When I was in my 20s, I lived with a lady who got up at 4:30am to get to the gym before work. She was a self-professed not-morning person, so one day I asked her how she managed it. Her answer?
She slept in her gym clothes. It’s a genius idea.
Let’s be honest. No one is always motivated to workout. This can be a hard thing to admit. Society tells us that we should have no problems with being motivated, let alone fitting a workout into your day. But it’s actually quite difficult to stay motivated sometimes. This is especially true when exercise is a new habit, or when your routine is significantly changed (hello, COVID-19).
A big part of my job is actually helping people understand that there absolutely can be a difference between what you see in the fitness-related media (magazines, websites, TV shows) and how you actually feel about working out. That is, you don’t have to love it, or even like it 100% of the time. You do not have to always be super gung-ho motivated.
Four things that help you stay motivated
This won’t be the first thing you’ll read to tell you to find something that you enjoy doing. Not surprisingly, enjoying what you do helps a lot. The whole “no pain, no gain” mindset is not a great one – really, who wants to hurt themselves? And it has some pretty big potential drawbacks, like physical injuries
Enjoying what you do for exercise makes it a whole less lot like a chore. It doesn’t have to be intentional “exercise” either; some of my best workouts have come from gardening. Take a look at what you do regularly in life that gets you moving, especially if it helps get your heart rate up or gets you moving in different ways than you might normally.
Thinking outside the box is helpful when stuck in one place. Make your workout worth doing. What can you do around home that gets you moving, and that you need to do anyway? Lots of bigger household chores are a good workout and help you get things done.
Of course, keeping your goal in mind makes a difference too. If you want something badly enough, you’ll make it happen! Which, e… but you might not realize how much you don’t connect the effort and the outcome, in the moment. It’s so easy to find reasons not to work out. I often struggle with the excuse of “I really should do these other things…” and let that derail you. It can be helpful to keep a small reminder of your goal nearby, or near where you might be if you’re putting exercise off.
And remember, you won’t always enjoy it, and you don’t have to. No one likes to talk about it, but “work” is part of work out. I wrote this piece about staying motivated a while ago. It was inspired by some of the different things people to do keep themselves going, especially when feeling unmotivated. It’s actually one I go back to frequently in my own efforts to keep on track! Hopefully some of this might help you too.