Exercise!? But… I Don’t Wanna!

Do you find yourself thinking that phrase in your mind over and over again when the time comes to suit up in your exercise gear and actually get your workout in?  Well, you’re not alone.  I’ve been heavily into fitness since 2004, and now fitness is my career, and there are still many days when I don’t wanna! 😉  How can you get over this mindset?  What are some ways you can put some ammo into your mind gun to convince yourself that, yes, working out is what you are going to do!?  Here are some tips that you can use to help you fight that negative “I don’t wanna” mindset, and replace it with some willpower to do something, even if it’s not necessarily what you may want to do at that moment in time…


Be clear on what your reason for working out is.

One of the main reasons we skip workouts and revert back to old habits is simply because we don’t know why WE really want it.  We know why other people may tell us it’s good, or why the media may tell us it’s something we should be doing, but we aren’t really clear on what it really means to US as individuals.  This is VERY important.  If you are unclear as to why you are about to workout, it’s time to figure that out.  Get out a pen and paper (or a computer, or tablet, or even your smart phone) and start making a list of all of the POSITIVE reasons why you should be exercising on a regular basis.  I can’t tell you what your reasons are, but I’m happy to share with you what my reasons are… and we may overlap.

Melanie’s reasons for exercising regularly include:

  • Endorphins (I get depressed when I’m not working out regularly, so exercise helps me keep a healthy, positive mind)
  • Strength (I got diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, and I have to fight to keep myself feeling strong and in control.  Lifting weights keeps me feeling energized and strong).
  • Aging gracefully (I don’t know about you, but I want to live my life to the fullest, for the longest.  I want to know that I did everything within my control to avoid chronic diseases, medications, and having to use a walker, cane, or wheelchair when I’m older)
  • Energy (when I exercise properly I have more energy, and this just makes my daily activities SO much easier to accomplish!)
  • Self esteem (when I exercise, I feel better… and when I feel better, I LOOK better to myself.  Plus, exercise will make you look better, period, because you are shaping the muscles your body was given, and you’re burning excess body fat that our bodies weren’t really designed to have to carry).


What are yours?  Write them down… now!  Yes, I’m serious.

When you are clear on WHY you WANT to workout (yes, want to workout, not “should” workout), you’ll be more likely to be able to convince yourself to do it.  So, if you find yourself stalling, revisit your reasons why you decided to start in the first place.


Suit up!

I’ll admit, I’m more likely to workout when I’m in actual workout clothing than when I’m lounging around in pajama bottoms.  It’s amazing what a physical cue can do to alert our brain.  Just last night, I was having a bad case of the “I don’t wannas,” but I made myself go change into fitness clothing and put on some sneakers.  That act, by itself, morphed my brain into thinking, “Ok, it’s workout time, lets do this!”  If you don’t have workout gear, it may be time to get yourself some.  Get workout clothing that you like, that makes you feel confident, and that you enjoy wearing for comfort and style.


Negotiate with yourself.

By “negotiate with yourself,” I definitely don’t mean saying something like, “If you do this workout, you can eat that donut,” to your brain.  That’d be counterproductive.  The way I negotiate with myself is, on those days when I really don’t feel like it, I’ll tell myself, “Ok, look… just start, do the warm-up, and aim for 20 minutes.  At that point, if you want to stop you can, but if you want to finish, go strong until the end.”  It’s fine to do that, because 20 minutes is better than nothing.  Besides, I will tell you that the majority of the time I hit that 20 minute mark and think, “I’ve made it this far, why stop now?”  An interesting side note to make on this is that on these days, when I have to negotiate with myself, is usually when I have my best workouts ever.  I think you just end up getting so proud of yourself that you did it, that you want to push harder and prove what you’ve really got!  Try it!


Have a role model.

Last but not least, have a visual role model.  Someone who represents everything you want to represent.  I say “visual” but this role model should be a role model for more than just their bod.  Despite popular belief, superficial motivation is not really all that strong.  Your role model should also inspire you because of their passion, their will, their drive, or any other quality you highly look up to.  Find a place to put your favorite picture of that person, so that when you are doubting your desire to exercise, you can look at that photo and ask, “What would they do?”


All of these things can be used with exercise AND with nutrition, too.  I find myself negotiating with my food choices quite often as well.  But, if you have that deep rooted reason and desire, more times than not you can WIN these negotiations and move forwards towards your goals 🙂

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