5 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

For some people, working out comes naturally and with ease, while for others, it seems like a constant struggle. According to  Berkeley Wellness, many factors affect our attitudes towards exercise, including childhood experiences, parental role modeling, physical abilities, self-confidence, habit, motivation,  cultural norms, age, body image, genetics, and even our beliefs and expectations about the potential benefits and unpleasant aspects of working out.

Regardless of your feelings towards exercise, we all know that working out is good for our bodies. People who work out regularly report feeling more energized, less stressed, and happier than those who remain sedentary all day long.

So how can you motivate yourself to work out when you cringe at the thought of going to the gym? Try these 5 ways to motivate yourself to exercise!

  1. Find a buddy! Whether it’s your spouse, child, best friend, Kurbo coach, or someone at the gym, find a person that will hold you accountable for working out. Text your workout buddy after every workout or when you need that extra motivation to get started, and support each other. Brag to them when you accomplish something big, and rejoice with them when they do the same. It is much easier to stay on track when you are working together with another person.
  2. Try something new! Perhaps running and lifting weights are not your scenes, that doesn’t mean exercise isn’t for you! Explore new activities until you find something you enjoy! If you like being outside, try canoeing, jumping rope, paddle boarding, biking, or hiking. Inside? Check out the elliptical, try Zumba, look up fun online workout videos, or swim. If you like to be social, invite your friends! Looking for a place to start? This week invite one friend to go for a walk/hike instead of grabbing coffee or lunch!
  3. Write it down! Make an exercise plan with one workout for each day of the week and hang it in your bathroom or kitchen. Writing down your plan gives you a physical reminder each day plus the satisfaction of crossing off each completed workout.
  4. Start off easy! Set achievable goals. If your ultimate goal is to run a 5k, start off by walking, build up to briskly walking every day, then try combining jogging and walking until you’re able to jog the whole way. Focus on making time for exercise every single day, then work on increasing the intensity and length. Looking for a place to start? Walk briskly for 20 minutes every day this week.
  5. Smile! Do you have a negative mindset about exercise? You do if you are physically able but think that exercise is too boring, difficult, or time-consuming for you. Be positive! Research has shown that people with a positive mindset towards exercise are more likely to make healthy choices throughout the day, such as, taking the stairs instead of the elevator. So smile! Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore.

I hope that these tips will help you next time you’re sitting in front of Netflix wondering “how do I motivate myself to exercise?” Be sure to talk to your Kurbo coach to plan out a healthy, personalized exercise plan each week! Remember, it might not be easy, but it’ll definitely be worth it!

Good luck!


Emma is a rising Junior at Duke University studying Cultural Anthropology with minors in Global Health and Chemistry.  She loves working with kids, playing guitar, and singing. In her free time, Emma plays Ultimate Frisbee and enjoys running, hiking, and backpacking whenever possible. 

Kurbo provides the first mobile-based health coaching and weight management program for kids, teens, and their families. See whether Kurbo is right for your child, try a Kurbo coaching plan for free today!