makes the information travel to our brain and helps us remember it better.
When you write down your goal, you’re essentially making your mind remember it more efficiently!
30. Get An Accountability Partner
Find a friend with similar goals and make a pact to hold each other accountable. Perhaps you two can go to the gym together and develop a weekly routine.
This will help you stay motivated because you won’t want to let your partner down, and having a workout buddy makes it much more fun!
31. Share Your Progress
Personally, I am not so big on social media. I regularly check Instagram, I sometimes get on Facebook, and I seldom get on Tik Tok (as a Gen-Z, it’s shocking for my generation, I know.)
However, these platforms can be a great way to stay motivated – especially if you don’t have an IRL accountability partner (IRL = in real life).
These platforms can help you build a community, get motivation, and the more you share, the more you will feel like staying consistent with your fitness goals.
This article was all about how to get motivated to work out.
Train your motivation like a muscle. Over time, it will be easier to get motivated. By making your workouts fun, manageable, and attainable, you are more likely to feel like working towards your goals.
Eating well and resting are both important components in your routine as well.
By following these tips, you will figure out which methods work best for you and find success. In no time, you will be more consistent with reaching your goals and have more fun!