How to Workout Even When You Don't Want to

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You know you SHOULD workout, and a lot of the time you even want to workout.  But, sometimes it can be really hard to muster up the motivation to do it. With some forethought though, you can set yourself up for success!  Read on for 6 different ways to keep after it.

Schedule it on the calendar.

When you are planning your day, or your week, block out time on the schedule for a workout. If you know you are going to get sweaty, plan the time it will take to get a shower afterwards. If you workout at home, maybe you can knock it out first thing in the morning before you get ready for your day. When you go to a gym, you need to have all of your supplies packed and ready to get dressed at the gym after your workout. Plan that time into your day. It may mean you need to wake up an hour earlier. That's not as difficult as it seems, once it becomes a habit. You may find that the great feeling you have after exercise makes your mood so much better, the benefit of feeling great becomes your main reason to pop out of bed bright and early (or dark and early as the case more likely will be).

Work it into your habits.

To create a new habit, it helps to link it to an already established routine. So, since you already take a shower everyday, presumably, you can use that habit to trigger an exercise habit. You remember, "oh wait, before I shower, I'm going to do a 20 minute kettle bell workout".  Or, every evening when you get home from work, you might have a routine to change into comfortable clothes.  Use this as a trigger, and change into clothes appropriate for your exercise.

Put on your workout clothes.

That last point leads perfectly into the third, which is that when you put on the clothes for exercise, they serve as a reminder and subtle motivation to do the workout. Each time you see yourself in the mirror, you are reminded of your intention. Before you take off those clothes, promise yourself you will at least do a shortened or modified version of your workout. It is still a win if your 1 hour high impact cardio workout at the gym turns into a 7 minute set of burpees at home. Stuff happens that changes your plans, but at least you made exercise a priority.

Have an accountability partner.

If you have someone to answer to, it is much harder to skip your workout. Do you have a good friend who you can have join your gym with you, or walk together? If she is expecting you to show up, you will be there. You can support one another, showing up for her when she is lacking the drive to get going. I know that this takes much more planning to make it work, but there are so many benefits, not the least of which being that it makes exercising social and fun!

Do something you enjoy.

And speaking of fun, make sure you are doing something you enjoy. There are so many options, with Zumba classes and boot camps, kettle bell workouts and cycling. You can play tennis or basketball, or get into swimming. For me, I change it up often to keep my motivation up.

Reward yourself!

Rewards can be great motivation.  Is your love language receiving gifts? What better way to love yourself than to take great care of yourself with exercise, than reward that kind act with a wonderful treat? My suggestion is a healthy but higher calorie food item that you can only earn by a hard workout. I really enjoy making protein powder frappuccinos in my Magic Bullet. To make them I use cold strong coffee, some ice cubes, a half scoop of chocolate protein powder, and about 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. It is delicious! But, I know that I really don't need the extra calories of the protein powder unless I have done a hard weight training workout for at least one hour, with plenty of cardio to get really sweaty. That is my requirements for my reward. What would you enjoy for your reward?

Try out one or all of these tips to increase your consistency with exercising.


Photo credit: THE MERLIN PHUKET / Foter /Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)