man and woman exercising

No matter how much you want to be motivated all the time, it can be difficult to stay excited about hitting your health goals.

Stress, physical injuries, or a worldwide pandemic can make you want to curl up on your couch instead of up and moving. 

Even though rest is an important part of your overall health, having an active lifestyle is shown to decrease stress, anxiety, and help stabilize both your mental and physical health over time. 

This is an era of body-positivity—here are several non-weight-driven tips on staying active when perhaps the last thing you want to do is exercise.

Reframe Your Mindset Around Health

Being healthy is much more than dieting and exercising. The number on your scale is not a good measurement for overall health and your personal worth. People stay active for many reasons like increasing strength, decreasing stress, and meeting new people. 

Not all exercise has to include sweat-inducing or keep you at the gym for hours on end. You don’t have to go to Crossfit at 6 am if you don’t want to. Going on hikes counts. Deep cleaning your kitchen counts. Playing with your children counts. Rather than focusing on health as being intrinsically linked to weight loss, focus more on being active in general. It’s a little change, but your attitude around your activity choices can directly impact your motivation levels.

Keep Your Mind Active

If you’re getting bored doing the same exercise routine at the gym, switch it up. Gyms aren’t everyone’s favorite place to workout. Sweaty workout equipment, some not-so-subtle leering from fellow gym-goers, and health warnings about public spaces can all make working out at home the more comfortable option. Others may prefer to spend time outdoors exploring rather than on the elliptical. Do whatever will keep both your body and mind engaged, and the time will pass much easier and keep you feeling mentally healthy. 

Share Your Health Journey

Leave behind the before-and-after weight loss photos that pop up on everyone’s timeline. Instead, share positive, non-weight-related improvements:

  • How many pushups/pullups can you do in a row?
  • How many days this week have you gone on a walk?
  • How long can you hold a handstand?
  • How much water did you drink today?
  • Did you finally explore that hike you’ve always wanted to try?
  • Did you get closer to running a 5K or half-marathon without any breaks? 

There are many health and wellness apps on the market that can help you track your fitness and overall health goals. Strava can track your running and cycling, and it has an active online community where people share their workouts. MyFitnessPal is another popular app for people to keep a food diary and share their workouts. Your health goals are a personal journey, but it’s helpful to know there are people working towards similar goals. “Finding your tribe” may sound a bit cliché, but having a community to support you can make all the difference.  

Put Together A Mood-Boosting Playlist. 

Music can change anyone’s mood. Round up your favorite songs you know will get you motivated and moving. Spotify has some great workout playlists for every music preference. If you’re a runner, they have playlists specific to different BPM ranges, so you can time your music beats with your running pace. Movie soundtracks can also be a great option to get you in the zone. Audio training apps can also be a great option if you’d benefit from having a personal trainer with you at all times. 

Pamper Yourself

Sometimes, shelling out for an expensive gym membership isn’t the best health motivator. You’ll end up stressed and resentful at yourself for not going as often as you should. Rather than focusing on the stick, focus on the carrot. Give yourself incentives and rewards for meeting your health goals. Put away a couple of bucks every time you meet a health goal or set a new personal record, and after a month or so you can get yourself a gift.

You should also buy workout clothes you actually want to wear. Athleisure has come a long way since the Juicy Couture tracksuit era. You’ll want to show off in the grocery store, at your local coffee shop, and even perhaps at the gym. If you wear clothing you’re not entirely comfortable in, how will that make you want to put it on to exercise? 

Fitness subscription boxes like FabFitFun and Fit Boxx have become an easy and popular way to explore different activities, workout clothes, and fitness options. You can figure out what types of activities and gear you like without having buyer’s remorse.

Be Kind To Yourself

If you miss a yoga class, eat more fast-food than the previous week, or binge a Netflix show (or season) instead of exercising, don’t beat yourself up about it. Your health journey will ebb and flow. Give yourself credit for every little mental and physical health win. Because every step counts.