Here’s How to Exercise When You Have Zero Motivation


Ahh, how to exercise when you have zero motivation?! We’ve all been there, perhaps it’s Winter, as the days grow shorter, the temperature drops and suddenly exercising feels like an impossible task. Or maybe work is taking all your energy, your studies are piling up or family commitments are overwhelming.  

Whatever the situation, whatever the weather, you’ve landed in the headspace where you have zero motivation to exercise.

You know that exercise is key to boosting health and feeling great, you know that exercise pumps all those mood-enhancing hormones. It’s your next step to a better mood! But it keeps sliding to the bottom of your to-do list. It’s ironic, isn’t it? The times you need the benefits of exercise the most are often when it’s hardest to find motivation to get moving. But don’t worry, we have some practical tips to help you shift your mindset and get inspired to exercise.

How to Exercise When You Have Zero Motivation 

We’ve made a list, save this post and read it when you need it most!

Set Achievable Goals

Start with small, doable goals. And when we say small, we mean it! Here’s a perfect example, feel free to take it.

  • Go for a 10-minute walk around the block. 
  • Do a 5-10 minute Yoga flow or stretch session.
  • Do a 10 minute motivation meditation, try this one here.

Just start with one goal and then tune into how you feel, most likely you’ll feel better than before and have a rejuvenated feeling about exercise. From this point create the next goal, we do our goals something like this: 

When I wake up Monday to Friday, after coffee (duh), then I will do my 30 minutes exercise. 

It’s simple and it’s connected to an occurrence that happens regularly… waking up and having coffee. 

Yours could be something like… 

During my work lunch break, on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, I will walk around the block.  On Saturday and Sunday, I will do one hour of Yoga. 


Every evening, once I have put the kids to sleep, I will hit play on my MerryBody weekly plan.

Create a Routine

Motivation doesn’t just “poof” out of thin air, you need to create it. To keep the motivation flowing, you need to keep taking action. The easiest way to make this happen is to create a routine.

Your mind and body love routine, even if you don’t think it yet!

The best place to start is to find the best time for you to workout. For us, morning is usually better but sometimes life happens so we add flexibility. If we don’t get it done in the morning we make time in the afternoon, if today’s workout is skipped we make tomorrow’s happen without question. 

A routine takes a little discipline, we like to call it devoted discipline. It’s a devotion to your mind and body health.

Find a Workout Buddy, find Accountability

Exercise can be more motivating when you have someone to share it with. Pair up with a friend, join a local group or find an online community. Not only can it be more motivating but you’ll also feel a sense of accountability. 

This is why we encourage our MerryBody members to share their class experiences in our online community. It’s also the reason we host bi-monthly Challenges, it fires up the sense of accountability.

Find a Workout you Enjoy

Hate running? Does the gym bore you? Find a way of exercise you love to do! If you haven’t found it, start looking! Whether it’s indoor rock climbing, a dance class or a fitness app, new experiences can reignite your enthusiasm. For us, we love Yoga, Pilates and walking. If you haven’t tried a MerryBody class, try one today! You never know, you might love it too! 


Focus on the Feeling Good Goal

For many years, exercise was about external transformation for us. This kind of mindset led to disordered eating and wreaked havoc on our hormones and overall health.

We have written many articles about this. You can read about it more in this article: What Pasta taught me after years of diets and calorie restriction. Or over here: Why we’ve finally quit Dieting and Diet Culture.

Instead of obsessing about your weight, instead of worrying about how your pants don’t fit you so well anymore… focus on how great you’ll feel after working out. Focus on how it promotes your mental wellbeing, how it decreases your stress and how it boosts every bodily system in the body. 

Reward Yourself

If you know rewards help you feel motivated then choose something to celebrate your exercise milestones. Treat yourself to a movie night, a new book, a new face mask, a massage or a new pair of leggings when you reach a certain goal, for example, a month of consistent exercise.

In the past, we often rewarded ourselves with food, a practice we no longer do or recommend. This approach led to habits of binge eating and for Emma who also had an eating disorder, using food as a reward only made it worse.

Visualise Success

Seeing your success in your mind’s eye can really help. This isn’t just us talking, it’s a habit used by successful sports and business people. That’s exactly why we’ve got loads of guided visualisation meditations in our MerryBody app. They help you get your mindset on your side.


When do we Show Compassion to Ourselves? Always!

Some days, you might not find the strength and energy to do a full workout and that’s okay. Practise self-compassion. Feel a sense of accomplishment for your effort and remember that any exercise is better than none.

Connect Exercise to Your Values

Why is exercise important to you? 

Connecting your exercise routine to your personal values can be the ultimate motivational boost! Here are some examples:

  • I exercise to stay fit and energetic for my kids/grandkids.
  • I do my daily Yoga to boost my mental clarity for work.
  • I stay active to promote mind-body health for longevity. 

On the days it feels most hard to exercise, come back to this.

Last but not least remember that finding the drive to exercise when you have zero motivation can be tough, but it’s not impossible. Start with one step that we mentioned above… don’t focus on the big picture just yet. Take one step, followed by another… you got this! 

If you’re feeling ready for something new, why not start with a free 7-day trial of MerryBody here? Sign up and dive into hundreds of Yoga, Pilates, Barre, Yin Yoga, and Meditation classes. Each week, we’ll handpick a workout plan for you, saving you time and boosting your motivation to move daily! Plus, you’ll gain access to our private community group, where you can connect with others and find that extra bit of accountability you might need.

Always merrymaking,

Emma + Carla


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