Health libraryBack to health library
Exercise: What to do when your motivation lags
Starting an exercise program is a great idea. But boredom, busy schedules and other issues can sometimes make it difficult to stay motivated.
So you've been exercising for a while. But lately you've been finding it harder to commit to your regular routine and easier to find reasons to skip it.
You're losing your motivation to exercise.
It's a common enough problem. Many people begin an exercise program with the best of intentions but end up struggling to keep it going. A busy schedule might get in the way. Or the reason may be just plain boredom with the same routine.
Whatever the cause, here are a few tips for rekindling your motivational fire.
Put it on your schedule
One reason you may be finding it easy to skip your exercise routine is that you don't give it the same importance as other appointments in your day.
You can change that by entering exercise into your calendar. Make it as much of a "must do" as a board meeting, doctor's appointment or haircut.
Here's a tip: You're more likely to exercise if it's scheduled for a convenient part of your day, suggests the National Institute on Aging. That may mean exercising first thing in the morning, before your day has a chance to get ahead of you.
Exercising can be way more fun when there's somebody else exercising with you. You're also more likely to show up for your workout when you know someone else is depending on you.
Keep your workouts short
Exercise doesn't have to last long to be effective. If your day is too full to fit in a 30-minute walk, remember that you can get the same benefits from three 10-minute walks throughout the day.
Make it fun
Some people like walking on a treadmill. But maybe you don't. Would an exercise class be more fun for you? Choose an activity you enjoy and you're more likely to keep doing it.
If your routine is getting stale, try shaking it up. Instead of walking every day, start swimming on one of those days. Or get out your bike and go for a ride after dinner.
Envision the rewards
When your motivation is dragging, remember the reasons you started exercising in the first place. Was it to lose weight? Post a photo of some clothing you'd like to fit into on your refrigerator. Did you start exercising for a healthier, longer life? Think about an event in the future you want to be sure you can attend—such as your grandchild's high school graduation or a special trip to celebrate a milestone birthday or anniversary.
Keep a workout journal
Keeping track of your progress can serve as motivation. Write down your workouts in a journal—the exercise(s) you did, how long you worked out and how you felt afterward. Or use a fitness tracker to help keep you on track with your fitness goals.
Are you curious about how many calories you can burn with exercise? Take our quiz.