Working out, and let’s be honest here, is easier said than done. Forget where there’s a will there’s a way. When it comes to exercise where there’s a will there is often also a dozen “legitimate” excuses you can use to hide your flagging motivation. Here’s what to do when you want to exercise but need a push to get started.

Step outside the box

Working out doesn’t have to mean pounding out an hour on the treadmill. Boring! Keep it interesting so you’re more likely to show up. Instead round up the gang for an hour of Frisbee or football. Invite a friend to join you for laps at the pool or a bike ride in the park. You just need to engage in an activity that elevates your heart rate. The sky’s the limit so there is no reason not to choose something that doesn’t feel like a chore.

young man catching frisbee outdoors

Make a date

Studies have shown that big dates make for big motivation. In other words, you are more likely to show up for your workout when you know you have vacation, a class reunion or race coming up. Set a target to focus on and remind yourself of the goal when you start waffling about working out.

Get support

Join an online community and check in with your accountability partners. Hearing about their progress, getting a few words of encouragement or seeing their daily stats may be just what you need to get off your duff.

Study your mantra

Find an exercise motivational quote that really speaks to you and repeat it for motivation. Two popular quotes are, Just do it, Nike and you have to get up every morning and tell yourself, I can do this. Not sure who said that one, but it is a definite motivator.

Plan a reward

Practice the when and then policy. It works like this – when I have finished working out then I will reward myself with X. Just be sure whatever X is, it doesn’t undo all your good workout work.

Give yourself an out

Begin by saying I give myself permission to do only ten minutes. You may do more than that, you may do only ten. That is okay, all activity counts.

Keep a photo on the fridge

Trying to get back in those old jeans? Post a pic of you wearing them. Remind yourself that you won’t be able to get back into them by magic. You need to work out. Here is another exercise quote that works don’t give up what you want most for what you want now. In other words the couch for another Netflix binge or one workout closer to buttoning those jeans – you get to choose.

Change your mind

Recognize that feelings are always changing. Just because you don’t feel like working out right this minute does not mean you won’t have a change of heart in 5 minutes or an hour. Remain open to the idea of working out. Go ahead and get dressed for your workout. You may just find that you get it done.