It happens to all of us. I will happily admit that, although 90% of the time I look forward to and enjoy working out, occasionally that last 10% – particularly during winter when the days are darker, longer and colder – I’m struggling to find the motivation to put on my trainers and move my body.
On windy and rainy days, after a long day of work, all I want to do is curl up in my pyjamas with a generous serving of peanut butter, a mug of Chai tea and a good movie. But, I usually manage to convince myself to do it, and I always feel better once I have; then I can curl up with my peanut butter!
So here they are, my top tips for finding the motivation to workout when it’s the last thing you feel like doing.
1. A change – Switch up your music playlist so that you don’t get bored listening to the same tracks. Perhaps buy some new gym kit to encourage you to workout – although I don’t mean every time you lose motivation! Most importantly, try changing up your workout routine. I find that if I’m just doing the same workout or style of exercise too often, I just get bored and no longer find it challenging.
Whether this means signing up to a new kind of class at your gym. Taking up a new sport, or just finding a new workout plan online. There are many free workouts available online you can try.
If you subscribe to a fitness or health magazine, keep a look out for their great workouts to try. Most importantly, pick something that you find fun, or that you can create a goal for – such as achieving a new pose in yoga by practising regularly.
2. Write it in your diary – putting it down on paper as an appointment consolidates your intentions. It’s harder to wriggle out of it when it is viewed as an event in your day.
To make it more like an appointment, perhaps arrange to workout with a friend – that way you can’t cancel without letting them down. Chances are you’ll also find the exercise more fun and be able to encourage each other.
3. Sleep – we all know how important sleep is. I’ve been there – you go to bed too late, wake up exhausted, and the last thing you can imagine doing is exercise. It becomes a nasty cycle, constantly draining you of motivation.
I find that getting off screens at least 1 hour before bedtime and going to bed at a reasonable time helps to boost my energy levels. If you like to workout first thing in the morning, set out your gym kit the night before – seeing it there in the morning will help you to get going!
4. A positive mindset – I’m amazed at the effect that our minds can have on our actions. Having a positive attitude helps me to achieve what I set out to do. It’s something that I often struggle with, and I can be quite negative some of the time, so it’s something that I’m working to change. If you convince yourself that you are capable of something, for example that you want to workout, it will increase your chances of actually doing it. I find that reminding myself of how good I’ll feel after a workout, as well as how rubbish I’ll feel if I skip it, usually persuades me to go and get sweaty.
5. Less is more – sometimes the best way to get your exercise in when you’re lacking motivation or even if you’re busy is to do it little and often.
You don’t have to spend hours in the gym. There are so many HIIT workouts, and short, intense options you can include. Just set aside some time in your day for some short amount of sweating. SOME exercise is better than none!
6. Incentives – Create rewards to encourage you to workout. I tend to do this in the form of food – a delicious recovery smoothie or breakfast. Whatever works for you! As long as it’s not something that will undo all of your hard work!