Updated: Aug 5, 2021
Nobody wakes up with a spring in their step every single day, sometimes it just feels harder to get going. There is a difference between having the odd off day and constantly making excuses not to exercise however.
Lack of motivation is one of the most common barriers to exercise but with a few simple adjustments to your daily routine, you can overcome this.
Being organised is key for maintaining motivation. Try to decide which days and times you’re going to exercise at the beginning of each week and then make it as easy as possible for this to happen.
It’s also really helpful to determine what time of day you feel more energetic. Some people prefer to exercise first thing in the morning whereas others have more energy later in the afternoon.
If you’re planning to exercise before work, get your kit ready the night before. If you want to prevent yourself going straight from the office to the sofa, have a set of gym clothes in your work bag.
By actively planning your workouts and setting intentions, you’re far more likely to do it.
If you’re just starting out, remember to take small steps. If you haven’t exercised in months, don’t try and jump straight into six sessions a week. Start with a couple and then build yourself up gradually. Setting yourself a mammoth task will be daunting which can make it difficult to get started in the first place.
Determine what keeps you accountable
Accountability is a great tool for motivation so determine what makes you turn up to each session. Maybe you’ve set yourself a challenge, committed to going to a class with a friend, booked a session with a personal trainer or announced your goal on Instagram.
Setting goals will really help to keep you accountable because if you know your why, this will motivate you to keep going even on those days you really don’t feel like it. Maybe you’re training for an event, want to get into a particular pair of jeans, would love to be able to walk up the stairs without getting out of breath, want to run faster, lift heavier or set a good example for your children.
Find something you love
People often do certain exercises because they feel they ‘should’ rather than because they want to. Whether it’s walking around the park, doing a Zumba class, running, lifting weights in the gym or doing an online class in your living room, find a form of exercise you truly love.
If you enjoy it, you will look forward to your sessions rather than make excuses not to do them.
Track your progress
We’re more motivated to push ourselves when we can visually see our activity levels. Anyone who tracks their steps for example, will know how addictive it can be trying to make sure you get your 10,000 steps in.
Fitness trackers are great for collecting data which shows how you’re progressing. Being able to see that you’ve run faster or further compared to the month before for example, provides a massive sense of achievement which in turn, increases motivation.
If you don’t have a fitness tracker, there are many other ways you can record your performance. If you’re lifting weights, you can keep a note in your phone of how much you’re lifting, you can take progress photos, do your measurements or use your watch or phone to time how long you’re running for.
Remember, nutrition is important too
If you’re constantly making poor food choices, you’re not going to feel great mentally or physically. What’s more, if you’re lacking energy, it’s going to make it very difficult to psych yourself up for an energetic session.
Try to incorporate plenty of fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and protein into your diet. Rather than having just a yoghurt for example, mix some fruit in. Roast some vegetables and add them to pasta. If you fancy a treat, rather than having chocolate, have a protein bar. This way you still get your sweet fix with the added protein.
You can go too far the other way too. Eating too little will drain your energy and can have a massive impact on your performance while exercising.
For more great tips on motivation, have a read of ‘what to do when you’ve lost your exercise mojo.’