Waiting around for motivation to kick in can be a losing battle. In a meh mood? When all the motivational memes have failed, try one of these strategies for getting the job done.
1. Give It 10
Feeling mentally drained and not in the mood is not necessarily a sign that your body is too tired to exercise. If you’re not really up for those five kays you had planned, try five minutes instead. Committing to five to 10 minutes is a simple way to gauge where you’re at, says certified strength and conditioning specialist Matt Berenc. More often than not, you’ll quickly fall into your usual groove once you get moving. Still dragging your heels? Consider that your sign to call it a day.
2. Go In With A Plan
One of the biggest reasons we bail on the gym is not having a plan in place – and not being in the mood to figure one out, says Berenc. Keep a couple copies of Women’s Health in your gym bag – we always have tons of exercise routines for you to try. Having a pre-planned workout eliminates the mental effort.
3. Picture The After-Glow
We’ve got a new mantra for you: “It’s not what we are going through, it’s what we are going to,” says Cain. Think back to how you felt after your last really fantastic workout. Were you smiling? “When we focus on the aspects of exercise that we love, we get a spike in motivation,” says peak mental performance coach Brian Cain. That’s especially true when we bask in the “instant results” (like a better mood or a boost in energy) as opposed to things that can’t be felt right away (like weight loss or muscle definition).
4. Get A Crew
Beat-blasting cardio classes have worked to make fitness fun – and a big reason is because they enlist the power of other people. “We’re much more likely to quit on ourselves than we are on someone else,” says Cain. You don’t even have to make it to the gym to score the benefits of that social accountability. Instead of just meeting a friend for happy hour after a busy day stuck at your desk, ask her if you can take a 15-minute walk together beforehand. Even little bouts of exercise can have huge benefits, especially when they’re shared, says Dr Michelle Segar, author of No Sweat: How The Simple Science Of Motivation Can Bring You A Lifetime Of Fitness.
5. Be Flexible
Think about daily exercise as you would your diet: you eat every day, but not always the same thing or the same amount. “We need that mentality when it comes to physical activity,” says Segar. Didn’t get in that hour at the gym? Doing a 10-minute yoga flow before bed is a perfectly acceptable alternative. Realising your routine will ebb and flow is an important step in staying on the workout wagon long-term.