How to motivate yourself to workout when busy is not only a question for people who work full time but for anyone, as we all have our busy times. Depending on your circumstances it might be school or taking care of an elderly parent.

Exercise is an essential part of life. It's easy to find excuses not to work out and stay inside all day, but we all know that staying active is the key to a healthy lifestyle.

Motivation is the key ingredient that will get you on your feet and moving around-it's what gets you to your workouts for the most part! In this article, we will offer motivational strategies to help you stay focused and get the most out of your workouts.

What is motivation and how does it work?

how to motivate yourself to exercise

Motivation is a drive that helps you complete goals. It is what drives you to keep working out and focus on bettering yourself.

It's a feeling based on two things: Emotion & Cognition. Emotion refers to the feeling you get, such as happiness or sadness; cognition refers to how you think, like using reason or logic.

It is a force that is used to achieve a goal, and motivation helps you keep your eyes on the prize.

For instance, if you were to set a goal of going for a walk at the park on Saturday evening, motivation would lead you there! You may be tired or feel like resting but your motivation will give you that extra push to get out and exercise.


What To Do?

Goal setting is a great way to start motivating yourself! Firstly, think about WHY you want the goal in the first place. Do you want to be healthier? Do you want to feel better? Do you want to look and feel better physically or mentally?

Once you've thought about why you want to achieve this goal and how it makes you feel, figure out HOW to make it happen!

Decide WHEN you want to start. Think of a GOAL that is achievable yet challenging enough for you. To motivate yourself, set out a schedule for yourself-it could be every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or it could be a few times throughout the week.

This is something very important to hold yourself accountable for. It will also help you keep track of your progress.

Keep MOTIVATION at the forefront of your mind! If you have visuals such as photos or pictures, make sure to keep looking at them and posting them around your room.

After several weeks or months, look back on your schedule to see how well you kept with your exercise routine!

We'll break this down in a bit but for now, let's address...


Some common reasons people find it hard to motivate themselves

how to motivate yourself to exercise


They believe they don't have time to exercise.

You may be so busy that you feel as if there's just not enough hours in the day. It's hard when you're on a tight schedule, but it is very important to make time for yourself and your health-even an hour of exercise a day will benefit you in the long run.

If you're short on time, find exercises that do not take up a lot of your schedule. You can exercise in the comfort of your own home if you have enough room and a little bit of creativity-a great workout is to just dance around like crazy!

There are many other types of workouts as well, and the only limit is your imagination.


They don't feel comfortable in a group.

It's important to make exercise fun, and working out with a friend or family member can be very beneficial.

If you enjoy the company of others while exercising, why not try joining a class? A lot of people are afraid to go to classes because they think they will be judged for being a beginner.

Try not to let that stop you, because they will likely be just like a you-a beginner.  


They don't see the results they're looking for.  

If you go to the gym or exercise and feel like you haven't seen any progress, it's easy to get discouraged and give up altogether!

It's important to remember that exercising is something you will build up to overtime. It doesn't happen overnight, so try not to get discouraged if you don't see results right away.


They get discouraged by the scale.  

A lot of people will go to the gym and work out and see no progress in weight loss.

This is because muscle weighs more than fat, so if you are building muscle at the same time as burning fat, your scale can say that you're not losing anything while in reality, you are improving!

It may be a good idea to invest in a body composition scale, which will tell you what your weight is made up of.

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how to motivate yourself to exercise

Try these methods of exercising motivation:

1. Set goals for yourself and stick to them.

Without a goal, you'll just be exercising aimlessly without any purpose or direction-which is a waste of time and energy.

Think of short term goals like working out 4 times this week instead of the 3 long term goals which may be too challenging at first.

Write down two or three things you want to accomplish before the end of the year, such as running in a 5k race, joining an exercise class and so on. Before you know it you'll be looking back on your progress and feeling great about it.


2. Become a part of something bigger.  

Joining a group or class will allow you to work out with others who are also trying to stay active-it can be very inspiring.

You may not feel like exercising one day, but if you play sports or do an exercise class, you will build up a tolerance to exercise and it won't seem as difficult.

You may end up liking the challenge of working out with others.


3. Become your own inspiration.  

If you love yourself, it's easy to want to take care of yourself. Motivate yourself by setting goals and writing down what they are-stick them up in a place where you'll see them often so you'll be reminded every day why you're doing the right thing.


4. Join an online fitness community.  

There are many online communities dedicated to health and fitness.

If you don't have friends that exercise with you, it's a great way to find people in your area who can encourage you and keep you motivated!

You can also join forums and get advice from other fit people, or offer them advice on how they can improve their own workout.


5. Plan your workouts for the same time each day.

Having a set time to work out will help you keep motivated because you will have something to look forward to at that time every day.

Don't work out right after work, plan an activity during which you won't be thinking about how tired you are.


6. Find something that motivates you to work out.

Try to find a song you love or a workout partner that motivates you to show up and work out. Having something motivating will make it easier for you to push yourself when you're tired.


7. Find reasons to exercise other than losing weight or looking good.

Weight loss isn't the only reason people should exercise, there are many less selfish things you can do for yourself like staying healthy, saving money on a gym membership or getting a good night's sleep.


8. Think of all the benefits working out has to offer other than weight loss and tone muscles.

These reasons will help keep you motivated when your workout routine gets boring or too easy.


9. Have someone who will check in on you and hold you accountable.

Having a workout buddy or coach is one of the best ways to stay motivated.

You'll feel bad not going when they'll call or text to see how your workouts are going, chances are if you miss one, they'll know about it.


10. Reward yourself for sticking to your workout routine.

This is a great way to motivate yourself when you're feeling like giving up.

For example, treat yourself by buying some new sneakers or taking an extra-long weekend on your days off from the gym.


What to do when all else fails?

how to motivate yourself to exercise

If you can't find anything to motivate you, it's time to take a step back. Think about what will make you happy-maybe it's spending time with family or watching your favourite show?

Find the things that make you happy and do them when you don't feel like working out.

If you continue to have problems working out, consider talking to a professional or making an appointment with a psychologist to get some advice on how to make these habits stick.

how to motivate yourself to exercise

To Wrap up on how to Motivate Yourself to Workout

Many people find themselves too busy to work out or exercise. The key is to be proactive and create a plan you can stick with. Some things that might help you stay motivated include:

• Setting realistic fitness goals (you don't need to start by running marathons)

• Sticking to your schedule as much as possible

• Making time for small exercises throughout the day, such as going upstairs instead of taking an escalator or parking further away from stores so it'll take more steps to get inside them

• Creating healthy habits in other areas of life like eating better food or drinking less alcohol

• Choosing times when you're most likely to stick with your exercise plans, like while on vacation

• Eliminating distractions that might keep you from getting going, like keeping the TV or computer off during your workout Make sure to choose a fitness plan that motivates you. For example, if jogging isn't enjoyable for you but pilates is more appealing, choose pilates. If your ideal routine involves being outside in the sun, plan it for the morning or early evening when the light is better.

When starting a fitness program, don't try to do too much at once. Begin by choosing one exercise and sticking with it until you're comfortable doing it on your own.

Then add another activity slowly, giving yourself a chance to master it as well. I hope this was helpful and that you can now come up with a routine that will meet your needs.

Drop your comments and questions below if you have any. I'll love to chat with you.


Fitness Gears for Your Workouts


More Resources

Theories to Explain Exercise Motivation and Physical Inactivity

Exercise, physical activity, and self-determination theory


About the Author Funmi

Funmi is a Certified Functional Health Coach. She is passionate about helping female entrepreneurs transform from Stress and burnout so they can begin to thrive in their body and, by extension, their businesses. 

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