It's hard to find the motivation to go to the gym or work out every day at home. You know it's good for you, but getting up and moving your body can be tough, especially if you're not used to it.
The most common reason for being demotivated is not seeing results. It can be discouraging if you don't see results from your workouts right away. It takes time and consistency to see changes in your body, but many people give up too soon.
Moreover, following the same workout routine every day can get pretty dull. That's why mixing things up and finding activities you enjoy is essential.
In addition, a lack of energy is a common reason why people skip their workouts. But exercise can give you more energy in the long run, so even if you're tired, try to push through it.
Lastly, not having time is one of the common excuses people often give themselves when skipping a workout. However, there are ways to fit exercise into your busy schedule. Even if it's just a 10-minute walk around the block, every little bit counts.
Now that we've covered some reasons you might be demotivated to work out; let's understand what motivation is and why it is crucial for establishing a consistent workout schedule.
What is Motivation?
Many elements are involved in following a proper workout schedule — setting fitness goals, being prepared, maintaining discipline, and sticking to them. Motivation is one of the most crucial yet most challenging things to come by. We wait for the motivation to exercise, expecting it to arrive one day.
It's easy to be motivated when planning a workout in the future, but much harder when the time comes to do the work. When you're rested and feeling good, it's easy to visualize yourself succeeding. But when reality hits and you have to get up early or go home after a long day at work, that motivation is suddenly hard to find.
Motivation is an internal process that makes us want to do things. It's what drives us to achieve our goals. There are two different types of motivation, extrinsic motivation, and intrinsic motivation.
- Extrinsic Motivation: This includes external rewards that make you want to work out. Some examples include looking good in a bathing suit or getting flat abs for your high school reunion; these can serve as incentives for exercising because they provide immediate rewards such as weight loss and praise.
- Intrinsic Motivation: This can be seen as an internal drive, like when you are excited about exercising because it feels good or the runner's high. This is important to you because of the immediate satisfaction of doing what you love the most. Internal motivators are a lot stronger than external ones. They don't just last for the moment but tend to stick with you and continue motivating your behavior in different ways over time.
A research study suggests that people who focus more on internal motivating factors, such as self-efficacy and enjoying the experience of working out, were more likely to succeed in long-term weight management than those who remained dependent on external motivators.
Barriers to Fitness Motivation
There are several causes for why we may not be as enthusiastic about working out as we should be. Some of these factors are the real roadblocks that we must overcome, such as:
- Sedentary Lifestyles: We now sit more than ever at work and at home. According to one study, the average person spends about 10 hours a day sitting.
- Lack of time: We live in a fast-paced world where it's hard to find time for things that don't seem urgent. Exercise is often seen as something we do for fun or recreation, so it can be put on the back burner when we're busy. But if we consider it essential for our health, we may be more likely to make time for it.
- Cost: Gym memberships and fitness classes can be expensive, and not everyone has the money to spare. Some ways to exercise without spending much money, such as walking, running, or working out at home. You may also buy cost-effective at-home gym accessories like a yoga mat to achieve your fitness goals.
- Lack of Knowledge: It can be hard to get motivated if you don't know where to start or what exercises are best for you. That's why it's essential to research and find a workout plan that fits your needs.
- Injury: If you've been injured, getting back into an exercise routine can be tough. But it's important to talk to your doctor and start slowly, so you don't risk further injury.
Mental barriers can also keep us from being motivated to exercise. These include:
- Procrastination: We all do it — we put off things we don't want to do until later. Often, we know we should exercise, but we keep putting it off because it's not fun or we don't feel like it.
- Perfectionism: If you're a perfectionist, you may have trouble starting an exercise routine because you're afraid you won't be able to stick with it. Or you may start working out regularly and then miss a day, which can lead to quitting altogether. It's important to remember that everyone has setbacks — the key is to get back on track as soon as possible.
- Fear of failure: This is similar to perfectionism, but it's more focused on the fear of not being good enough. You may be afraid you're not fit or strong enough to exercise. But the truth is that everyone has to start somewhere. So don't be afraid to give it a try.
Now that we've covered some reasons you might be demotivated to work out, let's move on to the tricks that can help you stay motivated.
How to Motivate Yourself to Exercise?
You could be required to dig much deeper to discover a compelling incentive to get out of bed. Maybe you need a treat, such as: "I'll be able to spend an hour watching Netflix if I do my workout this morning." Whatever it is, you may have to go through many options before finding the perfect one that motivates you to get up and move.
Setting up an environment that encourages exercise habits is another way to stay motivated. Some of the steps that you can take to create an exercise-friendly environment include:
- Keep Things Interesting: If you're bored with your workout routine, you will not be motivated to do it. So it's crucial to find ways to keep things interesting. If you're bored with your current workout routine, try something new. You can try many fitness activities, from hiking and swimming to dancing and martial arts. Even if you're doing the same activity, you can mix things up by changing your workouts' intensity, duration, or frequency.
- Do Your Own Thing: You don't have to do what everyone else does. If you're not a gym person, that's OK. You can find other ways to be active that fit your personality and lifestyle. Maybe you prefer working out at home, going for walks or runs outdoors, or playing team sports. It's also essential to find an exercise you enjoy. If you hate running, there's no reason to force yourself to do it. There are plenty of other options out there. Find something you enjoy and make it a part of your routine.
- Get Support: It can be tough to stay motivated on your own, so you must get support from friends, family, and others who share your fitness goals. There are many online communities and forums where you can connect with others. Having people to talk to and share your experiences with can affect your motivation.
- Find Your ‘Why’: It's also essential to find your "why." In other words, what is your motivation for wanting to get fit and healthy? Maybe you want to lose weight, improve your energy levels, or reduce your risk of developing health conditions like heart disease. Keep your reasons in mind when you're feeling tempted to skip a workout or make unhealthy choices.
- Treat Yourself to New Outfit: Treat yourself to a new workout outfit if you've been working hard to lose weight or get in shape. This will give you something to look forward to and help you stay motivated.
- Wear Your Activewear Beyond the Gym: Don't limit your activewear to the gym. Wear it out and about as part of your everyday life. This will help you stay motivated and active, even when you're not working out.
- Turn Everyday Activities into Mini-Workouts: Make fitness a part of your everyday life by turning everyday activities into mini-workouts. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or park further away from your destination to take some extra steps.
- Take Progress Pictures: Progress pictures can be a great motivator, especially if you are trying to lose weight or build muscle. Take a picture of yourself every few weeks to see your progress over time. This can help you keep going.
- Focus on Health and Happiness — Not Your Hips: The key to a lasting fitness motivation is to focus on your health and happiness — not your weight or dress size. This will help you maintain a healthy mindset and prevent you from getting discouraged.
- Think About Positive Memories Only: When it comes to motivation, focus on positive memories only. This means recalling times when you felt good after a workout or met a fitness goal. Don't think about times when you didn't feel like working out or when you skipped a workout.
Creating a mantra can help you stay positive, motivated, and focused on your goals. Choose a phrase that inspires you and repeat it to yourself whenever you need a boost. Some examples of mantras include: "I am strong,” "I can do this," "I am worth it," "I am capable," and "I am powerful."
1. How do you motivate yourself to get moving?
We all have unique triggers and means of inspiration when it comes to motivation. Some of us are highly self-motivated and require little outside encouragement to stay on track, while others need a bit more support to maintain momentum. For me, setting small goals helps. For example, I will initially plan to go to the gym for only three days a week; once I'm there, I will try and do a little more than I planned.
Another thing that works for me is having a friend or family member come with me because then I feel like I'm accountable to someone else, and it's harder to make excuses not to go.
Finally, bribes work well for me, too. So if I tell myself that I'll allow myself to watch an extra episode of my favorite show if I go today, it gives me that extra push to get out the door!
2. What are the 4 best tricks to stay motivated?
Here are four tricks that have worked for me:
- Making a playlist of my favorite songs gets me pumped up for a workout.
- Finding an exercise buddy who holds me accountable and motivates me to stick to my routine.
- Rewarding myself with something special after completing a strenuous workout – like buying myself a new pair of sneakers or taking a long bath.
- Mixing up workouts so I don’t get bored and challenge myself to do something new each time.
3. How do I avoid being so lazy?
There's no single answer to this question - each person has to find a way of avoiding laziness. However, here are a few general tips that might help you out:
- Find out what motivates you. What is it that inspires you to get up and get things done? Once you know your motivations, you can use them to fight against laziness.
- Set yourself small goals, and then reward yourself for achieving them. This will help create a sense of accomplishment and make it more likely that you'll stick with your goals in the future.
- Make sure that you're getting enough sleep each night. When we're tired, achieving the everyday goals on our to-do lists is more challenging.
4. What causes a lack of motivation?
A lack of motivation can be caused by many things, including tiredness, stress, boredom, or feeling overwhelmed. It can also be caused by a lack of clarity about what you want to achieve.
One of the best ways to overcome a lack of motivation is to take a step back and figure out what's causing it. Once you know the cause, you can start addressing it head-on. For example, if you're feeling overwhelmed, try breaking down your goals into smaller, more manageable chunks. Or, if you don't know what it is you want to achieve, take some time to figure out your passions and interests.
The Bottom Line
Motivation is probably the one thing we struggle with most when beginning our fitness journey. Rather than letting your motivation fade, consider what you truly desire for yourself beyond weight loss and looking good. We have shared a few of the best fitness motivation tricks to help you get up and moving. Find what works for you and make it a part of your routine. Remember, the key to lasting motivation is to focus on your health and happiness — not your weight or dress size. So keep that in mind when you're tempted to skip a workout or make unhealthy choices.
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- Ramirez-Andreotta, Monica D., et al. “Understanding the Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations Associated with Community Gardening to Improve Environmental Public Health Prevention and Intervention.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 16, no. 3, Feb. 2019, p. 494. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16030494.
- Teixeira, Pedro J., et al. “Exercise Motivation, Eating, and Body Image Variables as Predictors of Weight Control.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, vol. 38, no. 1, Jan. 2006, pp. 179–88. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.1249/01.mss.0000180906.10445.8d.
- Yang, Lin, et al. “Trends in Sedentary Behavior Among the US Population, 2001-2016.” JAMA, vol. 321, no. 16, Apr. 2019, pp. 1587–97. Silverchair, https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2019.3636.