I hear so many people say that they just can’t find the motivation to work out. Or, they were motivated yesterday, but today that motivation is gone. Or.. they’ll start working out when <insert stupid excuse here>. So what’s the secret to finding the motivation to work out? The answer is going to surprise you.
Here’s the secret… and it’s a little dirty…
The secret is that there is no secret.
For the last 2 years, I’ve run at least 6 miles a day, 6 days a week. No exceptions. I would say that 95 percent of the time, I don’t want feel like running before I start. I don’t want to go. I’ve got other things I’d rather do, and frankly… I just don’t wanna.
And then I put on my workout clothes… I still don’t wanna.
And then I drink my pre-workout mix (Just a BCAA to preserve muscle during cardio)… I still don’t wanna.
And then I pick what I’m going to listen to on my headphones… I STILL don’t wanna.
And then I put on my running watch and get it queued up… I STILL can’t stomach the idea of running for the next hour.
And then I start my music and my watch… I take the first step… and from there it’s out of my hands… I’m running whether I want to or not.
And then I get to mile 1. I’m feeling okay.
And then I get to mile 2. I’m ready to kick it into high gear.
And then I get to mile 3. I realize I feel amazing.
And then I finish running my 6 miles and I feel incredible and ready to tackle anything!
I’m not saying you need to run 6 miles every day. I am saying that discipline, not motivation, is what gets me through my workouts. If I only exercised when I felt “motivated,” I’d be back to my old, fat self in no time.
5 things you should do if you can’t find the motivation to work out
- Schedule it: Know exactly what time you’re starting and what time you’re finishing. Then stick to the commitment you made to yourself, no matter how bad you don’t wanna do it. (Because when it comes time, trust me, you won’t want to do it).
- Set a time-limit to get warmed up: The truth is that exercise is REALLY tough while you get going. I usually tell myself, “if you still want to quit after 15 minutes, you can.” And with zero exceptions, after 15 minutes, I feel like I can keep going. And I do.
- Give yourself a reward at the end: This is how positive habits are formed. Not because the exercise itself is awesome (it’s not). But because, just like a dog, you get a reward when it’s over. For me, it’s a 44 oz ice-cold diet soda. (You might pick something healthier, and you can judge my terrible choices when you are running 6 miles a day, too.)
- Set a routine: I put my workout clothes on, I set up my playlist, I set up my watch… nobody wants to be the jerk who does all that and then STILL skips the exercise.
- Picture how you’ll feel, mentally, if you skip it: During my heavy marathon training sessions, I wrote the word “tomorrow” on my arm in black marker. It was meant to remind me that no matter what I chose to do today, I would have to live with myself tomorrow. If I wanted to quit, I could. If I wanted to double down and work my butt off, I could do that too—and in both cases, I was going to be accountable for that when I woke up in the morning. It was a reminder to focus on how I would feel if I didn’t give this everything I had.