Wednesday, November 7, 2018

How To Find Motivation to Workout

How to find motivation or how to stay motivated are probably the questions I get asked about the most.  And this time of year seems to be about when the motivation for exercise leaves us. There are so many reasons this can happen, and it's really normal for it to happen.  But it doesn't have to happen! There are ways for you to stay motivated, or get your motivation back if you've already started to lose it, to exercise and stay healthy.  Especially at this time of year when food is at every gathering, and all you want to do is curl up and stay warm! 

First, find the reason you're not motivated anymore.  These are some of the things that de-motivate me from running:

Bad weather. I hate running in the cold so winter kills me in the motivation area of running.

Not enough sleep. I think anyone who isn't well rested doesn't feel enough motivation to do anything.

Burn out. This happens when I push myself too hard too fast or when I don't take a day off now and then.

Lack or running buddy. Sometimes when my running friends are not able to run, it makes me want to just skip for the day.

Bad eating habits. I never feel good when I don't eat the right amount of food or when I eat nothing but junk. I know that the run is going to feel awful so I never want to do it.

Time of day. For some reason, my favorite time of day is around 2:00-3:00 pm. I really struggle to want to get up and run at 6:00 AM when it's still dark outside, and if it gets too late (especially now that it's getting dark at 5:00 at night) I'd rather read a book or watch tv.

I think a big part of feeling unmotivated comes from bad habits we start making, especially this time of year. We get in the habit of watching extra TV or eating extra candy. We sleep in longer. A lot of people don't want to go out in the cold to do anything (myself included 100000%) Nothing about being cold sounds fun to me. So if we can break those habits motivation will usually follow. "A body in motion tends to stay in motion". So what do you do when you don't feel motivated to run? How do you find that motivation? Here are a few ideas for you.

  • Make sure you get a good nights sleep.  I usually try to make it in bed by 10:30 pm, if not earlier.  Especially on the days I know I'm going to be waking up early, then I try to get to bed by 9:30.  It might make you feel old and boring when you go to bed that night, but your work out, and the rest of your day, will feel much better if you get a good amount of sleep. I try to shoot for 7-8 hours every night. 

  • If the weather is bad, you have two options: Suck it up, dress for the weather and go anyway.  And go running inside. The treadmill can be boring. I know, I feel that way sometimes too. But if you hate running in the rain or snow or any particular weather, running inside can feel ok.
    If the treadmill makes you crazy, schedule your run during your favorite TV show or podcast and watch/listen to it while you run. Make it your little bribe to yourself. 

  • Make a new goal. I don't think there is anything quite as motivating as seeing the progress that you're making towards a goal. And I know that once I hit a big goal, I tend to fall out of any motivation and want a break. Breaks are fine, but long breaks can turn into bad habits. Making a new goal for you might be exactly what jump starts your motivation again!
  • If you feel you're approaching a burnout, it's ok to take the day off. Try not to take too much time off, you don't want to lose everything you've gained in running. But, it's ok to take a day off if you need it. Let yourself rest, maybe do some low intensity, at home work out. Do some stretching and take the break.
    If you have a hard time eating right, there are so many things out there that can help you.  I like to have the junk food now and then, and I don't feel there's anything wrong with that. But most of the time, I try to stock my house with good, healthy food so that I have healthy snacks for us. And leftovers from dinner are usually my healthiest and easiest lunches. 
  • Make sure you eat every meal. And I don't just mean a granola bar and juice for breakfast. Eat something that will sustain your energy and help you eat better the rest of the day. When you have a good, healthy breakfast, it's easier for you to make smarter eating choices the rest of the day. 

  • If you do best at a particular time of day, try to make that time of day work. If you can't always make the time work, then plan a time for your workout and remind yourself of it all day long. Tell yourself you will do your workout at that time. Remind yourself throughout the day how great it will be to finally work out later. Or if you struggle getting up in the morning to work out, remind yourself when your alarm goes off how much better and more productive your day will be after. Then stick to it. When you get that great feeling of accomplishing your workout, you can use that for other days when you need extra motivation. 
  • If you're struggling with motivation in general, get yourself a work out buddy. Or at least someone who would hold you accountable.  If your running buddy can't make it, call or text them to let them know how far you're going to go. That way you'll feel like you need to do it. If you feel like you still don't want to do it, sometimes you just have to force yourself to do it. "The hardest step for a runner is the first one out the front door." It's not always true for me, but sometimes it is. And when I have those days, I find that if I just buck up and do it, I feel so much better once I get going. 

What makes it hard for you to find the motivation to working out?

How do you stay motivated?


  1. Great tips! Cold weather definitely makes me want to stay inside instead of going to work out! One thing I like about CrossFit is that the people there keep me accountable and will always ask why I missed a day. Getting good sleep is something I've struggled with this week and probably will for the rest of this semester with my weird work schedule.

    1. Having someone to answer to or that holds me accountable is one of the best things for me when it comes to working out.

  2. Great tips. I do my runs. But other than that I need the time and a buddy.

    1. I'm the same way! Strength training was never an easy thing for me to do until my mom started inviting me to a gym class she went to. We loved that class and I had all the motivation to go! And then my gym pass expired and so did hers and my motivation for strength training started to go out the window!

  3. I think we all struggle from time to time. Having a running buddy always gets me out there even in bad weather. I am so not an early morning runner!

    1. morning runs are not the easiest, especially this time of year! I did really good the last few years getting out in the morning, and I still do now but it's way harder for me and almost always ends up being a treadmill run. I'm not a fan of cold, dark runs.

  4. I wrote a similar blog today as I'm currently dealing with some lack of motivation myself. I really like all your tips, especially eating proper meals. I always have more energy when I eat a good breakfast!

  5. Extenuating circumstances are what make it hard for me. If I can just get out of bed when I set my alarm (97% of the time, I totally can), then I'm good to go. Right now, I'm struggling through some sinus and allergy nonsense so today was the first time I've been able to run or workout since Friday. It was really hard to get out there because I'm still not 100%, but once I laced up, it was on. I think sometimes, it's a fake it til you make it kind of thing.

    1. Yes! I have had to fake it till I make it too and I think that can be a huge help!

  6. I stay pretty motivated because I don't want to lose any of the fitness I've worked for LOL I also have the attitude that the workouts and running are a part of my life, but they are not my ENTIRE life. If I need a break, I take it.