40 Things to Try When You Don't Want to Work Out

12KSHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
3/6/2013 12:00 PM   :  188 comments   :  946,399 Views

We all have the days where we plan to work out and know that we should, but when it's time to lace up your shoes and go…You. Just. Don't. Wanna.
 
I have those days, too, but when I remind myself how GOOD exercise makes me feel, and how it will help me reach my goals, I generally suck it up and do it anyway. Getting started really is the hardest part. Once you get going, you're generally glad you did. And when it's over, you feel even better.
 
But some people have less willpower or dedication. Some give in to the temptation to skip exercise too easily. While that's fine once in a while, it can become a hard habit to break if you skip out on your workouts too often.
 
So recently, I polled members of SparkPeople.com, America's No. 1 fitness and healthy living community, asking what THEY do to motivate themselves when they don't feel like exercising. Let me tell you: These people are a creative bunch. The next time you feel less-than-enthusiastic about your upcoming exercise session, take their advice. Here are 40 things you can do (or think about) to get your workout motivation back—and get moving.
 
SparkPeople members answer: "When I don't feel like working out, I ___."
  1. Do it anyway. (This was the most popular answer!)
  2. Tell myself to go for 15 minutes. If I still feel bad or unmotivated, I can quit. I have yet to quit.
  3. Look on Pinterest for motivation! (Check out Pinterest's Fitness section and follow SparkPeople's Pinterest boards.)
  4. Ask a friend along to the workout it helps us both with accountability.
  5. Do a heavy house cleaning (vacuuming, moving furniture, scrubbing) so I have a reason to work out.
  6. Watch a Crossfit video on YouTube. It always inspires me. Then I get it done.
  7. Take a 10-minute brisk walk.
  8. Take the dog for a long walk.


     
  9. Force myself anyway and feel better for it.
  10. Go to a yoga class. It gets me moving, and I always have fun!
  11. I sit by myself for a few minutes and think about all the things I can't enjoy because of my poor health.
  12. Sometimes I find myself doing it just to get my fitness minutes for the month. Proof that SparkPeople works!
  13. Work out anyway…then bask in the awesomeness!
  14. Find something new to do! If you run then go for a swim or a bike ride. Maybe you are getting bored with the same routine.
  15. Complain about not feeling motivated, then go do it, since I don't like hearing myself complain.


     
  16. I drag myself to the gym anyway. Before I realize it, an hour is passed and I'm glad I went.
  17. Post about your lack of motivation on Facebook, and get chewed out.
  18. Do it anyway because this is for me.
  19. Try to force myself to just do something for 1 minute (jumping jacks, squats, etc.). But usually I tell myself I will be happier that I did it instead of mad at myself for not doing anything.
  20. Put on my work out clothes, lace up my shoes and go for a walk. Once I'm out and moving I find my motivation.
  21. Do a SparkPeople workout video! They are always great workouts and I love that they are not super hard and complicated!
  22. Remember a time when I couldn't work out, and how sad I was when I was heavier, and how I don't want to feel sad again!
  23. Listen to some music—something with energy that I like. It's funny how the right music can make you move even when you think you don't want to, and it usually provides a mood boost, too (which is probably why I didn't want to workout in the first place).


     
  24. Put my feelings aside and use logic and reasoning. My feelings then change after a good workout.
  25. Follow an "easy" DVD and tell myself I'll do just one part of it. I end up doing it all usually.
  26. Put on my workout clothes!
  27. Do a workout at home instead of going to the gym.
  28. Remind myself why I started working out and how much better I feel and feel about myself when I am done!


     
  29. Do it anyway, just not as long.
  30. Remember how easy it is to loss fitness even after missing a few sessions.
  31. Put on my workout clothes first thing in the morning. Once I'm in them there's no reason to not work out!
  32. Remind myself of one of Gods promises in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
  33. Think how good I feel after a workout! Nothing else gives me that same feeling!
  34. Go bowling.
  35. I go get my small weights and start toning up.
  36. Do something light and slow, like yoga.


     
  37. Start working out anyway, and then, I figure I've already started, so I may as well finish STRONG!
  38. Put on dance music and move!
  39. Call a friend to encourage me.
  40. Think of all the people who can't and I go do it and am grateful that I CAN.
There are a lot of things in life that we should do but don't always feel like doing. For many, exercise is one of those things. But the only way to make it a habit is to do it—consistently. So next time you don't feel like it, make like these strong-willed SparkPeople members and do it—or something—anyway. Just get yourself moving, even if it's light and easy, and even if it's only for a few minutes. You'll be glad you did!

 
How do YOU get motivated to exercise when you don't feel like it? Do you skip your workouts or "just do it" when you'd rather not? Tell us in the comments below!




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Comments

  • 188
    I some times hate the elliptical but I tell myself...just 5 more minutes and listen to some good music. Then before I know it 10 minutes have gone by and I'm still at it. So I do 5 more minutes. It works for me!! - 9/12/2014   7:20:28 AM
  • ZURMUEHL
    187
    I DONT NO WHATS GOING ON WITH ME I FILL SLEEPY DONT WONT DO A THING ITS NOT DOING GOOD WITH MY AVON .... WHAT CAN I DO? - 9/11/2014   5:58:59 PM
  • 186
    I love my time in nature, regardless of the weather. It keeps my mood up and helps me balance. So nice. - 9/11/2014   4:52:11 PM
  • 185
    Love these! I definitely want my monthly minutes trophy, so that's a big motivator. When I really don't feel like it I put on my favorite workout clothes, some nice perfume, and sometimes even lipstick. Little things that make me feel better about myself encourage me to make bigger changes! - 9/11/2014   2:57:52 PM
  • 184
    I REALLY wish there was a way to bookmark or save Spark articles and create your own library! I would certainly love to have this one handy so I can refer back to it when I need to! - 9/11/2014   12:54:50 PM
  • 183
    I get up in the morning and I either work out first thing, or I get my kids to school and do before I go to work afterwards. I walk during my lunch break, and spend the day with my kids at home. And I work out with my husband in the evenings. It's better than the alternative of not doing it, or of not being able to. I must remember to grateful that I am capable of doing so when I look at proof in seeing my paralyzed mother who can't. :( - 9/11/2014   11:13:42 AM
  • LGW5002
    182
    Motivation is my problem. Or is it procrastination? In either case this has helped. Thanks. - 9/11/2014   11:09:17 AM
  • 181
    As soon as I get home from work, I change into workout clothes. When i am sitting around lazily not wanting to work out, I realize how quick I can flip on one of my workout DVDs (might as well, as I am already dressed!) and do "just a few minutes," which like many others have said, ends up turning into my full workout. - 9/11/2014   10:51:43 AM
  • 180
    Aside from actually liking to work out I remember my heart attack. I know that working out is a critical component on maintaining my health and my weight. I just do it. - 9/11/2014   7:36:59 AM
  • FITNESSGUY12
    179
    One thing that really helps me stay motivated at the gym is motivational clothing that pushes me to the max. When I feel like I can't do more im inspired to really dig deep. One thing that I bought recently was a wristband with the text "NO EXCUSES"

    If it helps this is what it looks like http://amzn.to/SNViGE
    - 5/11/2014   1:05:11 AM
  • FUSSEL2107
    178
    Itīs the music. Itīs definately the music. I try to incorporate as much of my workout time into my normal daily routine. I hate doing repetetive stuff in the gym.
    So, after work, I turn on my music and instead of taking the bus, I walk the 3 miles home.
    Or I turn on some 80 dance movie music (oh the horror!) and dance around my living room, if I canīt be bothered to do a strength routine.
    Swimming is a twice weekly date with a friend. So, I donīt even get the idea to not show up :)
    Except for that, I try to be able to be as spontaneous as possible, to avoid that dreaded "bleh, I donīt want to pack and go to the gym" feeling - 2/18/2014   3:27:54 AM
  • JANEJOKO
    177
    Read inspiring stories, view videos of people working out, and taking a walk at a fast pace motivates me to workout. Announcing to my children that I am going to work out encourages me to follow through because they look forward to joining me and I wont let them down . - 2/9/2014   7:04:43 PM
  • JANEJOKO
    176
    Read inspiring stories, view videos of people working out, and taking a walk at a fast pace motivates me to workout. Announcing to my children that I am going to work out encourages me to follow through because they look forward to joining me and I wont let them down . - 2/9/2014   7:04:41 PM
  • 175
    I take a long look at my planned (or actual) food intake for the day compared to my BMR and realize how much fat I will be packing on if I don't do something to offset the extra calories I want to eat that day. So, I exercise to stay ahead of the bulge. - 2/8/2014   10:21:06 PM
  • 174
    Just tonight I found myself saying oh I don't like exercising, THEN I caught myself and rephrased and said "Oh I do like this , I always feel better after doing them. So there is one of mine that I do to get myself going.. It worked !! :D - 1/27/2014   11:48:35 PM
  • TPETRIE
    173
    I tell myself daily, it's time to workout. I try to walk every day, especially Mon-Fri. On weekends I change it up a little. I aim for 60-90 min a day. I have made it part of my daily routine. - 1/26/2014   9:28:58 PM
  • LORIANNE619
    172
    it would be nice if any of these applied to my situation. Right now, I can't drive, don't have a friend who would go workout with me, and no way to the gym which is about 20 miles from my house. - 1/25/2014   8:25:33 PM
  • 171
    I have a hula hoop that I challenge myself to do for the fun of it. I also have a variety of videos around that I'll just plug in one at random and let it run, soon, I find myself joining in! - 1/15/2014   10:16:12 AM
  • JONOHAGAN0317
    170
    This was pretty good, but I just got done reading the Top 50 Reasons to Workout: Because... available on amazon and I think this was even better, so check it out if you need more reasons.

    Keep all the reasons coming as I can use them!

    - 1/14/2014   11:34:28 AM
  • 169
    Great list! If you can't get motivation after this, you might ned CPR! - 1/14/2014   11:03:31 AM
  • TRIPLEM3
    168
    I treat everyday like it's my last chance to get a good workout - tomorrow I might be ill or simply won't have the time to myself - and I think of how much I'll regret not taking the opportunity. I refuse to let apathy be an obstacle! - 1/14/2014   6:44:09 AM
  • JADZIAOZ
    167
    Any advice to motivate someone for whom exercise causes severe pain (especially back/hip and achilles) and who cannot get in a pool or beach? - 1/14/2014   5:12:38 AM
  • REMAREIS
    166
    Have a problem after work since tired and feet hurt. I will think of this and just do it - 1/12/2014   8:41:43 AM
  • 165
    Just do it and use music! - 1/11/2014   8:24:38 PM
  • 164
    This is a great article, but really it's like "34 Ways to Motivate Yourself" because six of them just say to do it anyway. - 1/11/2014   4:19:35 PM
  • 163
    I struggle with this after work. I am usually exhausted and cannot move. This may help.
    Thanks. - 1/11/2014   1:53:20 PM
  • 162
    #32. So who am I to think that I can't if I can do all things through Christ? - 1/11/2014   10:01:35 AM
  • 161
    I love this blog! I am saving it on Pinterest for inspiration.

    *Just a note, there is a typo in #30! Also, your "Fitness Section" link doesn't work. Thought you might want to know! - 1/11/2014   8:45:38 AM
  • 160
    I go with No. 2 -- make a deal with myself to just walk around the block if I don't want to go further. So far, that gets me out and I've never yet gone "just around the block"! I love to walk - just need a push sometimes to get my shoes on and get out the door! - 11/11/2013   8:07:11 PM
  • VIGILANTONE
    159
    I remember back when I prayed I could move without pain, without losing my breath. Today I'm training for my first 5K.....that's all the motivation I need.....
    - 10/25/2013   8:18:13 PM
  • 158
    Baby steps. When I am not in the mood I will say to myself, "just put on your workout clothes and shoes, if that's all you want to do then fine." Then, "just drive to the gym, if all you want to do is sit in the steam room, fine." But of course, as soon as I'm there I go for a swim or do strength training and then sit in the steam room as a treat. - 10/9/2013   11:20:03 PM
  • 157
    last time i really didnt want to go i had the motivation then i got dressed and everything and my motivation went away. i told myself my motivation went to the car ahead of me. i know once i get out to the car i will go to the gym. part of me hates walking all the way back inside when ive already got the car all set up for me to drive it. so i go to the gym which is 20 min away and then i dont want to get out of the car but i think about if i dont go in and workout i will have wasted a ton of gas and its not worth it. - 9/13/2013   9:03:34 PM
  • SLIM_SAM
    156
    I've gotten into the habit of using the Wii Fit to get me motivated. Since the aerobic games on there are only 3-5 minutes a piece (and silly), I convince myself to do one of those as a warm up. Once I'm moving it's easier to decide to do an actual workout. - 8/7/2013   1:30:37 PM
  • 155
    My motivation is my mother she has MS and is unable to do many things, to see her unable but know she wants to makes me push myself. - 7/26/2013   9:13:28 AM
  • 154
    I admit there are some days I just don't do it...mostly because I procrastinated. There's nothing like procrastination for not getting anything done. Most of the time now though I tell myself to just get 10-15 minutes so I've done something. Thanks to Sparkpeople and my favorite T-tapp coach I've learned that little bit is SO much more than all my days of nothing! - 7/17/2013   10:53:07 PM
  • 153
    I like this alot .. the best solution for me " I will do it any way .. " I will DRAG my self to the gym" .. what can be a better solution?? and yes, it always feels better and you always feel strong - 7/6/2013   2:51:26 AM
  • 152
    This was me last week. I was so not motivated but I am back and raring to go. I don't usually have problems being motivated but it was a down week as far as enough exercise was concerned and it showed in the scale for sure! This list is awesome!!!!! - 7/2/2013   7:21:05 PM
  • MAINAH3
    151
    Get something like a fitbit that measures your steps and lets you have a Leaderboard with your friends. Each day you can compare who has done the most steps. You can even agree the winner each month gets a massage the losers pay for. It makes it much more enticing to take those extra steps! - 7/2/2013   2:08:54 PM
  • 150
    What about those, such as myself that hasn't even started an exercise regiment yet? I really would love to learn more about strength training( extra skin is becoming more apparent.
    Most recently i started walking on my "dustmill" I have done 10 min 2 days in a row. which is huge for me. - 7/2/2013   12:27:45 PM
  • 149
    I usually just do it anyway, like I did tonight, and I always feel better and I am glad I did it. - 7/1/2013   11:09:43 PM
  • JOCARIWP
    148
    I am saving this page and when I don't feel like it I am going to look back at suggestions to movitate myself to go - 7/1/2013   11:00:26 PM
  • 147
    This list was just what I needed. I was sitting here thinking about how much I don't want to work out, and how I can skip it today, but after reading this, I am going to do SOMETHING! :-) - 7/1/2013   10:13:43 PM
  • 146
    Cardio is something I just DO. I avoid strength training because I haven't found a routine that makes sense to me. Meg's 8 min desk training is close, but I don't have room to watch the video and do the exercises at the same time. I will make myself do it, somehow! - 7/1/2013   7:35:04 PM
  • 145
    Thanks for posting this. I have been battling this demon for 2 weeks. got the cardio in focus but the strength training is what I tend to avoid...just do it eh? - 7/1/2013   3:47:59 PM
  • 144
    It amazes me how often I I give myself permission to sit on my butt. I can always rationalize how tough my day was, how tired I am, etc. but actually working out makes me feel so good so I always try to focus on how I'm going to feel when I'm done. If I can focus on that, it's usually pretty easy to get motivated.
    - 7/1/2013   2:53:38 PM
  • REMAX2013
    143
    This was a good article. The underlying theme being "just do it". Great advice. - 7/1/2013   9:41:58 AM
  • 142
    I have recently learned about color runs - that is what is getting me out of bed- so I can actually try one for myself!
    - 7/1/2013   8:31:46 AM
  • 141
    Great blog!!! I am saving it so that I can refer back to it when I need a reminder of why I need to workout. - 7/1/2013   8:31:05 AM
  • MARLOUSCHKA
    140
    I plan to do something fun (such as shopping, or visiting a friend), and go there by bike or on foot. - 7/1/2013   8:15:39 AM
  • 139
    Good. - 7/1/2013   12:33:17 AM

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