How to Motivate Yourself to Workout?

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You have a vision of yourself: fit, healthy and beautiful, but when you look in the mirror it's probably a different story, right? Even though you have an end goal in mind, it can be hard to find the motivation to get started, or to continue when you hit a roadblock.

Losing weight or getting fit is full of rewards, but the path to it can be the challenge of a lifetime. Just because you didn't wake up with the motivation to work out, doesn't mean you can't change. It's all a mind game. 

Master your thoughts and behavior and you'll yield the success.

There are numerous ways to get yourself motivated to workout. The beauty is that it all depends on you. But if you need some tips and ideas, continue reading for ideas on how to get motivated to work out.

Establish a Goal

This might be the most relevant tip I can give you. Before you get started, establish an end goal. But more importantly set up smaller, flexible milestones along the way to keep you motivated. 

Chances are if you tell yourself you want to lose 10 pounds in two months, you're likely to get discouraged. Everyone is different. 

Just because your gym buddy was able to drop three pounds in one week, doesn't mean you're not going to reach your goal. It's almost impossible to know how your body will react to your regimen.

Why Do We Need Goals?

Goals are essential for anyone who wants to achieve anything. Whether you're a business person, athlete or student, goals are there to keep you focused and motivated through the rough times. 

Set yourself up for success by establishing small, attainable targets along your journey. For example, take it month by month. Tell yourself that by the end of this month you will run one mile without stopping. As opposed to saying your goal is to have lost two lbs. 

But make sure your goals are sharp and clear; this will provide you with a sense of achievement when you reach them. It has also been proven that setting yourself small milestones will give you the motivation to continue. This will make the end goal seem more achievable.

Setting an End Goal

To set up your end goal, consider what you wish to have achieved once you get there. 

Think long term. This should be your lifetime goal. Do you want to be healthy? Fit to be a professional athlete? It can be anything, just give it some thought. 

Maybe write down a few categories and divide, subtract, add, as you like. As long as you get a clear vision of where you want to be.

You might also want to watch this video on how to set fitness goals (and achieve them):


Set up a plan. To-do lists of how you're going to reach that end goal are good ways to stay on course. Every day have a new to-do with a small target each week or month. 

These smaller steps don't have to be anything dramatic. For your first week, it could be that you feel more confident or maybe you're able to run a bit further. Keep progressing your milestones to fit your current level and let it challenge you a bit. 

But most importantly, make sure these milestones fit your lifestyle. You're the sculptor, design your work according to your needs.

Reward Yourself

If you often feel it's difficult to get motivated to work out, you may want to remodel your approach. It has been proved that if you allow yourself a reward after finishing your workout, you're more likely to complete it.

Now, keep in mind that your reward shouldn't be fatty or sugary food. Rather maybe your prize could be an hour of your favorite show or a stop at your local coffee house for a healthy, delicious smoothie. 

If you find it difficult getting up for your morning workout, you could for a change go for a run outside. Allow yourself to stop and take a scenic photo for your Instagram after you've reached a certain distance ;).

Try to create a habit from this. Get your gear ready before your workout, so it's there as a reminder. Get a clear vision of your reward, that you're only allowed to have upon completion. 

After some time, your brain will adapt to the reward-like sensation and will be able to associate it with exercise. Eventually, you probably won't even need the prize because your mind has established the workout as the bonus.

Make a 'Public' Commitment

We all know that feeling when you told your squad that you wanted to be able to run for 30 minutes straight. But then you didn't achieve it and became a public failure among your friends. That feeling stinks. Not only did you disappoint yourself, but you have your buddies to remind you.

When we make a public commitment or goal, the likelihood is that we'll fulfill it in order to avoid the feelings of embarrassment. This is why it's a good idea to involve your friends or siblings in your progress. Let them know your goals and they may even help to remind you.

Social Media

Influencers and motivators are all over the social media platforms; we're all caught gasping, wishing and hoping to look or be like them. But the fact is, more and more people are coming forth to share their journey online for the world to see. 

I know this is not for everyone, I for one, wouldn't have the nerve to do it. But it has been proven that those who publicly share their progress with photos and blogs are in fact, more likely to stay motivated. This is probably due to the audience, but they will eventually lose more weight.

So, would you have the courage to share your progress?

Think Positive

It's never fun when the alarm clock interrupts your beauty sleep at 5 am. All you want is throw it against your wall and tuck your head under the soft pillow for an extra hour of sleep. But this would mean missing out on your workout. 

My advice to you is to rethink your thoughts. You think your bed is comfortable? Well, how awesome would you feel knowing that you got up anyway and finished your workout? How great the extra energy would feel. The confidence you'd gain from the endorphin release and that you're one step closer to your end goal.

Teach your mind to look on the bright side, beyond your excuses to stay in bed. Maybe focus on how bad you'd feel when it's time for your monthly weigh-in. You’ll quickly notice you've lost nothing because you couldn't get out of bed, or off the couch.

Recognize what's holding you back and find a solution to the block. For example, if you can't seem to feel positive about an early morning workout, consider finding another time to do it. Place yourself on the spot and think of an answer.

Positive thinking is the source of good health and wellness. One positive thought is likely to change a dozen bad ones. Just focus on the good things and your motivation will come back.

Feel Confident

Whether your goal is weight loss, toned muscles or a bodybuilding contest, it all takes time. It's not uncommon to feel self-conscious and discouraged if your progress is slower than you expected. 

But during these times, it's essential to think positive. Remind yourself of how far you've already come and feel confident. Give yourself a booster and a pat on the back for your achievements, even if it's just for getting started. You can get through this rough time. 

If you feel stuck in your routine, try mixing it up with other activities or exercises. If you're used to cardio, try a yoga session. Do some strength training a few times a week, or try to switch up your diet.

Workout Buddy

It's not always easy getting yourself motivated to do the same routine alone. Or you may feel you're missing out on your social time. A workout buddy is a great solution to this problem. 

Ask your friends or a colleague, someone from the gym or a sibling, if they can do one or two sessions with you during the week. Essentially, anyone who shares your interest or desire to workout, but may also need a little company. 

A study on how to motivate astronauts to do vigorous exercises in preparation for a space journey, as well as keeping fit during it, proved that those who were assigned a buddy had more drive to get started

It's always a great feeling having someone to cheer you on and who's ready with a high-five as you finish. When you struggle to get through that last rep, it's likely to give you an extra kick to finish strong.

Fitness Community

Become part of a fitness community, or squad, whatever you'd like to call it, there are plenty of options nowadays. These are online platforms you can join where you'll find other people going through the same problem of not feeling motivated. 

If you're into weightlifting, weight loss, cardio or aerobics, you're sure to find one that fits your needs.

Two examples are MyFitnessPal and Fitbit.

  • MyFitnessPal is excellent for weight loss. It lets you log your food intake and count the calories. It will help you figure out how much you should eat and how much you need to work out to lose the weight. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight once you've reached your goal. You can share your experience with a community of fellow exercisers who are also in need of motivation or tips. 
  • Fitbit is another online community which lets you track your progress. They provide you with follow-along workouts, meal plans, a step counter and a sleep tracker if you purchase their wearable device. 

Keep a Fitness Log

A fitness log is much like a food diary. You'll write down your routine and then you can add a checklist, for example, to mark the different exercises as done. 

Try to leave a space where you can write about how you're feeling before and after your workout. Then on the days where you're feeling down or unmotivated, you can read how great you felt last Thursday when you finished that 20-minute HIIT session. 

It can also be a reminder that you need to get active. For instance, if your journal is placed on your kitchen table every morning when you eat breakfast, it's there to remind you. 

You can keep track of your improvement and your goals. Perhaps write down small motivational notes for the future you for when you think you may be struggling. 

This might just be a fun reminder which you can then reflect on your fitness journey. It could even give you that push get up because the old, lazy, unmotivated you knew it was worth it. 

If you don't want to make your own journal, you can print this training log from the Center of Disease and Control (CDC). They have also written down a few motivational cues, health-wise, to remind you how your workouts are improving your health.

Remember Why You Started

When times are tough, most of us know how easy it is to throw in the towel. There comes a time for any fitness enthusiast, whether you're a newbie or an old hand, that you'll hit a wall or a motivational vacuum. During this time, remind yourself why you started. 

Cast your mind back and reflect on how hurt you felt when you weren't able to join your friends on the roller-coaster because you were too big. When you didn't dare to wear that t-shirt because you looked fat. 

Picture your old self, and then look at you now. How far you've come. How much you've grown. Let yourself know that this is the new and improved you and that won't ever change.

Do a Challenge

Any Pinterest fanatic, such as myself, knows just how many weight loss, muscle building, butt enhancing, arm sculpting challenges there are out there. 

Now, these may not always be effective or have scientific proof behind them, but they are called challenges for a reason. A solid seven-day ab challenge might just be what you need to get out of your workout blues.

Maybe you'll be able to discover a new exercise or speed up your muscle toning process that might have slowed down recently. You can even involve your workout buddy and you can compete to see who is making the most progress.

Find a Favorite Workout

Unfortunately, many of us often find that we're doing specific exercises just because we think they are the ones that are going to get us further. But chances are, if you continuously run on the treadmill even though you don't enjoy it, your motivation is going to feel it. 

Experiment with various exercises and workouts. Maybe invest some money in a set of resistance bands if you haven't already. These allow you to work different muscle groups, with one tool. 

Try something new by channeling your inner child and use a trampoline. These are great for aerobic exercises and will give you the feel-good factor afterwards.

You could also move out of your comfort zone and do some martial arts, such as boxing or karate. This is where working out at home is a big plus. You're able to look as ridiculous as you can, trying to punch the air, without anyone laughing at you. 

You never know, boxing might be your thing. This is also excellent to get that bottled up frustration out.

Try a Fitness Tracker

Technology rules today's world. Everywhere you look there is tech. So why not utilize it for your workout? 

Fitness trackers have a fantastic ability to keep you motivated. Some will remind you when it's time to leave the chair and take a walk. Others can track your heart rate to help you reach your maximum. Whatever it does, it's usually worth it. 

Fitness trackers can also help you set realistic goals. We often want to think better of ourselves and unfortunately, this usually leads to unachievable goals. We've all been there; watching a weight loss program and thinking our journey will be the same. When in reality, it will take more time.

Distract Yourself

We all have a favorite show. You sit at your desk all day, counting the hours till you're finished and can go home and hibernate in front of the TV. But you promised yourself you would do a workout. So what should you choose?

The beauty of having machines, primarily an exercise bike, is that you can easily place it wherever you want. Put on your favorite show and pedal away.

You could also blast your favorite song while you follow a high energy spinning class. If you're feeling a bit down, music could be the best medicine. It has a way of lifting bad moods and depressive symptoms, which may be the reason you're feeling unmotivated. 

What about an audiobook? Find an exciting story and allow yourself 20 pages per workout for example. Then you're motivating yourself for tomorrow because you want to know the end. 

Take a Break

Just like you'd burn out from work, you can burn out from exercising. If you're continually choosing to work out over your social life, it's bound to wear on you. 

Try mixing up your routine to fit in some more ‘you’ time. Take a small break if you need to. Keep in mind that healthy living should be long term, which means it has to be sustainable. 

Of course, you don't have to be excited before every workout. But if you're always feeling unmotivated, it might be as a result of forgetting your other needs.

Have a Rest Day

If you didn't already know, workouts are supposed to make you feel good, stronger and more confident. But if you're finding your body sore, or you feel down or moody, it could be time for a rest day.

If you're too focused on your end goal, it might be hard to remember to rest enough. But rest is essential when working towards a goal. It gives your body time to adjust and refuel before going all out again.


There's a vast ocean of motivational tips out there. But here you have a few. The bottom line is that in the end, it will depend on you. As I mentioned earlier; it's a mind game. We all tend to get stuck sometimes. But having the tools to get out of it is essential. 

It's okay to have an off day, where you're just not feeling it. But those days might just be the best workout you'll ever have. Where you gave your all, continued even though you didn’t want to, and felt stronger than ever.  

Do you often feel unmotivated? Or maybe you have a unique motivational method you'd like to share. Please leave a thought in the section below.

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