6 Mindset Hacks to Beat Workout Procrastination (NDPP#13)

For the first week or two that you start a new workout routine, you’re EXCITED to hit the gym or go for a jog. But after the honeymoon phase, you start putting it off, telling yourself you’ll go tomorrow, or you skip workouts all together. 

If you want to end the workout procrastination, hack your mindset with these simple tips that will have you looking forward to hitting the gym!

Share Your Workout Plans

Does anyone know you’ve started a new workout routine? Maybe you’ve mentioned it to a friend or posted about it on social media? If not, why? 

A surprising amount of people don’t share when they’ve started a new diet, fitness program, or other lifestyle change because they are afraid of judgement when they won’t stick with it. From the very beginning, that mindset is accepting failure.

But you’re not going to accept that failure! Tell a friend or post on Facebook that you’re going to the gym after work or you’re going on a lunchtime walk. If you’re feeling like putting it off, ask for some support like, “Hey everyone, tell me why I should go to the gym after work. I’m feeling like ditching today.”  Simply by sharing your plans, you’re holding yourself accountable, and you’re more likely to get that workout in!

Change Up Your Routine

If you’re putting off your exercise because you dread the elliptical or it’s too rainy to go for a walk, get creative! There’s nothing that says you have to do the same thing every workout or that workouts can only take place at the gym. 

Instead of hitting machines, swim some laps or do a light jog around the track. If the weather is nice, get outside and go for a brisk walk instead of slogging away on a treadmill. Tired of going it alone? Sign up for a class or recruit a friend to walk with you!

Basically, if something is boring to you, you’re not going to want to do it. It’s the same reason most people don’t do algebra equations in their spare time. So, find new ways to get moving or discover new ways to switch it up, and your workout will be something you look forward to, rather than put off.

Break It Up

If you tell yourself you HAVE to workout for an hour for it to count, but then you keep putting off getting to that one hour, well…I have some news for you. 

First, and this should come as no surprise, ANY movement is better than none. Only have 10 minutes? That’s plenty of time for a brisk walk around the block or doing some strength-training exercises. Second, the Centers for Disease Control found that while 30 minutes a day of exercise is optimal, you don’t have to get it all at once. Three 10-minute workouts were just as effective as a full 30 minutes at once. 

So, if you don’t have time for 30 or 60 minutes, break it up into chunks like three 10-minute workouts or two 15-minute workouts. As soon as you do one, you’ll be more motivated to keep going throughout the day. 

Set Smaller Goals

Similar to breaking it up, if a big workout seems overwhelming, there’s no law that says you have to exercise for a set time or you have to do a certain amount of pushups and squats. Instead, start with a small goal that you know you can do for a few days, and then build on that goal. 

While we are all about pushing ourselves and going beyond the comfort zone, sometimes staying in the comfort zone a little bit is all it takes to move past feeling overwhelmed, stop procrastinating, and start doing. 

Get It Over With

Sometimes, the best way to overcome procrastination is just to get it over with. The longer you put off doing something, the less likely you are to actually go through with it. Think about it, if you’re spending all day dreading going to the gym after work, you’re going to find reasons to talk yourself out of going – “I’m too tired,” “I put in a long day,” or “I’ll do it tomorrow.” 

If you tell yourself you’re going to exercise in the evenings, then when evening comes, you choose anything BESIDES exercise, you need to re-think your strategy. Wake up 30 minutes early to get a workout in so it’s not hanging over your head all day and when you don’t have excuses like being stressed or tired to give you an out. 

Focus on Today

You’ve skipped a few workouts in a row so now you’re thinking, “why bother?” and you don’t even tell yourself you’ll go to the gym after work. You’ve fallen off the wagon and there’s no climbing back on, right?

Wrong. Health is not an “eventual” thing. It’s not a goal to achieve. Health is every day, so while you can’t change yesterday, you can make today count. So what if you skipped a few walks or classes? There’s nothing about yesterday that can hold you back from making better choices today.