How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

Seven tips to get off the couch and get your workout done!

The other day I posted about how to stop snacking and stay out of the fridge – with some little pep talk ideas to help you make healthier choices! And along the same lines, today’s post has seven tips to bust your excuses, get moving off the couch and exercise even when you don’t feel like it!

Exercise accountability – motivation and discipline!

IMPORTANT! Always rest when you need to. Listen to your body. BE KIND TO YOURSELF. Some days it just isn’t happening, and THAT’S OK.

But, motivation comes and goes. Sometimes we need to encourage ourselves to put in the effort to get the rewards and practice a little discipline to get the exercise done when you don’t feel like it. It takes time to create healthy habits and be able to These tips and reframes can help you get your mojo back and kick your butt into gear!

So without any further chit chat, here are 7 pep talks you can give yourself to step up your exercise accountability and tick off your daily workout:

1 – Baby steps

Taking baby steps is one of my favourite approaches when I don’t really feel like exercising, or anything really, where the whole task just seems too big and overwhelming and long and just plain un-faceable.

This tactic is about breaking tasks down into bite-size pieces, and taking it one bite at a time. Start by doing the very first step in the process and don’t think any further than that. It might be, ‘I’m putting my shoes on’ or ‘I’m filling up my water bottle’.

Each little step is actually manageable, and by only thinking about the one thing you’re doing now instead of the WHOLE workout, you get it done without even noticing (sort of). But it can definitely help!

2 – Mix it up!

Are you tired of your workouts? Or perhaps your legs are a bit sore from a tough workout. This can make it hard to get motivated to exercise and can put you off doing anything.

An exercise plan is a great way to stay accountable and provide a program designed to get you the results you want, but sometimes a little flexibility is nice too. Don’t let your schedule be so rigid that you develop an all or nothing approach to exercise.

If you really don’t feel like doing your scheduled workout, choose an exercise activity you DO want to do. What exercises do you enjoy? Perhaps go for a walk, or do a yoga or stretching session. Don’t feel like doing heavy weights? What about a high energy HIT workout to get some endorphins pumping?

Remember, something is better than nothing – not to mention the additional benefits of bringing joy back to exercise and doing something you really feel like.

3 – Time after time

Shift your focus to the time, rather than the activity. What I mean by that is, instead of thinking about the exercise you don’t feel like doing and the actual activity involved, think about the time now and the time in an hour.

You could sit on the couch for an hour procrastinating, or you could get up now and get started, and in 60 minutes you’ll have done it! An hour is not very long in comparison to all the hours in the day. It’s very easy to lose an hour just slothing about! The sooner you start, the sooner your exercise countdown kicks in and the sooner you’ll be celebrating the finish of your workout.

Another quick tip is to count to five! On the count of five you need to be out of bed/off the couch and moving.

4 – Fast forward thinker

Think about how you will feel afterwards. Think about what you’re going to be feeling, thinking, doing AFTER your workout.

Will you feel energised, strong, gratified? Probably yes! Do you have something to look forward to – a yummy breakfast, a good movie, a nice hot shower?

Thinking about something past your workout, shifts your focus and might just be enough to get you moving and stop thinking up exercise excuses!

5 – Channel your inner momentum

Think about the workouts you’ve done this week, or last week, and the progress you are making. Think about when you did those exercise workouts and how you felt afterwards. Think about your goals and why you want to exercise. Can you keep the momentum going?

This is what it feels like to live a healthy lifestyle! This is your goal – to have a fit and healthy lifestyle! You ARE healthy, now, you are living it, breathing it, doing it, at this very moment! Keep going, keep living your fitness journey!

6 – Fake it ‘til you make it!

Sometimes you just need to channel some positive energy and tell yourself what you want to believe – and make it true! You can change your thought patterns, you can influence how you feel.

Go into manual and override the automatic with some positive pep talk.

Try: I LOVE exercising and moving my body. I ENJOY being disciplined and being accountable. I WANT to exercise. THIS is it, this is what healthy feels like!

7 – Know yourself

Think about what works for you – tough love or gentle cajoling?! Do you need to give yourself a few firm words to get your butt into gear? Or do kind encouragements work better for you? Maybe both depending on the situation.

Find the best approach for YOU – what reminders do you need for exercise accountability, and what words are going to work to help you exercise when you don’t feel like it!

*Bonus tip! Have you got a buddy you can call? Your best fitness friends who might be free to exercise with you, or give you the pep talk you need? Call them up for some extra motivation 🙂

Eyes on the treasure

I hope my seven tips help you to charge up your exercise activity and get moving, even when you don’t feel like it!

Remember, motivation comes and goes, and discipline takes practice. It may be hard to workout today, but it doesn’t mean it will be hard tomorrow, and as you create healthy habits it gets easier. Like all treasures in life, there’s going to be some digging involved.

Do you always feel motivated to exercise? Do you pep yourself up, use gentle encouragement or do you practice self-discipline and JUST DO IT?

Guess what? You can get 10 purse-size Exercise and Move Tip Cards from my itty-bitty shop! Available as digital download, or printed on card and mailed from me to you with love 😘

Frequently Asked Questions
Do online fitness programs get results?

I started my 2021 fitness journey by trying the Rachael Attard Lean Legs program. Check out my final fitness before and after pictures and my posts along the way.

What can I use instead of hand weights?

Water bottles and canned food make great hand weights. I’ve put together a table of what to use so you can exercise at home with no equipment.


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