40 Things to Try When You Don't Want to Work Out

By , SparkPeople Blogger
We all have the days where we plan to work out and know that we should, but when it's time to lace up your shoes and go…You. Just. Don't. Wanna.
I have those days, too, but when I remind myself how GOOD exercise makes me feel, and how it will help me reach my goals, I generally suck it up and do it anyway. Getting started really is the hardest part. Once you get going, you're generally glad you did. And when it's over, you feel even better.
But some people have less willpower or dedication. Some give in to the temptation to skip exercise too easily. While that's fine once in a while, it can become a hard habit to break if you skip out on your workouts too often.
So recently, I polled members of SparkPeople.com, America's No. 1 fitness and healthy living community, asking what THEY do to motivate themselves when they don't feel like exercising. Let me tell you: These people are a creative bunch. The next time you feel less-than-enthusiastic about your upcoming exercise session, take their advice. Here are 40 things you can do (or think about) to get your workout motivation back—and get moving.
SparkPeople members answer: "When I don't feel like working out, I ___."
  1. Do it anyway. (This was the most popular answer!)
  2. Tell myself to go for 15 minutes. If I still feel bad or unmotivated, I can quit. I have yet to quit.
  3. Look on Pinterest for motivation! (Check out Pinterest's Fitness section and follow SparkPeople's Pinterest boards.)
  4. Ask a friend along to the workout it helps us both with accountability.
  5. Do a heavy house cleaning (vacuuming, moving furniture, scrubbing) so I have a reason to work out.
  6. Watch a Crossfit video on YouTube. It always inspires me. Then I get it done.
  7. Take a 10-minute brisk walk.
  8. Take the dog for a long walk.

  9. Force myself anyway and feel better for it.
  10. Go to a yoga class. It gets me moving, and I always have fun!
  11. I sit by myself for a few minutes and think about all the things I can't enjoy because of my poor health.
  12. Sometimes I find myself doing it just to get my fitness minutes for the month. Proof that SparkPeople works!
  13. Work out anyway…then bask in the awesomeness!
  14. Find something new to do! If you run then go for a swim or a bike ride. Maybe you are getting bored with the same routine.
  15. Complain about not feeling motivated, then go do it, since I don't like hearing myself complain.

  16. I drag myself to the gym anyway. Before I realize it, an hour is passed and I'm glad I went.
  17. Post about your lack of motivation on Facebook, and get chewed out.
  18. Do it anyway because this is for me.
  19. Try to force myself to just do something for 1 minute (jumping jacks, squats, etc.). But usually I tell myself I will be happier that I did it instead of mad at myself for not doing anything.
  20. Put on my work out clothes, lace up my shoes and go for a walk. Once I'm out and moving I find my motivation.
  21. Do a SparkPeople workout video! They are always great workouts and I love that they are not super hard and complicated!
  22. Remember a time when I couldn't work out, and how sad I was when I was heavier, and how I don't want to feel sad again!
  23. Listen to some music—something with energy that I like. It's funny how the right music can make you move even when you think you don't want to, and it usually provides a mood boost, too (which is probably why I didn't want to workout in the first place).

  24. Put my feelings aside and use logic and reasoning. My feelings then change after a good workout.
  25. Follow an "easy" DVD and tell myself I'll do just one part of it. I end up doing it all usually.
  26. Put on my workout clothes!
  27. Do a workout at home instead of going to the gym.
  28. Remind myself why I started working out and how much better I feel and feel about myself when I am done!

  29. Do it anyway, just not as long.
  30. Remember how easy it is to loss fitness even after missing a few sessions.
  31. Put on my workout clothes first thing in the morning. Once I'm in them there's no reason to not work out!
  32. Remind myself of one of Gods promises in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
  33. Think how good I feel after a workout! Nothing else gives me that same feeling!
  34. Go bowling.
  35. I go get my small weights and start toning up.
  36. Do something light and slow, like yoga.

  37. Start working out anyway, and then, I figure I've already started, so I may as well finish STRONG!
  38. Put on dance music and move!
  39. Call a friend to encourage me.
  40. Think of all the people who can't and I go do it and am grateful that I CAN.
There are a lot of things in life that we should do but don't always feel like doing. For many, exercise is one of those things. But the only way to make it a habit is to do it—consistently. So next time you don't feel like it, make like these strong-willed SparkPeople members and do it—or something—anyway. Just get yourself moving, even if it's light and easy, and even if it's only for a few minutes. You'll be glad you did!

How do YOU get motivated to exercise when you don't feel like it? Do you skip your workouts or "just do it" when you'd rather not? Tell us in the comments below!

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wow, i didn't realize there are so many ideas to get that butt moving. Thanks Report
This article was exactly what I needed today. I've had days were I "just don't wanna" and I usually tell myself to go and just do the cardio part ( I usually do cardio and strength training) and if I still don't wanna I can leave. Well, I always finish everything. Today was different I REALLY did'nt wanna so I used my treadmill at home and did some strength training with my at home dumbbells. I feel great now and so glad I did the workout and I found out I can sub a lot of the gym exercises with at home exercises. Report
this morning I didn't feel like walking at all, I lacked energy, then I read this article, I thought let's do it, and I did, I walked 2 hours on the treadmill while studying, the longest I have ever been so far, and I gained lots of extra energy to do the house chores and cooking etc... Report
I woke up this morning feeling tired and it wasn't so much that I didn't want to exercise as I felt I had little energy for my normal workouts. Instead I found some shorter cardio videos, did a couple and even finished off with a bit of yoga - first attempt and I could do most of it. Worked out for about as long as I normally do and I know I'll be doing some walking to go to a nearby event this afternoon which is bonus exercise. Report
I make myself a deal -- work out for 10 mins. Then, if I'm really not feeling it, I give myself permission to stop. Most of the time the 10 mins leads to a full workout. Give yourself workout options (3-4 different sorts of workouts) so there is variety. Figure out what you do feel like doing.

Also, plan for a rest day or two in your week -- sometimes your body truly needs a break. Report
I do not let it be a choice--I HAVE to do it. Usually I enjoy it--but I just HAVE to do it. Report
I agree the most with number 1, just do it anyway. I have my days when I decide not to exercise, telling myself it will be okay once in a while. Then I sit there for about 10 minutes, get really guilty, and do it anyway. All I have to do is remind myself that 335 lbs. was not fun. Report
The hardest part for me is getting up to dress and lace my workout shoes. I guess it has a lot to do with preparing your mind and committing yourself to workout your body out. These tips are really helpful and I'll try some of them whenever I feel like taking a workout day off.
mybestadjustabledumbbells.com Report
Today was one of those days actually! 1) put my walking shoes on. 2) drank water. 3) Decided to just do 5 minutes or maybe 10. 4) Took dog for walk-turned into 17 minutes! The hardest part is just starting.

The occasional complete is rest day is good though, just listen to your body. Report
I hate working out. I don't feel better after. I treat it like it's my job and I have to do it everyday. Just one more thing we don't want to do but have to do anyway. I hope someday as I workout longer and harder this will change. But for now, I just hate it everyday. Actually, I hate it through out the entire time I am doing it. I just can't wait till its over. Seems this is not the way it is for others. Report
The best workouts are the ones you almost didn't do! :) Report
So much good stuff. Thank you for the great tips. Being positive and working out are the best ways to keep yourself healthy. These short inspirational quotes may also help some of you to regain your motivation www.hardquotes.com/inspirational-qu
I some times hate the elliptical but I tell myself...just 5 more minutes and listen to some good music. Then before I know it 10 minutes have gone by and I'm still at it. So I do 5 more minutes. It works for me!! Report
I love my time in nature, regardless of the weather. It keeps my mood up and helps me balance. So nice. Report
Love these! I definitely want my monthly minutes trophy, so that's a big motivator. When I really don't feel like it I put on my favorite workout clothes, some nice perfume, and sometimes even lipstick. Little things that make me feel better about myself encourage me to make bigger changes! Report
I REALLY wish there was a way to bookmark or save Spark articles and create your own library! I would certainly love to have this one handy so I can refer back to it when I need to! Report
I get up in the morning and I either work out first thing, or I get my kids to school and do before I go to work afterwards. I walk during my lunch break, and spend the day with my kids at home. And I work out with my husband in the evenings. It's better than the alternative of not doing it, or of not being able to. I must remember to grateful that I am capable of doing so when I look at proof in seeing my paralyzed mother who can't. :( Report
Motivation is my problem. Or is it procrastination? In either case this has helped. Thanks. Report
As soon as I get home from work, I change into workout clothes. When i am sitting around lazily not wanting to work out, I realize how quick I can flip on one of my workout DVDs (might as well, as I am already dressed!) and do "just a few minutes," which like many others have said, ends up turning into my full workout. Report
Aside from actually liking to work out I remember my heart attack. I know that working out is a critical component on maintaining my health and my weight. I just do it. Report
One thing that really helps me stay motivated at the gym is motivational clothing that pushes me to the max. When I feel like I can't do more im inspired to really dig deep. One thing that I bought recently was a wristband with the text "NO EXCUSES"

If it helps this is what it looks like http://amzn.to/SNViGE
Itīs the music. Itīs definately the music. I try to incorporate as much of my workout time into my normal daily routine. I hate doing repetetive stuff in the gym.
So, after work, I turn on my music and instead of taking the bus, I walk the 3 miles home.
Or I turn on some 80 dance movie music (oh the horror!) and dance around my living room, if I canīt be bothered to do a strength routine.
Swimming is a twice weekly date with a friend. So, I donīt even get the idea to not show up :)
Except for that, I try to be able to be as spontaneous as possible, to avoid that dreaded "bleh, I donīt want to pack and go to the gym" feeling Report
Read inspiring stories, view videos of people working out, and taking a walk at a fast pace motivates me to workout. Announcing to my children that I am going to work out encourages me to follow through because they look forward to joining me and I wont let them down . Report
Read inspiring stories, view videos of people working out, and taking a walk at a fast pace motivates me to workout. Announcing to my children that I am going to work out encourages me to follow through because they look forward to joining me and I wont let them down . Report
I take a long look at my planned (or actual) food intake for the day compared to my BMR and realize how much fat I will be packing on if I don't do something to offset the extra calories I want to eat that day. So, I exercise to stay ahead of the bulge. Report
Just tonight I found myself saying oh I don't like exercising, THEN I caught myself and rephrased and said "Oh I do like this , I always feel better after doing them. So there is one of mine that I do to get myself going.. It worked !! :D Report
I tell myself daily, it's time to workout. I try to walk every day, especially Mon-Fri. On weekends I change it up a little. I aim for 60-90 min a day. I have made it part of my daily routine. Report
it would be nice if any of these applied to my situation. Right now, I can't drive, don't have a friend who would go workout with me, and no way to the gym which is about 20 miles from my house. Report
I have a hula hoop that I challenge myself to do for the fun of it. I also have a variety of videos around that I'll just plug in one at random and let it run, soon, I find myself joining in! Report
This was pretty good, but I just got done reading the Top 50 Reasons to Workout: Because... available on amazon and I think this was even better, so check it out if you need more reasons.

Keep all the reasons coming as I can use them!

Great list! If you can't get motivation after this, you might ned CPR! Report
I treat everyday like it's my last chance to get a good workout - tomorrow I might be ill or simply won't have the time to myself - and I think of how much I'll regret not taking the opportunity. I refuse to let apathy be an obstacle! Report
Any advice to motivate someone for whom exercise causes severe pain (especially back/hip and achilles) and who cannot get in a pool or beach? Report
Have a problem after work since tired and feet hurt. I will think of this and just do it Report
Just do it and use music! Report
This is a great article, but really it's like "34 Ways to Motivate Yourself" because six of them just say to do it anyway. Report
I struggle with this after work. I am usually exhausted and cannot move. This may help.
Thanks. Report
#32. So who am I to think that I can't if I can do all things through Christ? Report
I love this blog! I am saving it on Pinterest for inspiration.

*Just a note, there is a typo in #30! Also, your "Fitness Section" link doesn't work. Thought you might want to know! Report
I go with No. 2 -- make a deal with myself to just walk around the block if I don't want to go further. So far, that gets me out and I've never yet gone "just around the block"! I love to walk - just need a push sometimes to get my shoes on and get out the door! Report
I remember back when I prayed I could move without pain, without losing my breath. Today I'm training for my first 5K.....that's all the motivation I need.....
Baby steps. When I am not in the mood I will say to myself, "just put on your workout clothes and shoes, if that's all you want to do then fine." Then, "just drive to the gym, if all you want to do is sit in the steam room, fine." But of course, as soon as I'm there I go for a swim or do strength training and then sit in the steam room as a treat. Report
last time i really didnt want to go i had the motivation then i got dressed and everything and my motivation went away. i told myself my motivation went to the car ahead of me. i know once i get out to the car i will go to the gym. part of me hates walking all the way back inside when ive already got the car all set up for me to drive it. so i go to the gym which is 20 min away and then i dont want to get out of the car but i think about if i dont go in and workout i will have wasted a ton of gas and its not worth it. Report
I've gotten into the habit of using the Wii Fit to get me motivated. Since the aerobic games on there are only 3-5 minutes a piece (and silly), I convince myself to do one of those as a warm up. Once I'm moving it's easier to decide to do an actual workout. Report
My motivation is my mother she has MS and is unable to do many things, to see her unable but know she wants to makes me push myself. Report
I admit there are some days I just don't do it...mostly because I procrastinated. There's nothing like procrastination for not getting anything done. Most of the time now though I tell myself to just get 10-15 minutes so I've done something. Thanks to Sparkpeople and my favorite T-tapp coach I've learned that little bit is SO much more than all my days of nothing! Report
I like this alot .. the best solution for me " I will do it any way .. " I will DRAG my self to the gym" .. what can be a better solution?? and yes, it always feels better and you always feel strong Report
This was me last week. I was so not motivated but I am back and raring to go. I don't usually have problems being motivated but it was a down week as far as enough exercise was concerned and it showed in the scale for sure! This list is awesome!!!!! Report
Get something like a fitbit that measures your steps and lets you have a Leaderboard with your friends. Each day you can compare who has done the most steps. You can even agree the winner each month gets a massage the losers pay for. It makes it much more enticing to take those extra steps! Report
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