Approximate read: 3 minutes; 

(Note: This blog post is part of a series of articles looking at how to set clear, motivating and purposeful goals.

Check out the Ultimate Guide to Goal setting for a blueprint to help you figure out more ways to motivate yourself)

Sooner or later, a day will come when you won’t feel like  working out. It’s inevitable. You either get bored, or you aren’t seeing the results you were hoping for, or you fall off your schedule for whatever reason.

So here are 5 ways to help you boost your motivation to exercise, when it’s easier to just sit on the couch.


Do a shorter workout

Sometimes it’s a mental thing – for some reason, we always assume our workouts need to be one hour, and sometimes a one hour workout sounds just dreadful! But it really doesn’t have to be one hour! It can be 45 minutes. 30 minutes. 15. Don’t be afraid of a shorter workout, because a shorter workout still means you moved that day! It still means you did something active. Great job, you!


Go for a walk (outside!)

I firmly believe that walking is incredibly underrated! Walking is a primal movement, and an incredibly important one too! We move our whole body when we walk. We burn calories. Oh, and we take ourselves places!

Remember that our goal here is to MOVE, not to become olympic athletes. So if that means today you’re only going outside for a walk, that’s fantastic. You got some fresh air, you moved, and, if it’s sunny, you got some vitamin D. Oh and by the way, going outside is an incredible mood booster as well.


Ask yourself WHY

When that day comes when you don’t feel like exercising, ask yourself WHY that is. Are you just bored with the routine? The environment? Are you annoyed that you aren’t getting results? What’s going on with you? Often, there is an underlying motive to your lack of desire to work out. Finding out what that is can give you insights into what you need to change.

I went through this kind of turmoil recently, and realized two things: one, I was bored with the routines and the exercises I was doing – my solution to this was to do a class at the community center once a week. And two, I had experienced a shift in my definition of what it meant to be active and fit. The idea of working out so intensely to the point that I was sore almost all the time, was no longer appealing to me. I started doing more things outside, at the park, going for long walks, and reduced the number of weight training sessions. I was instantly happier.


Do something simple

Sometimes, having to think during a workout can cause the kind of mental strain that can be too much to handle after a full day of work. So do something simple. Take a class, where someone else tells you what to do. Stick to the cardio machines in the gym. Do exercises that are familiar to you. Do a stretch routine. Or foam roll.


Focus on other things

If you really decide to skip your workout altogether, see if you can switch your focus to something else that’s health related. For example, making sure you get enough sleep (did you know that you burn more calories sleeping than you do staying awake?). Or making sure you drink enough water.



You might be surprised that I haven’t talked about rewards in this post. You know, like rewarding yourself with something if you did your workout for 5 days this week. The reason for that is because rewards only help in the short term. If you are finding yourself consistently unmotivated to do your workouts, something else is amiss. Try to uncover what it is by asking WHY that is – you might discover some interesting things.

More articles in this series:

The secret behind how to create motivating fitness goals

Is your personality sabotaging your fitness goals?

Fitness lessons: What exercising teaches you about life



The Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting

Your blueprint for creating goals that are motivating, meaningful and purposeful

  • Understand the 3 key principles of motivation, and why they are crucial in your goal setting process
  • Uncover your interests, likes and dislikes, which will then guide you in your goal setting
  • Get clear on the reasons why you want to achieve your goals
  • Identify barriers that will prevent you from reaching your goals, and come up with solutions
  • Learn ways to motivate yourself when you don’t really feel like exercising
  • Learn ways in which you can prepare yourself for failure

Yes! I’m ready to take my goal setting to the next level!

Fields marked with an * are required