In today’s blog post, we’re going to talk about one of the hardest things you can possibly do: summon the willpower to work out when you just feel like ‘Netflix and chill’ all day.
I’m going to give you 4 steps that will help you start exercising, even when you feel too lazy or too tired to work out.
If you’re on the go, listen to the audio version of this blog post:
First of all, let’s be real: We’ve all felt like not exercising. Maybe you had to stay up all night because your daughter had a stomach ache. Or you went out for a couple of drinks with friends and ended up closing the bar last night. No matter what happened, there are days when you just don’t feel like working out!
So, what can you do to get into the mood and start to?
1. Ask Yourself: Is It My Mind That’s Tired, or My Body?
Here’s the difference: If your mind is tired, you’re probably having negative thoughts, one of which, my friend, is that you’re too tired to work out. That’s right. More often than not, it’s your mind that’s pulling the strings.
To check if it’s your body that needs rest,
Then, we go back home, just to start staring at our phones and binge-watching on YouTube videos and Instagram pictures, not giving our minds a rest or our bodies a challenge. No wonder we’re mentally and physically tired all of the time!
There are many ways to tune into your body: You can find a quiet place and meditate. You can play your favorite music and start to dance to it. You can do your favorite yoga and stretching exercises. Last but not least—and yes, you guessed it right—you can work out.
Since you’re trying to tune into your body, I think that a 5-minute meditation will give you clarity of whether you’re physically tired or just mentally exhausted. Here are 3 guided 5-minute free meditations for you.
2. Focus on the End Result
Working out is not the easiest thing to do, especially when you’re feeling tired. Nevertheless, you will significantly improve your motivation to exercise when tired and efficiency if you focus your mind on the end result; not the problems.
Just think about the endorphins that are going to flow through your body after a workout, the sense of joy, peace, and happiness, the feeling of being alive and ready to conquer the world. Doesn’t sound bad, does it?
If you have trouble motivating yourself to work out, then visualize yourself exercising. Close your eyes and imagine that you’ve already completed your workout.
Feel the energy flowing through your body, the feeling of having accomplished something great today, the reward of taking care of your health. Breathe slowly and deeply, emerge yourself into the fantasy, and once you feel a bit better, go to step 3.
3. Make the First Step
What do I mean by this? If your idea of exercise is going to the gym, then put on your gym clothes. That’s it. Now, make the next step: put on your shoes. Then go outside. And so on, and so on, and so on, until you finish your workout. By the time you get back home, you will be wondering how it all happened.
The trick is to turn this big, scary, action (like working out) into small, bite-sized steps that won’t overwhelm you and you will find the willpower to do them, one by one.
4. Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
There will be days when you won’t feel like working out—and that’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up about it! If it happens from time to time, embrace it. We all have bad days and, sometimes, we feel like crap without being able to do much about it. But talking down on yourself won’t do you a favor.
Be compassionate with yourself. Get to the root cause of the problem: are you really tired or have you bottled up some feelings or obsessive thoughts that you need to let go of? We all suffer from that from time to time. After all, we’re only human. The important thing is to acknowledge it and do something about it.
If you want to learn how to reframe your negative thoughts, here’s a free
Let’s say you haven’t slept well in the last couple of days and you don’t feel like working out today. That’s completely normal, if you ask me!
Now, pause for a second, and notice your inner narrative: that little voice on the back of your head. What do you say to yourself if you skip a workout? Do you feel like a loser? Are you judging yourself too harshly?
Instead of being your worst critic, become your own cheerleader! You don’t feel like working out today? Fine! You’ll work out tomorrow.
You can even trick your brain by finding an activity that will still get you active without the resistance you’re feeling towards exercising in particular. Play a favorite song of yours and dance it out! Or go on a walk with your pet around the block or just by yourself with your headphones and your favorite podcast.
There are many ways to move your body and you don’t have to necessarily work out all the time. If skipping exercise is something that doesn’t happen often, it’s perfectly okay to take a day off.