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Ten Ways to Overcome Lack of Motivation to Exercise

Natalie
Stein
March 16, 2023
three women hiking on trail
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Ten Ways to Overcome Lack of Motivation to Exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways to improve health and manage weight, but does exercise ever stay on your “should-do” list instead of your “to-do” list? Staying motivated to be active is a common challenge. Fortunately, there are ways to boost motivation. Here are 10 ways to overcome lack of motivation to exercise. 

1. Write down your reasons.

It’s easier to feel motivated when you know why you are doing something. On paper or on your phone, write down your reasons for exercising. Common reasons include feeling better, controlling weight, lowering blood pressure or blood sugar, or being able to keep up with children or grandchildren. Look at your list often to remind yourself why you want to get moving.

2. Note your feelings.

An immediate benefit of exercise is that it can boost mood. To recognize and remember this, get in the habit of noticing how you feel every time you finish a workout. Compare those good feelings to how you feel on days that you don’t get active, and you may notice a difference. A new source of motivation to exercise may be that you want to feel happier, calmer, and more focused.

3. Schedule it in.

It’s easier to exercise when it is scheduled on your calendar. That way, you don't have to think about when to do it or even whether to do it. Get ready to exercise during that time slot, just like you would go to a scheduled meeting or appointment. 

4. Reward yourself.

It’s okay to bribe yourself when it’s for a good cause. Think of something that you want, and tell yourself you can have it after you finish your workout. It may be time with a good book, or a trip to a mall. 

5. Remove pressure.

Getting started is the most important part, but it can also be the hardest part. You can make it easier by taking off pressure. Tell yourself that you can start slow and keep your workout short and easy, if you want to, after you warm up. It’s far better to do a few easy minutes than to skip the whole thing because you are dreading it.

6. Make it fun.

What is fun for you? Is it hanging out with friends? Then join a team, gather friends together for walks, or hire a trainer for a small group. Do you love listening to music, podcasts, or audio books? Then get your headphones and get moving. Find something that turns your exercise time into a special time that you look forward to.

7. Work it into your lifestyle.

If you do not have time to do a dedicated exercise session, or you do not like the idea of going to the gym or taking a walk for the sake of exercise, you can get in your physical activity as part of your day. Gardening, housecleaning, walking to do your errands, packing bags of food and delivering them, and chasing errant balls at a youth sports practice can all burn calories and boost fitness.

8. Buy nice clothes.

While you may be tempted to work out in a baggy shirt and the oldest pair of sweatpants you can find, it actually helps to wear clothes that make you feel good. 

9. Sleep in your workout clothes.

When you wake up in your workout clothes, you are one step closer to working out. That could make the difference between getting moving and skipping your workout session for the day. You can use a similar trick without being a morning exerciser. Just make sure you always have workout clothes nearby, such as in your car. That way, you can get moving whenever you have the chance.

10. Relax and be flexible.

Exercise is for helping you, not for stressing yourself out or making you feel bad. Anything you do is good, even if it wasn’t what your schedule said to do. It’s okay to walk today instead of doing the exercise bike, or to lift weights instead of swim, if that is what you feel like doing. It’s still a win.

Exercise is one of the best medicines that we have, but sometimes we need extra motivation to actually do it. You can make it easier with some simple tricks. Plus, when you track exercise and use Lark, you can get personalized coaching to guide you as you work towards your weight loss and health goals. Lark is available 24/7 to count your wins and to help you reach your goals.

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