How to Get Motivated to Exercise When You Feel Like Skipping a Workout

Jun 29th, 2022

You wrote it on your to-do list, you’ve set aside the time, and you know why you set the goal; it’s time to get that workout in and everything’s here except your motivation. If it feels like your fitness goals are shrinking farther into the horizon, the tips in this article will save the day. 

Read on to get some extra support in the motivation department and don’t skip another one of your martial arts lessons.

Define Your Goals

You might have goals, but do you have well-defined goals? Motivation relies on your goals, both short-term and long-term. In martial arts, many students consider their next belt test as a reasonable short-term goal. Long-term goals might include earning your black belt or losing X amount of weight. Focus on the short-term goal but keep the long-term goal in mind when your motivation starts to wane.

Prepare the Day Before

Make motivation easy for you by making your obstacles easy for you. It’s more likely you’ll make it to the gym or dojo tomorrow if you have everything prepared beforehand. Why does this technique work? It’s common to use simple excuses to lose motivation. 

Your gi or gym clothes are dirty? Great excuse to skip your workout. No gas in the car? No time to get to the gym, then. Lack of sleep? Well, you’ll have to just rest up and skip your workout, right? Take care of all the things that must be done to streamline your life before heading out to the gym and you’ll be more likely to meet your goals.

Pro-tip: Having a gym bag with clean clothes packed and organized with post-gym snacks can be very useful. This way, you can just grab the bag and go to the gym.

Don’t Overthink

When you start thinking of excuses for why you should skip those martial arts lessons, you’ll know you’ve started to lose the motivation battle. We all know how this goes; an hour before the gym, your mind starts producing “reasons” why you should skip the next workout, and some of them might be pretty convincing.

When you start to talk yourself out of pursuing your goal, recognize that your own mind is trying to thwart you and just stop thinking. The concept of “no mind” in Eastern philosophy can be useful for moments of low motivation. Think of the concept like this: Don’t think, do.

Stop thinking? That might seem like odd advice, but if you recognize that your mind is trying to produce reasons for you to be lazy, it makes sense to turn off your mind. You can try to meditate for a few minutes or do a simple task like sweeping the floor and focusing on that—not the excuses your mind is producing.

Go and Fail

When motivation seems impossible, simply choose to go to the gym and have a terrible workout. It sounds funny, but the reality is that when you get to the gym or dojo, you know you’ll end up feeling better. If you’re tired or unmotivated, make the following deal with yourself: I’m going to go to the gym (or dojo) and if I don’t feel like working out, I’ll just sit and observe. 

In other words, get your body to the gym. Once there, your mind will follow. 

Imagine the Future Positively

Stop thinking negatively. When motivation is low, your mind is producing negative thoughts about the activity you’re trying to do. One life hack to get around low motivation is to recall the moment after your previous workouts and remember how you felt great and satisfied. Keep that feeling in your mind and then recall it when you feel unmotivated in the future.

Family, Friends, and Community

Joining a gym or martial arts studio with family members or friends is a great way to create positive motivation from outside sources. Sometimes we act in a self-defeating way and need help.

When you’re feeling lazy or unmotivated, your friend or family member can help talk you into attending. Make a promise with the other person to attend X number of classes or sessions. Friends and family can really help if you struggle with motivation; you can share the job of driving to the gym and inspiring one another. 

Get Motivated and Make Martial Arts Part of Your Life

If you’ve been considering adding a martial arts practice to your life but haven’t taken the plunge, call up some motivation and take the first step. At Premier Martial Arts, we make getting started and honing your practice as simple as showing up to the studio. Find one of our many locations near you to start your life-changing martial arts practice today.


ONLY $39

We make it easy to try our martial arts programs. Our start-up offer includes two private lessons with a PMA expert trainer to explore your ability level and find the right programs to help you meet your goals. We even include a uniform – everything you need to make a positive change!


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