Working out is good for physical and mental health, but even though we all know that, it can be challenging to find the motivation. Sometimes it's hard to make time or even figure out what you should be doing to get the results you want.
If you are struggling to stay inspired in your fitness routine, it is time to try some new workout and fitness motivation tricks.
Setting goals helps you stay committed and focused on your fitness routine. Without goals, working out can easily become repetitive or discouraging. Setting measurable, practical goals let you celebrate achievements as you progress, which makes it easier to find your motivation.
Try writing down what you want to achieve (for example: do ten pushups), come up with milestones for how you might get there (for example: do specific chest and arm exercises), and give yourself goal times for when you should meet each milestone (for example: do two full pushups in one month).
It is much easier to stick with something if you have specific times set aside each week, so try to plan when you will work out ahead of time. Schedule your workouts at the same time of day, if possible, or on the same days of the week. You can also use this technique to schedule non-gym activities like taking walks.
Having a schedule allows you to feel more organized and prepared for your day and makes it easier to stay motivated. In time, your body and brain might start craving that 2 pm strength workout.
Just as goals help you stay committed, rewarding yourself for reaching a milestone helps motivate you for the next one. Whether you're completing reps at the gym or finishing one month without derailing your schedule, reward yourself with that extra-fancy coffee drink or a dinner out. You deserve it.
You don't need to track every part of your fitness adventure, but in order to note the milestones you reach, it's a good idea to track things like the type of workout you completed, or the days you avoided mindless snacking. This way, you'll have a paper trail you can point to when your brain starts thinking about skipping the next leg day.
If you can think of workouts as a fun activity instead of exertion, you're more likely to keep at them. Find different ways to keep things fresh. Try out new forms of exercise like dance, martial arts, or even rock climbing—just because it is not your typical workout doesn't mean you can't give it a go.
If you don't know where to start, look online. There are tons of videos and blogs that cover all kinds of exercises for people at every fitness level.
This may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes you need to take a break from working out. Your body is an incredible machine that needs time to rest and recover, so if you're feeling worn out, it is okay to take a break.
If the issue is motivation-based rather than physical fatigue, give yourself some downtime until you can find your drive again—but don't let this turn into neglecting exercise altogether. While you're hunting for your mojo, keep taking walks or playing an active game you enjoy.
Connecting exercise with a meaningful activity can make working out feel more like an opportunity and less of a chore because it gives you the chance to do what you love most while getting into better shape.
If you love fiction podcasts, for example, choose one that you only get to listen to when you're going for a jog or doing a gym workout. Your brain might start combining the excitement you feel before you start a new episode with excitement for the exercise you're about to do!
Most people who are working out are trying to improve a weakness, whether it's feeling out of breath after a flight of stairs, or not being able to do a full pushup anymore. While these are great goals to set, if you only work on your weaknesses and then move on once you've improved one, you might get discouraged or feel like you're never "strong" in the moment.
Instead, consider working on improving things you already feel you're good at one for a session or two a week — like leg strength. You'll only get stronger if you keep up the squats and deadlifts, and feeling good about your progress in those will make the pushups and lat pulls more manageable.
Judging yourself is never productive because, rather than encouraging you to try harder, it usually leads to feeling down, which doesn't increase motivation. Instead, remember that small things like skipping a workout are not failures — they're not even really setbacks. See your blossoming disappointment as a sign that you're on the right path, and hop into the next day's workout with renewed vigor.
We all miss a step on the road to building strong habits. Ask yourself why you missed that workout or why you didn't include veggies in that meal. If it didn't feel good, try to remember that next time. If it did feel good, then definitely don't judge yourself: you obviously needed a break.
The best way to stay motivated is by focusing on what you have achieved instead of dwelling on how much you still have left. Working out has tons of short-term benefits that you can focus on even if you haven't quite cracked that first milestone. It can help ease anxiety and depression, boost your mood, brighten your skin, and improve your sleep. Think about these benefits next time your motivation is flagging, and it might be enough to get you back on track.
It can be tricky to coordinate your schedule with someone else, but if you can get yourself a workout partner, they can be a great source of motivation when yours is flagging. Having someone beside you as you workout can keep you on task, give you some friendly competition, and even simply encourage you to show up. Just make sure you aren't comparing your progress with theirs — remember that every body reacts differently to exercise.
No fitness buddy? Consider joining a team sport. You'll want to show up so you don't let your team down, and you'll get an excellent workout from whatever activity you choose.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.