The best way to get things done is simply to begin.
In theory, it sounds simple enough, right? But I know there are many days that the thought of working out is about as appealing as listening to the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard — a sound I endured daily in third grade, courtesy of hard-nosed Sister Grace. Just thinking about it still sends chills down my spine…
While I may not always want to work out, I know that, once I’m done, I’m always glad that I powered through. It’s the beginning that’s the truly hard part, so I’ve amassed a few tips and tricks over the years that help me with motivation. Surely I’m not the only one struggling with workout motivation during these gray days of January, so I thought I’d share seven of my faves with you all!
7 Ways to Get Motivated to Work Out
Get some cute workout clothes, stop washing your hair (what?!), and treat yourself during your workout — plus four more ways to get off the couch and just do it.
1. Find a workout partner. Okay, so maybe this is a no brainer, but working out is ever so much more fun if you have a partner to cheer you on. Plus, knowing someone else is counting on you to be at that 9am hot yoga session really puts some pressure on you to drag your tired self out of your cozy, warm bed.
I’m lucky in that my workout buddies found me — I meet a friend for yoga class every Sunday, and my husband enlisted me as his P90x3 partner. But if you’re having trouble finding someone, try making friends with another class regular. Or post a status update on Facebook to see if any friends or acquaintances are interested. You might be surprised to find that a number of people are also looking for some accountability for their workouts.
2. Listen to audiobooks or podcasts or stream your favorite TV shows during your workout. This is especially effective if you limit yourself to only listening to or watching them during your workout sessions.
Choose a series that you’ve always wanted to see, so that you’ll be dying to workout just so you can see/hear the latest episode. I’ve treated myself to the entire run of Friday Night Lights (I ? Tim Riggins!) via Netflix while running on the treadmill, and my husband is currently watching The Flash, while my girls prefer watching YouTube episodes of Nerdy Nummies.
3. Leave your gear out in plain sight. It’s a fact that it’s harder to skip a workout if you can see your running shoes sitting by the front door from your comfy couch — well, at least for me. I’m also a fan of laying my workout clothes out before I go to sleep at night. In fact, I’ve even slept in them for extra motivation. Either way, it’s often that little extra bit of motivation I need to start my mornings off right!
4. Invest in some cute workout clothes. If your idea of workout clothes are a ratty 10-year-old t-shirt and the stretched out yoga pants you wore through three pregnancies, you’re overdue for some new duds. And I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg on them…
Walmart has some seriously stylish items available from Danskin right now at super appealing budget-friendly prices. For example, the nylon performance ankle tights above are priced at only $16.88. I love the mesh insets, which are very on trend right now, and the drawstring waist keeps them from sliding down during a workout. The coordinating 1/2-zip pullover top also has some fun details, like a mesh inset on the back and thumbholes to keep your hands warm while running outdoors. It’s a total steal at just $10 (on clearance) right now.
I also picked up a pair of these simple slip-on shoes (priced at $14.97) to wear to yoga and back, and they’ve quickly become a favorite. The memory foam insole is incredibly comfortable! I do recommend sizing down a half size from normal, as they do run a little on the large side.
5. Wash your hair only on days you work out. Yes, really. I have naturally curly hair that I only wash 2-3 times per week, and I schedule my workouts based on when it’s due for a wash. Knowing that I have to complete a workout or deal with greasy, hard-to-manage hair for another day is a strangely effective motivational tool. If it works, why not?!
6. Compete with others. A little friendly competition can be just the boost you need when it comes to getting motivated to work out. This has been particularly true for my kids. All five of them purchased FitBits with some of their Christmas money, and I’ve honestly been shocked at how a effective a little sibling rivalry has been at getting them to set their devices aside each day. I’ve actually been feeling a little left out of the fun…
7. Ask yourself, “Am I going to regret skipping this workout later?” Being mindful of the consequences that come with skipping a workout is also a great motivator. Whether your ultimate goal is fitting into your favorite jeans, completing a 5k, or just having more energy to keep up with your kids, if you take a moment to think about not meeting that goal, you’re probably going to decide that flaking on your workout isn’t so appealing after all.
I’ll be completely honest — there are still days when these tips still don’t generate the workout motivation I need. But most days, they work well enough, and when I do skip one, I don’t beat myself up about it. I just keep going with my next scheduled workout, because staying active over time is what’s really important.
What are you favorite ways to get motivated to work out? I’m all ears — a few more wouldn’t hurt. :)