Get a Move On: How to Stop Putting off Working out

working outIf you’re one of those people who pops out of bed and then straight out the door to get to your workout or go to the gym, then this isn’t for you. On the other hand, it is for you if you are one of those people who looks for any excuse not to work out. “Well, it’s raining—guess I can’t go running today,” you say sheepishly, as you hit the snooze and roll back over. It doesn’t matter what your excuse is, just that you have a lot of them. You ate too much—can’t work out. You didn’t eat anything. You’re tired. You have some work emails to answer. There’s a show you don’t want to miss. You could come up with excuses forever, but the end result, of course, is that you’re not getting your workouts in like you should. Then you feel guilty and you use that as an excuse. Well, it’s time to can the excuses and actually get to work. Here are some ways to overcome procrastination.

Just go: It turns out a certain athletic shoe company has the right idea. The number one way to stop procrastinating is to stop procrastinating. Just get out there and do what you need to do. You can’t wait for the right moment to work out (or to do whatever else you’re procrastinating, for that matter). You do it, you get it over with, and you can save that energy you used to use for making up excuses to workout harder and smarter.

However, that’s (obviously) easier said than done. It’s also not very helpful. You might be thinking, Thank you, captain obvious, but if we could all stop procrastinating by just doing the thing we’re putting off doing, then no one would ever procrastinate and everything would run like greased wheels. I thought the same thing when I read that the first time and then I didn’t work out because I was too irritated to do my cardio. So what can you do if you can’t just do it?

First of all, you’re never going to work out if you hate every moment of it. So, although it sounds obvious, find something you enjoy doing. If you hate every aspect of going to the gym—getting dressed, fighting traffic, dealing with gym folk, working out in public—don’t do it. Maybe you’re not meant for group exercise and you prefer working out solo. There are plenty of ways to do that. If you like the idea of aerobics classes, but not so much the class aspect, there are options. You can get workout DVDs or even find streaming workouts. There are even workouts on Youtube. Dance your way to fitness in the comfort of your living room, if you want. It’s your workout.

And speaking of dancing, maybe you don’t like traditional exercising, but you do like to move. Go out dancing or take dance classes. Go for a hike. Go for a walk around your neighborhood. Just get out and move.

how-to-get-motivatedAnd if you do want to try traditional workouts, but you’re intimidated by the thought of going to the gym, don’t be.There are more and more gyms operating under policies of “no judgment,” even in smaller towns. Ask around and check Yelp reviews to find a place that fits you.

Once you’ve got your workout in place, another way to keep yourself from procrastinating is to keep yourself accountable. That’s why you should track your workouts. There are a number of ways to do this. If you want a physical way to track what you’re doing, there are many fitness trackers out there that fit most budgets. However, you don’t have to spend money if you don’t want to (or can’t). There are websites that will help you track your workouts, as well as free apps you can use. Managing your workout accomplishments is as easy as pulling out your phone. And while you can find several free app options, many of those also have paid options if you want or need extra capabilities in your tracking. The costs are usually around $5, so it’s a more economical choice for those who can’t afford the average monthly gym fees.

And while you’ve got your phone out, you can also use it to keep yourself entertained (or distracted) while you’re working out. Obviously you can listen to music. However, you can also listen to audiobooks, podcasts, or even standup comedy albums to keep yourself going. Allow yourself to listen to them only when you’re working out and you’ll want to get back out there just so you can hear the ending.

But if even that fails, you may have to try something stronger. So, resort to bribes. This can be as simple as an exercise jar, where you deposit a small amount of money every time you successfully complete a workout, or you can make it a bit more structured, by putting money in your savings when you finish exercising. Set goals for something you’d like as a reward to keep yourself motivated.

If you’d just like more money and your goal is losing weight, there are also websites where you can make bets on your weight loss. You and a group of other people all put in money and then everyone who meets the goal—for example, a 10% weight loss—at the end of a period gets to share the pot.

If your goal isn’t weight loss, though, there are still websites and apps where you can set goals and win money when you accomplish them. And if you need more of the stick than the carrot, there are also apps where you have to pay money for each day that you don’t work out. However, those are definitely not for everyone, so think hard about whether that’s something you want to do or can afford.

Whichever way you choose, just choose one and get to work. You’ll feel so much better when you’re full of accomplishment, rather than excuses.

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