Motivational Tips for Better Health: Making Fitness Happen, Even When You Don’t Feel Like It

Life is full of things to do. The sum of our daily accomplishments form our lifestyle, whether getting them done is pleasant, drudgery or simply habit. Our lives are filled with things that we feel must be done or should be done. Our failure to make these things happen can often lead to guilt or self-doubt. Certainly, exercise and fitness routines fall into these categories. In the area of health and wellness, all of us sometimes fail to accomplish what we feel we must.

As with any other endeavor where motivation is commonly lacking, we can take steps to increase our desire to complete (or at least attempt) the task at hand. Below are some ideas to motivate yourself to health, even when you just don’t feel like it.

Get to Know Yourself and Set Realistic Expectations and Goals

We all have a talent or affinity for something, and exercise is no exception. The type of routine that fits your needs on one particular day may not be ideal for another day. Of course, enjoying your routine helps to keep you motivated. Setting a goal to work towards is always a good idea, but goals that are too lofty or expectations of miraculous results are counterproductive, although they might initially make you work harder.

Make your goals realistic and choose your activity based upon how you feel in the moment. Some exercise is better than none at all, so if your resistance routine just doesn’t seem like the way to start the day, trade it in for a walk, a light jog, swim or bike ride. Don’t forget to take into account things that may inhibit some activities, like medication, injury, illness or time.

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Dress for Success

Put on your workout clothing. Even if you don’t feel like doing anything, wearing running shoes or other athletic gear increases your ability to move and is a constant reminder of the workout that could still happen. Keep your workout gear in plain sight and easily accessible when it is not in use.

Investing in some awesome clothing or equipment for your workout makes you feel better every time you use it. Appropriate workout wear helps you to be as comfortable as possible while working out. A variety of gear or equipment possibilities allows you more latitude when choosing a location or type of exercise.


A social circle for your morning run or workout partner at the gym is a double-edged sword. Sometimes they help you push through or they may talk you into coffee and a danish instead. If you attend a class, get to know motivated class attendees. Although it may not be the best idea to work out next to the fittest person in the room, someone who is serious about their health endeavors and fits your fitness style can be invaluable.

Workout on Your Commute

Okay, lifting a coffee cup and a donut is not a workout, and the commuter fitness regimen is not always a possibility, but there are things you can do to squeeze in a little exercise.

If public transportation is your method of commuting, use a different stop than the one that puts you closest to your destination. If you drive or carpool, pick a parking spot that gives you a little distance to walk or jog into your building. You might be able to recruit some of your carpool pals to do the same thing. If your workplace is not too far away you can walk, jog or cycle from home.

Exercise With a Pet or a Child

High-energy companions make for a high-energy day, and no one has more energy than kids and dogs. Both can lead you to explore new activities and new places. From a jog on the beach to an hour at the park, your fitness session with child or pet companions can be filled with pleasure and discovery.

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Reward Yourself

When we think of rewards, most of us think of food. This is not necessarily the way to go if you’re trying to get in shape, although a little indulgence never hurt anyone. Other rewards can range from a fun activity to a new shade of nail polish. Extravagant or simple, everyone deserves a reward for a job well done.

Change Your Routine

Just because your goals are set, it doesn’t mean that your routine needs to be. Keep boredom away with variety. It’s easy to start by making changes in the intensity, frequency or duration of your workout, but many ways exist to mix it up. Choose a sport, use equipment or alternate outdoor and indoor activity. Interval training is a current, popular option. If you listen to music, change your playlist.

Schedule It and Track It

Seeing your progress on paper is a good way to find out if what you are doing is working, but it is also its own reward. Putting goals, routines and thoughts to paper help you organize for better results and make changes if needed. Your phone or computer are great motivational tools. Not only do they provide easy tracking methods, but they allow you access to lots of fitness and nutritional apps to help you with your goals.

Start with simple goals and then progress to longer range goals. Remember to make your goals realistic and achievable. It’s easy to get frustrated and give up if your goals are too ambitious. – Mayo Clinic

Give Yourself Ten Minutes

If you feel your exercise motivation ebbing, just give yourself ten minutes. You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish in a short time period. Often, getting started is the biggest barrier to continuing, so you might be surprised to find that you actually want to do more after your ten minutes have passed. A great workout program that features 10-minute workouts is Toned In Ten by Erin Nielsen. It’s perfect for those who don’t have a lot of time to workout.

Eat Early and Snack If You Need an Energy Boost

You need fuel to use your body effectively. As most of us already know, a decent meal early in the day is the best way to get on track. Proteins and complex carbohydrates are your best bet. Make it healthier and more palatable with fresh or dried fruit, natural sugars, and healthy fats. Don’t worry about the calorie count. You are planning to exercise. Right?

Compete, Use a Cash Incentive or Make an Event Your Goal

We are all aware that money talks, and is one of the greatest motivators of all! You can create a simple “fitness pool” among friends, or go bigger. Many workout apps allow you to either pay yourself or make bets with others. The proceeds might benefit either a person or a cause.

Eliminate Labor-Saving Shortcuts

Our days are filled with devices and systems that keep us from physical activity. Elevators, remote controls, and clothes dryers are only a few examples of things that allow us to be inactive. Eliminate a few of these “labor savers” and suddenly you’re getting fit. Take the stairs, get up to change the channel or hang your laundry out to dry. Make your everyday activities count. You may even be able to save a little money by doing your own yard work or other household chores!

Consider a Personal Trainer or A Boutique Gym

A conventional gym membership can be adequate and enjoyable, but all too often, it goes to waste. The minimal amount we pay for the membership isn’t quite enough to make us care about attendance if we are not inclined. Boutique gyms are more costly, but that is the very reason to invest. Added activities and a more personalized environment can keep you going, and your desire to adequately use the larger remittance is an additional motivator.

Typical costs for a personal trainer range from about $50.00 to $70.00 per hour, and you can hire a trainer to work when and where you want on an hourly basis. Share the cost with a companion or two and it becomes reasonable by most standards.

You need only access your trainer as little as four times per year to see how you are doing and tweak your routine, although you may want a little more direction. Either way, you’ll set new goals on a regular basis and have an incentive to strive for them.

Motivating yourself for any task can be daunting, as well as rewarding. Use some of the tricks above to establish your fitness lifestyle, and you may find a greater purpose for the rest of your life, as well!