50 Ways To Motivate Yourself To Work Out (When You Really Don’t Feel Like It)


1. Try a new playlist. Music is a very powerful motivator but it’s easy to get stuck in a rut with your own music. Here’s a great place to start.

2. Find a gym that has TVs on the treadmills and ellipticals, only allow yourself to watch your favorite show if you do it there.

3. Sign up for quarterly fun fitness activities like a mud run, that way you’re always working towards a big event you’ll want to be prepared for.

4. Find someone with a similar workout schedule to you and plan workouts together. Not only can it be more fun to workout with another person but you’ll have the extra accountability of not wanting to disappoint someone else by not showing up.

5. Working out is a great motivator for working out. That is, just starting and telling yourself you can quit after 10 minutes if you are still unmotivated. Chances are you’ll start to feel good in that amount of time and you’ll be able to finish your full workout.

6. Measure your progress. The scale can be disappointing because our weight fluctuates throughout the day, but a measuring tape doesn’t lie. Tracking progress can be great motivation to keep going.

7. Ditch your car if it’s possible and make yourself walk or bike to work. Or walk to the grocery store and carry your groceries home. Brainstorm little ways to replace things you are already doing with things that are also exercise.

8. Get a personal trainer at your gym (when there’s deals at the beginning of summer, black Friday, and new year’s, stock up). Space out your sessions depending on what you can afford but use it to keep your workouts fresh and have some accountability. For instance, have your trainer show you a routine, do it on your own for three weeks, and then have them show you something new.

9. Listen to an inspirational speech:


10. Set personal records in everything you do and write them down. Then, try to break them.

11. Next time you workout make a point to really think about how you feel afterwards. Paint as vivid a mental picture as you can so that the next time you’re struggling for motivation you can easily channel that post-workout high.

12. Get a new toy like a Jawbone or a Nike Fuelband. Tinkering around with it can inspire you to workout and help your stats out.

13. Start eating more protein so you have more energy! For today, splurge on a rare sugarfree Red Bull if you need a boost to get you to the gym.

14. Repeat after me, “It doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you do not stop.” If that doesn’t work, try these.

15. Imagine all the gym eye candy :)

16. Make an inspirational board on Pinterest and pin image macros that inspire you. Then, you can glance at this board when you need a little boost.

17. Make friends with the people of r/loseit.

18. Think about something you are stressed or angry about. Wouldn’t it feel great to imagine kicking that person or situation’s ass while you’re running?

19. Have goals and work towards them. Getting close to a new goal weight or personal record is often motivation enough.

20. Take baby steps at a time. Make yourself get in the car and drive to the gym. And then go in. And then lock your bag up. And then go to the exercise area. Just focus on the very next thing you have to do without considering the big picture.

21. By the time you’re having sex with someone, most people love the way you look, imperfections and all. However, when you workout and feel confident with how your body looks, you can let go and enjoy yourself a lot more in the bedroom.

22. Remember that you only have to do something for three weeks until it becomes a habit. You can do anything for three weeks.

23. Find a weekly TV show to keep up with that motivates you to improve your fitness. It could be watching professional sports or a weight loss show like Biggest Loser. My pick is Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team. It inspired me to try group dance classes at my gym, which I love.

24. Find a (non-food) reward you want to work towards. Maybe for every workout you complete, you get to put $5 towards your shopping/going out budget.

25. Make getting to the gym as easy as possible, switch to the one closest to your home or work. If it’s inconvenient to get to, it will be that much harder to find the motivation.

26. When you don’t want to go workout, identify the tangible obstacle that’s in your way and figure out how to get past it. Are you intimidated to use gym equipment? Get an employee to show you how to use it so you feel confident. Tired? Figure out your schedule so you’re getting enough sleep. Don’t let the same obstacle go on and on, unnamed.

27. Get your diet on track so you’re seeing the results you are working for. A lot of insurance plans will allow you a free or cheap initial visit with a dietician who can make a meal plan for you to make sure you’re eating the right amount — enough calories to have energy, few enough that you won’t gain weight — as well as the right kinds of foods to have your body feel good enough to workout.

28. Join a rec league and play soccer or softball or hockey — any team sport that will feel like an hour of fun instead of another obligation.

29. Hang a calendar on your wall and give yourself a star (or a happy face, or a check mark) every day you stick to your workout schedule. Over the course of the month you’ll find yourself motivated by wanting to see a full calendar.

30. Make a vision board and hang it on the inside of your closet door. Include words, phrases, and pictures of what your ideal life is like. Look at it every morning when you’re picking out your clothes for the day and strive to be better and better in everything (not just fitness related).

31. Try the app Pact, where you get paid to go to the gym, but you must pay others if you don’t.

32. Shopping. If you’re trying to lose weight shopping is tough because you don’t want to buy more clothes that won’t fit when you lose weight, and it’s dangerous to buy “aspirational” fit clothes. However spending a day doing a relaxing kind of cardio and finding one thing you really like can be helpful. A new sweater makes you feel good about yourself, which boosts your energy and can be motivational.

33. Grab a fitness magazine and read a story about someone accomplishing their goals. This one brought me to tears on the treadmill.

34. Start a blog about your fitness journey. It doesn’t need to be public, but writing about your journey can help motivate you because you’re excited to have new achievements to document. Bonus: you’ll probably read a lot of similar blogs in the process, they can be super inspirational.

35. This video:


36. Try something at the gym you’ve never tried before. Swimming? Bike riding? Rowing?

37. If your gym has a hot tub, promise yourself you’ll indulge after your workout. It always feels SO good and relaxing, even though it’s just hot water and jets. This one works especially well in winter.

38. Write out a list of reasons you started working out and keep it in your desk. Pull it out to review it when you’re forgetting why it’s so important to you.

39. When you schedule your workouts, set a funny phone alarm reminder that will let you know it’s time AND provide a mood boost.

40. Keep an extra set of workout clothes in your car or at a locker at the gym so that you can’t use a rushed morning or forgetting to get prepared as an excuse.

41. Resolve to be this guy.

42. Avoid big meals, especially if you haven’t worked out yet that day. Nothing zaps your motivation faster than feeling sleepy, sluggish and bloated.

43. When you go to the gym, talk to people. Become friendly with the receptionist who swipes your card, make small talk with the people who take the same classes as you. Seeing friendly faces (and looking forward to seeing people you know) subconsciously makes the gym a more enjoyable place to be.

44. I had a spin instructor that stared the class by congratulating everyone because the hardest part of the workout was already over — they got themselves in the door. The rest, all the hills and whatever else we were going to do that day was all easier than the act of just starting. I still think about that when I’m having trouble getting out the door. If I can just do that, the rest will be easier.

45. Change into your workout clothes. Even if you haven’t convinced yourself you’re going to the gym yet. Changing doesn’t take much effort and you’re a lot more likely to go afterwards.

46. Find a photo that inspires you to workout, like someone doing a yoga pose you haven’t mastered yet, and set it as the wallpaper on your work computer so all day long you’re getting yourself in the mindset to hit the gym.

47. Think about how much you hate people who make excuses and blame their actions (or inactions) on others. You don’t want to be that person, do you?

48. Plan a fancy event with your partner or your friends — one that will require you to dress up. Think about how good you’ll look when the day comes.

49. Remember you can do more sexual positions if you’re flexible and strong. :)

50. Instead of thinking about it and trying to find the motivation, just get up and get outside or in your car and go to the gym. Literally. Stop thinking. Just go. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Chrissy Stockton

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