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6 Ways to Motivate Yourself When You Feel Like Quitting

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

Do we need to elaborate again on why exercise is good for you? Probably not...

Everyone has learned that part by now. So, if we are all well aware of all the benefits regular physical activity brings us, why aren't we all doing it? Well, the simple answer is the lack of motivation. Now, while even the most regular of gym-goers or cross-fitters or sports enthusiasts alike stray away from their fitness routines now and again, it's essential to go back to it. To do so, you need a different approach. What you need, in actuality, is a changed frame of mind. You need something that people in the fitness industry call the fit-for-life state of mind. And it involves a positive attitude toward exercising and healthy living. This article will show you six ways to motivate yourself when you feel like quitting to help you get there.

Man exercising on mat
Develop a fit-for-life state of mind

Before we begin...

Before telling you about different ways to motivate yourself when you feel like quitting, you have to understand that you are not alone. And it's even easy to notice that. Look at a regular year at a gym. There are periods when people have to fight over gym equipment and periods when you are virtually alone. Fitness professionals even refer to these busy periods as the "exercise season." It starts somewhere at the beginning of spring with the first rays of sunshine. The nice weather reminds us that summer is coming, which means more skin will be showing, which means beach holidays, which means we must get back in shape and we must do it stat! Once the season is over, and we go back to loose clothes, bulky sweaters, and bearlike winter coats, we lose motivation to keep going with the healthy routine.

Two people running by the river
To motivate yourself when you feel like quitting, you need a change of mindset.

For some other people, the initial surge of motivation is caused by an important approaching event. Once it passes, there is really not much motivating you to continue. If you recognize yourself in these two scenarios, you need a change of perspective. You need to find the motivation that will be sustainable and attainable, regardless of the season or upcoming events. And that is what we mean by saying you need a fit-for-life approach. You need a mindset change that will keep you going and motivate you to stay healthy and active throughout the year, year after year, always.

Also, you have to find the type of workout you like and find fun. Whatever you do, you must ensure you enjoy this activity. If you feel like a lamb to the slaughter every time you should exercise, you are set to fail. And what's the point, after all?

Now let's get on with 6 ways to motivate yourself when you feel like quitting...

Now you know that you are not a lonely ranger battling laziness, the allure of the couch, and the tantalizing smell of pizza. So, what now? Well, now you try to find a good enough reason to put on your gym clothes, running shoes, or whatever type of sports equipment you need every day. Ok, maybe not every day, but a few times per week. This article will help you with some tips.

1. Make exercising a must

The most critical step in becoming active is introducing exercise into your routine and being categorical about it. No excuses, no "maybe later." Training is one of the daily tasks that you must do. In a way, you should make it a priority over some other things. With proper time management, you will most certainly be able to do it.

Here is an example. I have a friend who has been working out at a gym for the past 15 years, five times per week, plus bike rides at the weekend or a football game with friends. After work, there is gym time. And it's non-negotiable. Everything else happens after it. There is no pushing it for later, canceling, and making up for it. Although this is a pretty rigid example, it is an excellent one because, in most cases, you can and should prioritize workouts over non-productive activities such as napping or watching TV.

2. Free yourself from the burden of striving for perfection

This one is another critical point. Why? Because trying to reach perfection and typically failing is the primary reason why many give up on their fitness routines. You don't need to do everything perfectly. What you need is progress. Steady and positive progress, no matter how small. You must learn to settle for good enough in this case because striving for perfection and continually being short is a major success killer. However, if you learn to appreciate your results, no matter how small, you will be happier, which is a huge motivator.

3. Slow and steady wins the race

In other words, take baby steps. If you set impossible goals, it's only natural to lose motivation. Now, of course, you need goals to know what you are working toward achieving. However, forget about that big picture for a bit and focus on the tiny steps leading you to it. You cannot miraculously jump to the final outcome. Expecting that will only set you to fail. Instead, focus on small, attainable baby steps, and once you complete one, you can proceed to the next one.

4. Be around health and fitness-oriented people

Two people running together as a way to motivate yourself when you feel like quitting If inactive,
Having a training partner can be a huge motivator.

If inactive, passive people surround you, chances are you will be the same. Often, it's helpful to have friends with the same goal. Even better, you can find a training partner. It could be a massive motivator to keep you going. You can push each other without even realizing it. Moreover, it's good to have someone you can discuss your routine with who understands how important staying active and fit is for you.

Otherwise, if couch potatoes are all around you, they may never know what you are doing, why you are doing it, and most importantly, they won't be able to give you the support and motivation you need.

5. Put a reward system in place

Probably the simplest way to motivate yourself when you feel like quitting is to have a reward system in place. Anything you enjoy can work as an incentive. Set a goal and promise yourself a treat once you reach it. It can be a short vacation, a shopping spree, anything you get excited about.

6. Remind yourself of long-term benefits

Of course, physical appearance can be a tremendous motivator. However, long-term health benefits can and should be an even more powerful incentive. The issue with health is that it's not superficial. We can't see it as clearly as the physical beauty. So, it's necessary to remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing. Never let your health be secondary to your looks, and keep a list of health benefits of regular physical activity at hand.

A woman doing plank
Always remind yourself of the long-term benefits of regular exercise.

If you have kids, remind yourself that staying fit and healthy will enable you to have more energy to play with them. It will keep you strong and healthy to see your grandkids grow and participate in your childhood. These are powerful motivators, so make use of them.

Get off the couch and get going

Ultimately, before you can motivate yourself when you feel like quitting, you have to start doing something. For many, embarking on the journey to wellness is the challenging part. So, remember that once you do begin exercising regularly, you will have already overcome the most difficult obstacle. Therefore, give yourself a pat on the back and the encouragement you need to push through. Finally, always go back to your routine (even if you happen to slip a little).



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