8 Ways to Motivate Yourself To Workout (when you really don’t want to)

8 ways to motivate yourself to workout

I try to exercise around 4-5 times a week, whether it be a run, a fast walk, or body pump or cardio class. I consider working out one of my top hobbies – I love the endorphins, I consider taking care of my body and brain a top priority in my life, and it’s a major stress reliever for me. Let’s also not forget that I have to balance out my intense love for ice cream, cheese, and carbs.

Yet, there are many days when the last thing I want to do is drag myself to the gym and workout for 60 minutes. I want to go home and just crash or be lazy.


I’m the queen of making up a million reasons why I shouldn’t go. It’s raining. I’m hungry. I should do laundry. I have cramps. I had a long day. It’s going to be too crowded. I will after I take a nap. I deserve a day off. I want ice cream.

I need a routine and I need motivation.

Here are my top ways of keeping myself motivated to work out, when I really really won’t want to.

1. Tell Yourself You’re Only Going to Workout for 15 Minutes

They say that 80% of success is simply showing up. As soon as I start a work out I almost instantly get into the “groove”. So by telling myself I’m only going to walk for 10 -15 minutes,  barely even pushing myself, I get myself started. My body starts to wake up after about 5 minutes and soon enough I  find myself running at full speed and nearing the end of a 45 minutes workout. I’ve never ever regretted a workout.

2. Reward Yourself

Set up small and instant rewards for yourself. For example, I tell myself that I can have uninterrupted couch time and binge on my favorite TV shows the evening after a work out. Maybe a long and relaxing bubble bath, a night free of chores,  or a bowl of your favorite snack is an incentive for you.

3. Bring a Buddy

A work out buddy holds you accountable and makes going to the gym seem like more of a social activity. Help each other, push each other. Make it fun!

4. Give Yourself A Results Goal

Print out a picture of a new dress or bathing suit you’d like to buy for the summer. Make the destination of you summer vacation the wall paper of your phone or work computer. Look at photos of you in a healthier state. Visualizations of goals I want to meet help me realize that they are in the near future – meaning I better get my butt in gear sooner rather than later!

5.  Put Out You Gym Clothes The Night Before (or wear them all day!)

If you go to the gym after work, pack your gym bag and put it in your car the night before. Or, if you can, wear a part of your work out gear to work. I’ve been known to wear my sports bra under my work day sweater or top (I work in a very casual office though). If you’re a morning exerciser lie out your work out clothes right next to your bed so you can’t miss them. Better yet, if you need a real push,  sleep in them!

6. Remember How Good You’ll Feel When You’re Done

As I said above, I never ever regret a work out once I complete one. Try to visualize how amazing you’re going to feel after your run. Those endorphins are game changers! If I’m tired – I wake up. If I have cramps or fatigued feelings – working out always improves them. If I’m feeling depressed or anxious working out helps resolve some of those issues. Oh and that sweet burn, toxin release, and feeling of accomplishment! Can’t beat it!

7. Stay Positive. Smile

This may sound obvious, or even a little cheesy, but nothing will kill your motivation like a negative attitude. I find that if I make a firm intent in the morning to work out after work and smile while thinking about following through with it, I’m much more likely to end up working out. By the way, smiling helps me when I’m actually in the middle of a run or a body pump class as well. When I feel like I can’t push anymore, I break out in a big smile and it helps to open up my brain a little. (Remember mind over matter) Try it.

To help you smile here is a totally weird gif of poodles and “she poodle” doing aerobics:

workout poodles silly weird

8. Think About The Money Being Wasted

Think of the money you are wasting by underutilizing your gym membership. I pay a monthly fee for my gym membership but I like to look at it as a per day charge.  My husband and I pay $72 a month – which comes down to $2.32 a day. If I don’t go for 5 days in a row – that’s wasting $11.60. I would never just throw out $11.60 on anything, or even $2.32. You’re paying for it, use it!

What motivates you to keep up with your workout routine?

xoxo Katie



  • Girl, I was just talking about this with a friend today. I run with my mom and that’s the 100% best way to keep myself moving and going… But the rain that happens every once in a while in CA can be the biggest deterrent for my routine. Ugh.

    I’ve found the before and after pictures can help me. Even if just my face before the run and after. There’s something about the rosy cheeks and a smile on my face (because how can you skip smiling when you’ve gone and done a run!?!)

    • kwalshmac

      How lucky you are to have a running partner in your mom! I like the idea of the before and after pictures from the same day. I’ve looked at past pictures of myself in a healthier (usually just skinnier) state and tend to get more discouraged. Because, let’s face it, I’m never going to be as thin as I was at 22. But my legs are stronger than ever and I have more muscle than I ever did before. Let’s be proud! Let’s brag! Let our pats on our backs push us to run faster and further. 🙂

  • The cost one is what works the best for me!! I can’t stand the thought of wasting money on the gym and then not going, but I’m proud when I get a very low “cost-per-use” out of a one-month membership at the gym.

    • kwalshmac

      Yes! And gym memberships can get quite pricey! My gym even has the option to put your membership on “hold” for a month or two if you don’t anticipate using it, which is great. There have been times when Ryan had been too busy to go for an entire month. I get so angry about wasting money.

  • Yes! These are fantastic! Having a buddy to workout with is what motivates me the most, I think.

    • kwalshmac

      Friends are the best! I got so sad when my one friend could no longer go to my favorite class with me. It makes it so much harder for me to go knowing she’s not going to be there. I try to have fake little competitions in my head with the strangers in my class. Sometimes that helps.

  • Really, when I had a gym membership, the only thing that motivated me to go was having classes that I liked, that were set at the same time every week. I like having time scheduled for exercise, but if I just tell “I’ll go when I’m done working” it somehow never happens! Maybe I need to actually put my workout schedule in my phone, so I’ll be more likely to actually see it and do it.

    • kwalshmac

      I agree, having a routine is very important. I know to fit in that specific time in my schedule every week. Even my family and friends learn to know the times I’m not available so there isn’t any temptation to skip class for cocktails or something else more fun. I hope putting your workout schedule in your phone helps you! Make a commitment!

  • I think we’re on the same wavelength this week! I wrote up a similar post over the weekend for this Friday! I slacked off so much last month — and while I don’t pay as much for my membership as you do (ouch! I get three months nearly for your one!), it still stung when I thought about my per visit cost for March!

  • I needed this today! A run after work is going to be necessary, but I can already feel that getting myself changed and back outside is going to be a struggle.

  • This is great… I love #1 – it’s so much less intimidating if you don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself.

  • I needed to see this today, thank you! I’m going to save this post so that I can read it every time I don’t want to go to my workout!

    • kwalshmac

      Hi Nicole! This makes me happy! Reading fitness motivation things are some of my favorite articles to read. I love knowing I’m not the only one that needs a good kick in the butt some days!