7 Surprising Ways to Get Motivated to Exercise

Posted On Jan 29, 2024 |

Motivation is HARD when you‘re navigating work, kids/grandkids/aging parents, fatigue, health challenges....etc. It's time to think outside the box!

7 Surprising Ways to Get Motivated to Exercise

We’ve all heard the usual motivators for getting up and moving, working out, or exercising...... 

(Do you know the difference between movement, exercise and training?  I wrote about it recently here

Maybe you’ve tried getting a work out buddy who keeps you accountable, or promising yourself a reward after you finish. 

Or maybe you’ve bought a smaller pair of pants that you JUST KNOW you'll fit into eventually, or purchased a gym membership hoping that the membership card alone would motivate you to exercise. 

But sometimes they just don’t cut it, and then you feel like you need to 'bring out the big guns' of negative self-talk, workout binges, or the like.

We all know that's not an optimal solution for you if you want to play the long game. 


What can you do that could possibly motivate you to get your butt moving when you‘re navigating a grueling day at work, classes, kids/grandkids/aging parents, community responsibilities,.....etc?

Consider today the start of a new year, a fresh opportunity to set your fitness goals and smash them! Don’t let fatigue, stress, or negative self talk keep you from the fitness transformation you've always dreamed about.

Here are seven surprising ways to get motivated to exercise when all you want to do is chill on the couch.

1) Make Your Workout Part of Your Passion.

Make a list of things you are passionate about, or that you are curious about trying, and that seem to be in-line with your goals. 

Be as specific as possible. 

Then look for the places where they intersect.


  • an upper body work out will help you kayak further and faster.
  • squats will make hiking that mountain easier.
  • leg curls and standing calf raises will up your tennis game.
  • Ice-skating will improve leg strength, balance and reaction time.
  • gardening will work your entire body, while getting in tune with the earth and nature, and it could provide healthy food for your table
  • hiking will give you some great shots for your photography hobby
  • and so on.....

Then go through the list again and rank them according to your goals, schedule, budget, desire, etc. 

Then, get out there and TRY IT

When you personalize movement time and tie it to your life, you will think about it differently. It’s a brain changer!

2) Only Wash Your Hair on Days You Exercise.

Wait what?

Yes, I'm serious! 

If you make work out days your best hair days, I guarantee you will absolutely work out more often. Clean, beautiful, good smelling hair can be yours…if you earn it. And think about what your hair will look like after three days on the couch. 

It doesn't have to involve your hair though. Just a favorite self-care activity that you 'get' to do after you've moved your body. 

Vanity is a powerful motivator!

3) Listen to an Audio Book, Podcast or Music while Exercising.

Most of us wish we had more time to read. Choose an audio book you’ve been dying to read but just couldn’t find the time for. ONLY listen to it while you are working out. Getting to the good part just might be what you need to keep you running further or in the gym longer. 

Along those lines, pick a podcast or playlist that is ONLY for movement time. 

4) Compete with EVERYONE.

I know, I know - everyone says don't compare yourself to others. But for motivational purposes I’m going to deviate from that a bit now. 

Make everyone a workout buddy - without telling them. When you climb on the cardio machine, check out your neighbor’s settings. If the guy next to you is on the rowing machine for twenty minutes, you go thirty. See that dog a block ahead of you? You can beat him. Use other people to get motivated to exercise whether they know they’re competing or not!

And also do the opposite ... hang out with like-minded women in a place where you can give and get support.

Because let's face it, exercise is so much easier when you have people supporting you and keeping you accountable. A great example of this is my free private group on Facebook for women over 40: Back to Basics Fitness. Info at the end of this post. 

5) Use Post-it Notes.

Buy yourself a big stack of multi colored post-its. Write down your goal weight, motivational quotes, exercise goals, deadlines, how you are going to feel when you start seeing results — whatever will fuel your drive to move — and stick them everywhere - on your bathroom mirror, in your closet, on the hangers of clothes that are a little too tight, on the visor in your car, on the fridge, on your remote, on your desktop, next to your cell phone charger. Whatever you think will have the most visibility and impact.

Every time you work out, grab one note, destroy it then put it in a jar. All those increasing bits colorful bits of clutter is a powerful motivator.

Don’t think a few silly post-it notes will get you motivated to exercise? 

6) Choose a Scenic Route and Take Selfies, or Nature Shots.

During the age of social media, we seem to be on a quest for awesome pictures, so make your workout a beautiful trek and take great shots of the scenery or a selfie as you go. 

When you finish you’ll not only have the satisfaction of having completed it, you’ll have a great post for your social media feed! Be sure to tag me so I can give you an internet high-five! 

See the end of this post for ways to connect with me on the world wide web.

7) Think About Your Haters.

Let's face it, everyone has haters. 

We all have someone who makes us feel a little “less than” whether it’s an ex, a co-worker, a family member, or a “friend.” 

You know who I am talking about: those people who seem to say or do little things designed to whittle away at our confidence. 

They exist. 

There’s no way to avoid them. So use your workout to blast those naysayers right out of your head. Get even by getting stronger, faster, and more mobile than the people who want to knock you down. 

Let someone else’s negativity motivate you to the biggest possible win, great health!


I hope you found at least one thing to try, but remember, everyone has days when they REALLY don’t want to work out. 

Don’t feel guilty!

Start simply. Set goals you are reasonably sure you CAN do (as opposed to what you think you SHOULD do). 

You can try sharing it with someone, but only if you think that will work for you. 

Try a group fitness class. 

Journal on what motivated you to begin a workout routine in the first place. 

Put on your workout gear even if you don’t feel like it!

Sometimes just getting dressed can help get you out the door. There are dozens of solid ways you’ve gotten yourself to work out in the past - and most days, they will be enough.

But if all your usual motivation methods fail, try something outrageous. The techniques I’ve just shared are fun. And for me, fun is the best motivator of all.

Whatever it is, there is SOMETHING that will help you get motivated to exercise. Don’t stop searching until you find it!

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Check out my free private Facebook Group Back to Basics Fitness so that you can join a supportive group of like-minded women. There are weekly mini-challenges, tips, recipes and more. 

Other ways to connect with me on social media (click on each to be brought directly to the page):



Facebook - Personal

Facebook - Business


Categories: Move