7 Amazing Tips To Increase Exercise Motivation That Work

exercise motivation

If you’re struggling with exercise motivation, you are not alone. Getting motivated to exercise can be challenging—trust me, I know!

But did you know there are things you can do and tools you can use to help you get motivated to start and maintain that motivation long-term?

And no, I’m not talking about exercise motivation quotes, even though quotes can be beneficial at times. In this post, I share 7 effective tips to help you gain the motivation you need to incorporate exercise into your daily routine and lifestyle. 

I’m not sure what your “why” is. Why do you want to start exercising? I wanted to start exercising because I wanted to lose weight. However, I also noticed that as time passed, I realized exercise is not just about weight loss.

It’s also essential for health and longevity. Lack of exercise or movement can be detrimental to your health, especially in the long term. 

But regardless of your “why,” wanting to do something and taking action are two different things. You only receive the benefits if you start, but getting motivated to start can be very DIFFICULT!

In this post, I share ACTIONABLE steps that you can take to get the exercise motivation you need to start exercising and achieve all of your fitness goals.

What Is Exercise Motivation?

workout motivation for females

Have you ever felt so motivated to do something you couldn’t wait to go to bed so you could wake up the next morning and start doing that thing?

You literally would think about it as you fell asleep and then spring out of bed the following morning excited to get started. 

This type of motivation makes it easy to do anything, conquer anything, and achieve anything. Unfortunately, this type of motivation doesn’t tend to last. It is often very temporary and fleeting. 

So without it, starting a new habit like regular exercise and getting it to stick can be extremely challenging and may even feel impossible. 

As someone who has disliked exercise in the past, I know this feeling all too well. You want to change your life, and you know developing better habits would help, but you don’t have the motivation to take that step. So you keep putting it off until tomorrow, waiting for that motivation that never seems to come.

What exactly is this thing called motivation that drives us?

Psychology Today states, “motivation is the desire to act in service of a goal. It’s the crucial element in setting and attaining our objectives. Motivation is one of the driving forces behind human behavior.”

It pushes us to do what we need to do to become better and achieve what we set out to achieve. Exercise motivation is feeling compelled and driven to make exercise a part of our lifestyle. We are driven and pushed towards it.

The consistency that comes from discipline will ultimately lead you to achieve your goals. However, having that motivation will make the journey much easier, especially for those struggling with self-discipline.

7 Tips To Increase Your Motivation To Exercise

how to motivate yourself to workout at home

So, you are ready to start your exercise routine but still putting it off until tomorrow. And you’re wondering how to motivate yourself to workout every day or a couple of times a week to make exercise a part of your lifestyle.

Check out these 7 tips below. And be sure to check out this post if you want some low-calorie, high-protein meals to power your workouts. You’ll love these delicious protein-packed recipes!

1. Identify your WHY

Let’s start with your “why.” Why do you want to start exercising? Is it to help you lose weight, get healthier, or improve your mood?

Maybe it’s all of those things, but you definitely need to identify your why. It’s your personal reason for wanting to exercise.

And it’s not enough to say I want to start exercising to lose weight or get healthier. You need to dig deeper! Peel back the layers of your why like you would peel back the layers of an onion.

Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to get healthier? Maybe your answer is that you want to feel good in your clothes. Because when you feel good about how you look, you are more confident.

And when you feel confident, your interactions with the people you love are so much more positive. You are more present in your life, and your relationships are stronger because you have a stronger sense of self. You’re happier!

Maybe you want to be healthier because you want to be here to see your kids grow up and have their own family.

You want to be there for your kid’s children. You want to be around to be a support system for the ones you love. These are just examples, but hopefully, they can help you discover your own why.

Establishing and keeping your why top of mind can help you achieve your goals every day, even when you don’t feel good.

And if you experience depression or “the blues” from time to time and struggle with how to motivate yourself to workout when depressed, having a compelling why can be extremely helpful.

2. Set Goals To Start Building Your Exercise Motivation

What is the best workout motivation? Set goals!

Step 1: Identify your ultimate exercise goal

Now that you know your “why,” let’s set some goals! Start by setting a big goal. What is your ultimate goal in terms of exercise? What are your fitness goals?

How often do you want to exercise? What types of exercises do you want to do? Are you trying to complete a marathon, commit to daily 30-45-minute walks, or work out for at least 30 minutes 3-5 days per week? How do you want exercise to show up in your life? What does this look like for you? 

Some people just want to be more active for health reasons, so if you are totally confused about what you should aim for, you could always start with what the American Heart Association recommends.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, which works out to be about 30 minutes of cardio five times per week. This is a great place to start if you don’t have very specific fitness goals.

Step 2: Break down your big goal into smaller steps (smaller goals)

Once you’ve set your ultimate goal, the next step is to set smaller goals. It’s important to start small so you set yourself up for success by making it incredibly DIFFICULT to fail. 

If your ultimate goal is to exercise five times per week for at least 30 minutes, then start by working out five times per week for five to ten minutes. I know what you are probably thinking right now. What is five minutes going to do?

It’s going to set you up to start forming a habit of exercising 5 days per week. Regardless of whether you exercise for 30 minutes or 5 minutes, showing up consistently will help you form the habit of regular exercise.

Also, it is so much easier to create a new habit when the commitment is small. Remember, starting is usually the hardest part. If you decide to start exercising today but then think to yourself that you will have to do 30 minutes, that might seem impossible.

The thought of exercising for 30 minutes when you are not used to it can make you feel like quitting before even getting started.

But if you commit to just 5 minutes and know that is all you have to do, it is easy to motivate yourself. It’s easy to check that off of your to-do list for the day! And when you do, it will feel AMAZING!

Five minutes lead to ten minutes, and so forth.

woman walking up steps for exercise

And it doesn’t end there! Starting with 5 minutes is more powerful than you know. Because often, when you get to that 5-minute mark, you then figure I can do 10, maybe 15, and so forth. And before you know it, you are exercising for 30 minutes or more. It happens every time! 

I will say I will do just a few minutes, then I’m like, I can do 5 minutes more, and I keep extending my time until I have sometimes doubled or tripled my initial commitment.

I think this happens because we are more capable than we think. But we need to take action to realize that, and when we do, we realize we can do more, so much more! 

This also provides a sense of accomplishment because you feel proud of yourself for not just hitting your goal but surpassing it. This builds up and drives your motivation to show up the next day, the day after that, and so forth.

No matter how lousy you feel, most of us can commit to 5 minutes. And even if you just did 5 minutes, that is still an accomplishment that you can be proud of, and that will start planting the seeds of motivation for you to get up and get at it the next day.

So start with 5 minutes or even 10, but start small and work your way up. Commit to 5 to 10 minutes for the first couple of days or maybe even the first week, and then start building from there. Add an extra 5 minutes per day, and before you know it, you will be doing 30 minutes easily!

3. Get an accountability partner and watch your exercise motivation soar

First let’s define an accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone that holds you accountable for the goals you set. They hold you to your word for what you say you will do.

So, essentially, someone that you discuss your goals with and they support you in your journey and make sure you are keeping your word.

It could be anyone, but finding someone with similar exercise goals would be a plus. You guys would support each other along the way and hold each other accountable.

Unfortunately, we are more prone to disappointing ourselves than others. We usually don’t want to let ourselves down, but we are more driven to not let others down.

The thought of disappointing someone else and how that will feel can be a driving force behind our actions.

So get yourself an accountability partner! If you don’t have anyone to be your accountability partner, don’t worry. There are websites that provide this service and apps you can try!

YES, there is an app for that too 🙂

Some accountability apps and websites to try include focusmate, shelpful, habitica, squad, GoalsWon, Accountable2You, coach.me, and stickk.

If you decide to try any of these apps or websites, let me know in the comments if you liked them.

4. Utilize the power of music

Woman listening to music

Music can be extremely motivating! It can take the intensity of my workouts from a 3 to a 10. The right music can push you further than you ever thought possible, and more importantly, it can make exercise FUN!

And the more you enjoy it, the better your chances of showing up for your next workout session. So choose your favorite music and go! Personally, I don’t listen to house or dance music in my spare time, but when it comes to working out, both get me incredibly pumped and energized!

5. Lay out your workout gear the night before

I learned this tip from James Clear’s book Atomic Habits. It is extremely effective: Set out your workout gear, including your outfit, shoes, water bottle, and anything else you’ll need the night before. 

Put it where it will be the first thing you see when you wake up. Once you awaken, put it on, even if you are groggy and don’t think you have it in you to exercise that day.

Don’t even tell yourself you are going to exercise; just put it on and head to your bathroom to do your usual routine when you wake up. 

But what is the point of just putting on my workout gear if I am not going to exercise?

The chances of you exercising after you put on your exercise clothes are incredibly high, and the chances are you will exercise.

After a while of doing this, it will become second nature, and you will have formed a new habit—one that will get you moving and one that you can be proud of.

Before you know it, it will become second nature to exercise daily, and you won’t lack any exercise motivation.

6. Get a Fitbit or Apple Watch

how to get yourself to exercise regularly. Use a Fitbit

Wearing a Fitbit and using the app can motivate you to move more. It has definitely done this for me. At first, when you start wearing it, you may not think it will impact your movement as much, but it does, seriously!

 It’s almost like the watch and app are accountability partners. To say that they have encouraged me to move more is an understatement!

And if you are the slightest bit competitive, you will ensure you hit those daily goals. I know I thought getting 10,000 steps would be challenging at first, but it really isn’t that difficult.

Every day you are eager to not just hit those goals but surpass them. This is extremely motivating!

I also like Fitbits and Apple watches because they offer so much more. They can track your sleep, your heart rate, how many calories you burned in your workout session, and even suggest when you need to give your body a rest.

They just help you feel like you are really putting your health and well-being at the forefront.

7. Change your mindset

Think of regular exercise as self-love and self-care because it is! Taking care of your body, a.k.a your temple, is caring about what you put inside it and making it a point to move it regularly. 

But why is movement so important? Isn’t it about the foods you choose to put in your body?

Yes! What you put inside your body is extremely important. There is a saying that weight loss is 80 percent diet and twenty percent exercise. And this is true.

You can certainly lose weight without exercise, but exercise and eating healthy are much more than just weight loss. It’s self-care. 

But why is exercise or moving more so important? Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Being physically active can improve your brain health, help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your ability to do everyday activities.”

It can help improve flexibility and keep you active as you age. Regardless of whether you want to think about aging, the older we get, the more challenging certain things can be.

You might have an elderly parent, grandparent, aunt, or friend who has trouble doing things that were once easy for them.

Exercising, including lots of stretching, can help. Living a more active life can help improve and preserve that flexibility as we age.

Final Thoughts On Exercise Motivation

Just start exercising! The exercise motivation will come! Exercise in itself is motivating, I promise!
But you need to start. Be patient and give yourself grace.

After a while, especially during your workouts, you will start feeling strong, powerful, and unstoppable—like you can do anything and conquer anything. Because you can!

This feeling will start moving beyond your workouts. It will appear even when you are not working out, improving your overall well-being. And it can do wonders for your self-esteem and confidence.

I’m sure it’s because exercise increases the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. These “happy hormones” make you feel good and put a smile on your face.

When you start feeling this way, you will want to keep feeling this way and be motivated to keep on going, show up for your next workout, then the next, and so forth.

Other Posts You May Like:

How To Do HIIT: 11 Reasons To Start Today

BMR And Weight Loss: How To Use Your BMR For Better Results

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  1. This felt relatable. Felt very human! Anybody can write. but relating with us feels good. You know how we as the readers feel! As I walk with you through your experiences it slowly built up momentum. This was a pretty cool article. Very motivational! I feel the same. When you haven’t worked out in a while you’re like i dont wanna do that!! lol But, realistically i feel like i can at least give 5 minutes. Though i feel i have to build my motivation.
    i feel like this is the feeling of a great start. My goal is making it muscle memory or a routine like I use to. But th the motivation i felt from the article felt more versatile. i might need to apply the 5 minutes to other things too! Very good insight!

    1. I’m so happy you found this article helpful and motivating. Yes, starting is always the hardest part, but once you start doing just 5 minutes, you will build up that momentum, and from there, it gets much easier! Good luck on your journey, and hopefully, you will be able to get back to the routine you once had or maybe even try a new routine. And thank you for the kind words:-)