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5 Tips for Working Out When You Don’t Want To

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Baby, it's cold outside.

Baby, it’s cold outside.

It’s December. You’re busy. You’re tired. You’re stressed. It’s cold outside. And the kids are on school break. There just doesn’t seem to be any time in the day for exercise.

Sound familiar? Who are those people who seem to keep going during the busy season? What’s their secret? And can we copy it without too much trouble?

Of course we can!!


1. THOSE people don’t have a secret; they have a habit. Just as you automatically brush your teeth and put on deodorant (we hope) each day, so can you do at least 5-10 minutes of exercise. It’s how you think about it. If you see it as a luxury, or extra, then it will get cut as your day fills up with stress and chores. If you think of it as part of your non-negotiable personal care regimen, it will stay in the schedule.

Make It Easy

2. Hmmm, the truth is, #1 sort of covers it, but there are ways to get there. Make it easy to do. You don’t have to choose your toothbrush each morning; it’s right there on the sink. Easy peasy. So why spend 5 minutes deciding on an outfit for a quick walk or run (or group fitness class at the gym – our favorite)? Before you go to bed, pull out whatever is on top – socks, shoes, and workout clothes. Put them on top of your toothbrush. That way they’ll be calling to you, “Hey, we are the easiest thing here to put on. Go ahead, get dressed.”

Enlist Help

Call me. Nag me. In a Nice Way. With This Phone.

Call me. Nag me. In a Nice Way. With This Phone.

3. Ask someone who supports you to phone you and remind you to get going. Not a text message – it’s too easy to say yes, then do no via text!! You know what I’m talking about! When you’re held accountable, it’s more likely you’ll follow through.

Donate to What You Hate

4. Put $7 in a jar at the start of the week. As soon as you are done with your workout for the day, take back $1. If you don’t work out, leave that dollar where it is. At the end of the week, any money in the jar goes to a charity you hate. Not one you like – one you hate!! It’s far easier to go for a quick walk around the block then it is to give money to an organization such as the Ku Klux Klan.

Observe Your Self-Talk

Go For a Quick Run Around the Block

Go For a Quick Run Around the Block

5. Watch the self-talk. Behind the obvious “I’m too busy right now,” is the unconscious belief that goes with it – “I’m being selfish if I leave the kids;” “People will think I’m lazy if I don’t do all the chores;” “I want people to like me, so I have to do all kinds of extra work at the holidays;” “It’s hard (or scary) to make a change” – these are all underlying beliefs that many of us have. If you thought “I don’t care about my health” instead of “I’m too busy,” that would seem weird, right? Sort of dissonant in your mind because of course you care about your health. If you find yourself thinking you’re too busy for even a 5 minute walk (and truthfully, once you actually get out the door, you’ll probably go longer), reword that to thinking you just don’t care about your health and see if you find that acceptable. Chances are you won’t. Self-talk is tricky, but not impossible to change once you realize what’s going on (psssst, self-talk is also a habit, which means it can be changed).

If you want more Healthy Holiday Motivation, click this link to read  five additional tips.

What tips would you add to this list? And of course, once you add your comment, go do a few push-ups!

One Really Hot Holiday Tip – Follow us on google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter:  AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

Photo credits: MorgueFile

About Fun and Fit

Get practical exercise advice, your fitness questions answered, and cutting edge health edu-tainment that is accessible and doable from long time fitness experts, Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA. We have taught on land, sea, and airwaves for 3 decades on 4 continents. From writing to speaking, emceeing to hosting a radio show, reviewing products to teaching classes, we believe that little steps turn into big paths. Move a little more than the day before. FitFluential Ambassadors and award-winners both online and off.

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12 Responses to 5 Tips for Working Out When You Don’t Want To

  1. Aqiyl Aniys December 16, 2013 at 7:35 am #

    Number 1 is my way to workout when I don’t want to. :)
    Aqiyl Aniys recently posted..How To Change Your Life – 5 Things To DoMy Profile

  2. Yum Yucky December 16, 2013 at 8:22 am #

    I like the money in jar idea. My hub’s former elementary school teacher was the Grand Master Wizard person of the local KKK. Perhaps we can track him down and ask for donation address?
    Yum Yucky recently posted..Leg Day WorkoutMy Profile

  3. Lindsay @ Fit & Awesome December 16, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    Great tips! I agree if you make it a habit it’s a lot easier to get out the door and get moving.
    Lindsay @ Fit & Awesome recently posted..Stitch Fix Reviews: My December 2013 Fix #11My Profile

  4. Pam@over50feeling40 December 16, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    It has helped me so much to work out with a group of women. We hold each other accountable and make a plan for special circumstances. We also check on each other if someone does not show up. It has made a huge difference in my ability to stick with it!
    Pam@over50feeling40 recently posted..No Party Needed…Just Sparkle!My Profile

  5. Elle December 16, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    This is why I work out at home… so much easier than having to do all the prep and go to the gym.

  6. Pamela Hernandez December 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    I love #4! One of my clients did that with soda. If she drank a soda, gave a $1…
    Pamela Hernandez recently posted..10 Books for Your Fitness WishlistMy Profile

  7. Walker Thornton December 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    Great tips.. I need to work on getting motivated. The habit bit is where I need to start, I guess!
    Walker Thornton recently posted..Is The Pharmaceutical Industry Creating A Perception of Illness?My Profile

  8. Jody - Fit at 56 December 17, 2013 at 5:25 am #

    Great suggestions!!! You know for me it is habit & my life & has been for years… I always make it non-negotiable.. when I was working 60+ hours, it was still there… I know myself & know when to rest vs. make an excuse so…

    Love all your helpful tips always!!!
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted..Giveaway winner, Bananas & Balls!My Profile

  9. Tamara December 17, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    I like the reverse money jar idea! Even more motivating when you’re planning on spending the cash on new Fluevog shoes…
    Tamara recently posted..5 tips for making holiday fitness funMy Profile

  10. samsul December 18, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    Great suggestions!!! You know for me it is habit & my life & has been for years… I always make it non-negotiable.. when I was working 60+ hours, it was still there… I know myself & know when to rest vs. make an excuse so…

  11. Bharat December 18, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

    Good point, You should make your exercise a habit, that way you’ll be able to do it on a daily basis. And reverse money jar point is really encouraging one, which let you continue your exercise without skipping.

  12. Shira December 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    What wonderful tips! For me, the social aspect also drives me to the gym in the mornings before work – I have a nice circle of early morning exerciser friends and we all get ready together in the locker room after exercising. And I agree with the importance of self-talk…it makes such a difference in keeping me on track when I say positive things to myself about how great exercise is for my mind as well as my body. Have a wonderful holiday season!
    Shira recently posted..Three Lessons Holiday Movies Can Teach Us About Real Life HappinessMy Profile

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