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Struggling with motivation to get fit?

Staying motivated to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle can be challenging, particularly in the colder months when snuggling up on the couch with comfort food might seem far more appealing than donning a pair of running shoes and going out for a jog. Understanding the root cause of one's lack of motivation is key to developing an effective strategy to overcome it. In this article, we'll explore some reasons why you might struggle with motivation and look at practical ways to stay inspired on your fitness journey. Whether you're just starting out, or trying to get back on track, these strategies are designed to help you stay focused and achieve your goals.

Why can’t I get motivated to exercise?

There are many reasons why someone may struggle with motivation to start exercising. One example could be a lack of self-discipline or willpower to stick to a regular exercise routine. Or it could be the absence of a clear goal, making it more difficult to focus on set targets. Many people would cite time constraints as the main reason for feeling unmotivated – jobs, childcare or daily chores, etc., can all make it difficult to squeeze in time to exercise. Others might feel a lack of access to resources or equipment may be holding them back, or another explanation could simply be that some people don’t enjoy exercise, or are yet to find a physical activity suited to them.

Motivation to get fit and healthy

Whatever your reason for feeling uninspired, the tips below may help you find the motivation to get up and active, so let's get started!

1. Understand your motive

Before you start a new exercise regime it’s important to understand why you’re doing it and what you’re hoping to get out of it. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, build muscle or improve physical health, understanding your motivation for getting fit will help you set meaningful and achievable goals, and provides you with a clear direction and purpose.

2. Set realistic and achievable goals

Set small, achievable exercise goals that can be gradually increased as you progress. For example, if you're new to exercise, start by committing to a 10 minute walk each day, and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your workouts as you feel more comfortable. Keeping track of your progress and celebrating your successes will help you stay motivated and focused on your goals.

3. Create a routine

Establishing a consistent exercise schedule can help you develop healthy habits and support motivation levels. This can include scheduling regular workout times, incorporating physical activity into your daily routine and making healthy eating a habit. By making these part and parcel of your day to day responsibilities, they become less intimidating and easier to stick to.

4. Find an exercise friend

Exercising with a friend can add fun and variation to your workout, which boosts your chances of sticking to a routine. Not only can you motivate each other to reach your respective fitness goals, it’s also a great opportunity to socialise and make exercising feel less monotonous.

5. Reward yourself

Be sure to celebrate reaching any significant milestones and reward yourself accordingly. For example, treat yourself to something you enjoy each time you hit a new distance target or complete a challenging workout. Recognise how good it feels to reach that goal and use that positive energy to spur you on to your next challenge.

6. Find an activity you enjoy

When people think of exercise, they often automatically think of running or going to the gym, which may suit some but not others. You might find that activities such as group classes, swimming, yoga or dancing are more to your tastes. The important thing is to find a form of exercise you enjoy and find manageable which helps aid motivation and keep you engaged, making it easier to stick to your fitness goals.

7. Mix things up

Exercise can sometimes feel monotonous, leading to boredom and a lack of motivation to continue. You can tackle this by trying new activities, changing your routine and setting new goals. For instance, you could try running one week, then swimming the next. Or perhaps you could challenge yourself to try a new home workout YouTube video each week. This will help to keep things fresh and different, preventing you from becoming complacent or losing interest in your fitness routine.

8. Focusing on the benefits

Remind yourself of the numerous physical, mental and emotional benefits that come with a healthy and fit lifestyle. Regular exercise and healthy eating can improve your energy levels, mental health and reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases. Focusing on these benefits can help you stay motivated and committed to your fitness goals.

How LiveWell Dorset can help

If you’re struggling with motivation to get fit and healthy, LiveWell Dorset is here to help. Our website has a wide range of resources available to help the people of Dorset lead healthier, happier lives. Why not try our LiveWell Finder tool to find local fitness classes near you, or take a look at the Habit Hacker resource, designed to identify reasons why you might struggle to exercise while exploring bespoke behaviour change techniques tailored to you. You can also give us a call or register with us today. Our team of expert wellness advisors and coaches will work with you every step of the way to develop a personalised plan aligned with your fitness goals. Drop us a line today!

Further inspiration

Weymouth resident Julia found a local walking netball group through our Activity Finder, after searching for a physical activity that would fit into her schedule. She was introduced to a group of like-minded women with similar fitness goals and abilities, and is now feeling much healthier, happier and more confident as a result of her new found hobby!


"In January 2019, I was five stone heavier. Now, with the weight loss, parkrun and netball, my anxiety has improved tenfold."

View full story

How does this work?

The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

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