Weight Loss Obstacles: How to Stop Self-Sabotaging

How to Find the Motivation to Work Out

Disclaimer: always speak to your doctor before starting an exercise regimen especially if you have a medical condition. Below are general guidelines I often review with my clients. For personalized guidelines, speak to your healthcare provider*

It’s common knowledge that working out is good for us and that we “should” exercise. Many women want to (or at least they “want to” want to), but struggle to find the motivation to actually do it.

In my experience as a Registered Dietitian working with thousands of women, there are many common reasons that I hear for not wanting to work out:

  1. I just don’t like it 
  2. I’d rather do anything else 
  3. It’s hard 
  4. It’s boring 
  5. I don’t have anybody to do it with 
  6. I’m not good at it (or I’m too out of shape)
  7. I don’t like to sweat 
  8. I feel insecure at the gym 
  9. It doesn’t feel natural to me
  10. I know it makes me feel good but I just can’t make myself do it! 

If you can resonate with any of these, you are not alone! 

The great news is that there are solutions that can help you get into a great fitness routine.

Keep reading for my top tips on finding the motivation to work out

Find Your WHY

Knowing that we “should” exercise is often NOT enough for most women to actually do it. 

We have to dig deep and ask ourselves:

  • Why would I take the time out of my busy life to exercise, especially when I don’t want to?
  • What are the benefits to me personally? And how would these benefits positively impact my life?

For example, these benefits could be:

  1. I will have more energy! This will boost my motivation and desire to play with my kids more often which will improve our relationship and increase the quality of our lives.
  2. I will have less brain fog and better mental clarity! This will help me to enjoy work more and be more productive and efficient so that I can excel at work 
  3. I will lean out and feel better in my body! This will improve my self-confidence and body image and help me to enjoy shopping and going out more. 

Once you are clear on your WHY and how exercise will significantly improve YOUR life, write it down.

In fact, keep a copy of these statements in as many places as you can think of such as: 

  1. A sticky note on your bathroom mirror or computer
  2. Your screen saver on your phone or computer 
  3. An index card in your purse or desk drawer

You have to remind yourself of your WHY as much as you can! This is the only way you will follow through and actually feel the motivation to work out. There must be VALUE and PURPOSE to your actions.

Remind Yourself of How You Want to Feel

Many women don’t like exercise itself, they like the feeling they get AFTER they work out. After exercise, many women feel:

Energized

Refreshed

Clear minded 

Happy 

Motivated 

Light

Empowered 

Proud

It’s important to switch your mindset from “I don’t feel like it right now” to “I want to feel energized, refreshed, lean and light after”. Focus on the positive outcomes, rather than the negatives.

Try to think of it like this:

You may not like your job … but you like the money!

You may not like to brush your teeth … but you like minty fresh breath!

You may not like to clean your house…but you love the way it looks when you are done! 

You may not like exercise…but you love the way it makes you feel!

Pick Something You Like and Make it Fun!  

Many women associate exercise with having to hit the gym, go for a run, or do an intense exercise class. But if these things aren’t your cup of tea, that’s okay! 

In my opinion, the best way to start working out is to walk (if you are physically able). 

It’s convenient, doesn’t require any skill or equipment, and you can do it almost anywhere, any time of day (as long as you have a good pair of shoes with you).

 Also, most women can handle a walk even if they don’t have the best sleep and aren’t feeling super motivated. 

You can also walk and multi-task: go for a walk with a friend, call a loved one, or listen to an awesome playlist, audiobook, or podcast. You can also take your work calls and meetings while walking if you are struggling to fit a walk in during the busy work day!

Start Small

Many women believe that if they can’t exercise for an hour, then there’s no point.

There is always a point! Do what you CAN, when you CAN. Every single minute counts! 

The first step to exercising is just establishing the habit.

Here’s an example of how you could get started:

Week # 1: Get organized  

  • Think about when you are most likely to have the time, energy, and motivation to exercise 
  • Schedule exercise into your calendar for the following weeks
  • Communicate your plan to the people in your life (i.e. partner, family, colleagues)  
  • Treat “exercise appointments” with yourself like any other appointment. Would you cancel an appointment with your doctor or a meeting with your boss last minute because “you didn’t feel like it”? No, you wouldn’t!
  • Get the clothes, shoes, equipment, and/or memberships that you need to get started

Week # 2: Exercise for 5 minutes 

  • Exercising for 5 minutes may feel pointless but it’s not! You will be proud of yourself for putting on your exercise clothes and doing something. You are nailing down the habit of setting aside time to exercise. Something is always better than nothing.
  • Just move your body, you don’t have to add any intensity. 

Week # 3: Exercise for 10 minutes, 3-5x a week  

  • Repeat Week # 2 but add 5 minutes 

After this, you can slowly increase the frequency, duration, and intensity of your workouts. Just think, after making 2% progress a week, this can equal 100% progress in a year!

Make it Easy 

How many times a week do you say “I’m so busy”? 

Well, that’s probably not going to change any time soon.

This is why we have to work with our schedule instead of using it as a way out of exercise. We have to stay organized or we won’t be able to reach our goals.

Aside from scheduling workouts into your calendar, here are some other tips for making it easy:

  1. Create an energizing “pump-me-up” playlist in advance 
  2. Wash and fold all your exercise clothes on the weekend to keep you organized for the week ahead
  3. Place your exercise clothes in a visible, convenient area for the next day on the night before (or pre-pack your gym bag). Put a sticky note right on top that clearly states your WHY! 
  4. If you are at home and it makes sense, put on your exercise clothes in the morning (and put a nice shirt over top for Zoom meetings). Even if you have 5 minutes in between meetings or housework you can get out for a walk because you are already ready to roll

In Conclusion

The journey to finding the motivation to work out is a highly personal and ongoing one. It requires self-reflection, commitment, and the understanding that motivation may come and go.

However, by implementing some of the tips discussed in this blog, women can increase their chances of maintaining a consistent and sustainable fitness routine. 

If I had to pick out one key thing to remember, it is to always know your WHY. Understanding yourself and your reasons for wanting to live a healthier life is always going to be the most important thing that keeps you going.

If you are struggling to maintain a consistent fitness routine or to find the motivation to work out, please contact me, Stefanie Senior, RD. I work with women to understand their personal health goals and to create an individualized, 360 degree approach to hitting them.

Book a discovery call with me today!