5 Motivation Strategies

I’m done with day 2 of week 4!  Yes.  One more workout this week and I will have made it half way though Couch to 5K.

I have to say that I’m loving the challenge and let me tell you, it’s been a challenge.  I’ve learned that getting my workout in first thing in the morning is the key to getting it done at all.  If I wait too long into the day, I don’t do it.  I also like the temperature much better in the morning (the afternoons are in the 90’s already) so it’s kind of a necessity to get it done early.

All that said, I do sometimes have issues with staying motivated.  I’m sure you do to.  Even elite athletes have days were they would rather stay in bed.  It’s how you react to those days that make the difference.  I decided to look for some motivation helpers and here is what I came up with.

5 Ways to Stay Motivated

1.  Change how you think about exercise.  Instead of thinking of exercise as a chore, think of it as a privileged.  When I’m on my runs I get tired but when I think about my ability to do what I’m doing, it gives me an extra boost.  There is a quote I read somewhere that really highlights this.  “Run for those that can’t”  There are plenty of individuals that wish they could run, swim, lug a weight around, etc. but are unable to because of an injury or disability.  It helps me to think about my ability to be able to do it. Check out Wings for Life World Run for extra motivation.

I also like to think of my kids when it comes to exercise (and eating well for that matter).  I want to set a good example for them.  I don’t want them to think of exercise as work, I want them to know that it can be fun.  If I’m complaining non stop about one thing or another, they are going to pick up on that as well.  For example:  I’ve been trying to get my daughter involved in running.  She doesn’t seem to like team sports as much as my son and I thought running might be something she would like.  She did a color run with me and loved it.  She goes with me on occasion when I do a C25K run.  At the beginning of the school year she would be down on herself about her time on the mile (they run it at school once every other week).  She recently improved her mile pace by a whole minute and was extremely proud of herself.  I love that she is feeling empowered.  I hope my own quest for fitness will continue to be a good example for her.

2.  Set a goal and/or find some friendly competition!  I’ve tried completing workout programs and other things without a goal in mind and I just don’t do well.  My goal after completing C25K is to move on to longer distances.  I registered for a half marathon and it’s always on my mind.  I know that I have to keep working toward that goal daily by completing my workouts and cross training.  Find something that you want to accomplish and keep it front of mind.  Stick it on your wall or bathroom mirror via post it.  Schedule your phone to send you periodic reminders of your goal.  Do whatever it takes to remind yourself why you want to do this.  Find a goal that will motivate YOU!

It’s also good to find some friendly competition.  There are a lot of 30 day challenges floating around on the internet (30 day Fitness Challenges or Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans have good ones).  My work has even set up a wall sit challenge for it’s employees. Seek opportunities to participate in a challenge where other people will hold you accountable and will ask you “how is it going”.  I recruited my BFF to do a 30 day arms challenge with me.  Knowing that she is working on her challenge daily, and being able to check in with her, is enough of a push for me to get it done too.  If you are running, it might help to get a running partner or join a running group.  It’s harder to skip your runs if you know someone is out there waiting for you at the park.

3.  Schedule a regular workout time.  I said this above and this has been a game changer for me.  Claiming that you are going to get your workout in “sometime today” isn’t going to cut it.  Put it on your calendar and stick to it.  There will be times when things come up and you have to make some adjustments, but for the most part, it should be possible to find a schedule that works and that you can stick to.  I do my runs right after I drop my kid off at school, don’t even pass home, and it’s done.  Set out your workout clothes and gadgets first thing and make sure they are visible.  Pack your bag the night before and hang it on your door knob on the way to work (no excuses for after work).  Plan, plan, plan!

4.  Find something you have fun doing.  I can’t stress this one enough.  If it’s not fun for you, don’t do it!  If you hate running, have tried it, and feel like its not for you…don’t do it.  If you can’t stand the gym, don’t get a membership.  If you feel like a wet rat after swimming, stay on land.  It’s going to take some trial and error to find something you really enjoy doing but it’s worth it.  I was running several months ago but only did it on the treadmill at the gym.  I cut some workouts short because they became boring. Now I’m running outside and even though it was difficult to get going at first I learned that I like it much better than indoor running.

You can do everyday activities and they count as exercise.  Take a hike and explore.  Get the kids on their bikes and check out a new area of your neighborhood.  Walk to work, school or the store.  Do some gardening.  Sweep the driveway instead of washing it off.  Take the stairs.  And so on and so forth.

5.  Reach out for support.  Getting your family and friends onto the exercise wagon is probably the number one support network you need to establish.  If everyone you encounter day to day sits around and doesn’t want to do anything but watch sports on TV, you might have a problem.  My husband pretty much works out 8 hours a day at work (construction) so when he comes home from work, he’s done!  He at least supports my effort and asks me how my workouts went.  If you can’t get the people in your life to join you, at least solicit support.

That said, if you can’t get the support you need at home, seek it elsewhere.  There are numerous Facebook pages and community boards that will cheer you and encourage your efforts.  You will have to poke around to find one you love.  I joined several different pages until I finally found one where I feel comfortable and valuable.  Check out Women’s Running Club on FB…my fave.


Well…there you have it!  I found that these things really helped to motivate me when I needed it.  There will always be times though when you might not want to and taking a break  is totally acceptable as long as you get back to it as soon as possible.  Don’t let too much time lapse between your workouts.  In order for exercise to become a habit, you have to keep working at it.  In the end, the one thing that is always a constant is that you should never give up.  Things happen (schedules change, injuries, travel, etc.) but you can always get back to it.



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