How you handle times when you don’t feel like working out can mean the difference between meeting your fitness goals and giving up. Know that when it comes to staying motivated, the heavy lifting is mental.

  1. Rely on habit, not willpower, which is less reliable. Keep an exercise calendar so sessions are “appointments with yourself.”
  2. Chain habits you’re building to an established routine. For instance, decide to stretch every day right after your morning shower, or reserve the slot just before lunch for your walks.
  3. Adopt a mindset of success. No matter what your starting point, you can get fit if you stick with it and have realistic expectations. Target small, steady advances that add up to big changes over time, and don’t worry about weaknesses. Work on things you can control, and adapt to the rest.
  4. Reinforce helpful character traits. No need to scold yourself or dwell on “shoulds.” Instead, remind yourself of who you are and aspire to be—someone of action, strength and resolve.
  5. Use the power of visualization. Picture yourself becoming a stronger, more limber version of yourself. Or imagine tapping into the mojo of a figure who inspires you—an Olympic athlete, the Rock, or Wonder Woman.
  6. Do something rather than nothing. When tempted to skip your workout, give yourself permission to do something else physically active, or scale back your routine. Once you get moving, chances are you’ll feel ready for more.
  7. Boost the fun factor. If solo workouts feel like a chore, get energized by a fitness class or small-group sessions with
    a trainer. Do something outdoors, or try something new: Pilates, kayaking, dance class, water aerobics… you name it. Motivation isn’t problem if your exercise is an activity you want to do.


Photos: (top) Mircea.Netea/Fotofolia/Adobe Stock, (bottom) karelnoppe/Fotofolia/Adobe Stock