Mama Mojo, Tips & Hacks

How to Make Yourself Workout (When You Really Don’t Want to)

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So you’ve got a resolution. And you’re trying SO HARD. You’re eating all the right things, you’re drinking water, you’re resisting the snacks. And hypothetically, you’re working out more regularly.  But, guys? Sometimes getting in the mood to workout is so.dang.hard. So how do you form a habit when your body- and your brain!- is begging you not to make it DO THE EXERCISE? Here’s some tips that help us to make it happen, even when we don’t want to.

1. Make it the First Thing You Do Every Day

If you get up early and start the day with exercise, it is MUCH harder to avoid. Are you gonna hit the snooze button sometimes? Or sleep through the alarm? Of course. But even if you only get out of bed in time to get it done a few times a week, that’s a very healthy start!


2. Make a Date with a Friend

It is WAY easier to shrug off a plan you only made internally. But when someone else is counting on you to take a walk, or a Zumba class, or to hit the treadmill together? You’re much more likely to take the extra effort to get it accomplished.

3. Lie to Yourself

I like to tell myself that I’ll go to the gym,  and tell myself I’ll just walk for a couple minutes and then sit in the lobby. And then when my few mintues are up, I tell myself “well, I’ll go at an incline but I’m NOT gonna go fast.” And by the time I know it, I’m finishing up a run. Even if I only get in a stroll instead of a full workout, it’s better than I would have done if I hadn’t gone, so I count it as a win.

4. Make a Killer Playlist

I have playlists for all my different moods- Lazy Workout, Angry Workout, “Show the Haters” Workout, Strong Woman Workout.  It helps to have music to fit my mood and my pacing, so my workout starts to feel like a therapy session.


5. Get the Right Supplies

If you’re going to workout, you’re gonna need the right supplies. Like this sports bra that actually works, or a headband to keep the sweat out of your eyes. Make sure your shoes fit you well and are appropriate for the type of workout you’re planning. Get a cool water cup and put your name on it with vinyl, or some gym pants that say “Goal Digger” if that’s your thing.  I’m not saying to spend a fortune, but if you have the right supplies, it’ll make your workout that much more bearable fun.

6. Be Kind to Yourself

I like to repeat “I can do this, I can do this, I can do this” in my head during particularly difficult portions of a workout. Oh who am I kidding…more often than not I’m the fool saying it aloud.  But I talk to myself about how strong I am, and how capable, and how I’m killing it, and it gives me the extra push I need.

7. Incentivize Yourself

Create a fitness or health challenge with your friends, pay yourself a $1 for every workout, or join a program like Step Bet. You are more likely to stick with your goals if you are motivated to achieve them. So think of what motivates you, and put a system in place to make it happen.

8. Turn Your Workout Into a Dance Party

There’s a couple takes on this one. You can either change up your workout by taking on something fun, like Zumba, or you can just rock your own workout. I like to hold Lip Sync Contests with myself when I run. I’m talking, full diva mode. I’m sure I drive the other people working out around me CRAZY, but my workout is about ME, not them.

9. Put Your Workouts In Your Calendar

Whether you’re really into Bullet Journals or you’re just a fan of Google Calendars, you can schedule in workouts for the week or month. I get a lot of satisfaction from checking off those boxes, and do NOT like to leave an item undone. By writing it down, it reminds me of my priorities and keeps me accountable for my goals.

10. Remind Yourself How Strong You Are

When the going gets tough, I remind myself that I had two babies without epidurals. I mean, if I can do that for FOURTEEN HOURS, I think I can handle twenty minutes worth of discomfort.  Think of your strongest moment, and remind yourself that you can do anything.


There’s our ten best tips for motivating yourself to workout, even when you’re not in the mood. How about you? How do you fit in exercise?

Looking for workout motivation? Try these ten tips to help you get a workout in (even when you REALLY don't want to) from


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14 thoughts on “How to Make Yourself Workout (When You Really Don’t Want to)”

  1. Glad to hear I am not the only one who needs motivation to work out. I like your idea about reminding yourself how strong you are that is way more motivating then the think of yourself in a tank top stuff I hear at my kickboxing class.

  2. I love this. It’s so true that if I don’t make it the first thing I do in the morning, I will find a million and a half excuses NOT to do it.

  3. My wife and I are trying to get into shape this year, so thanks for the tips on motivating ourselves. I like your point about creating an incentive if you stick to your goals. We’ll have to make up some kind of financial and food reward for if we hit our goals. Thanks for sharing.

    1. My husband and I came up with an elaborate points system- workouts, fruits and veggies, water intake, etc- and the winner each week would get $10. We are SUPER competitive, so it worked for us!

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