How to Make Working Out a Habit When You’re too Busy and Unmotivated

There's so many times when I DO want to work out but I feel like life is pulling me in 100 directions and there's just no way I can make it work! It's hard! These are tips that actually work to get me motivated to work out whether it's at the gym, at the park, or in my own home.

Hey Mamas and ladies out there! If you’re feeling defeated when it comes to fitness and working out, I just want you to know, I get it! It’s hard. And there’s many times when you DO want to work out but you feel like life is pulling you in 100 directions and there’s just no way you can make it work. Well I want to tell you that you’re not alone. I know how you feel. And I am right there with you. I struggle with getting out of the house for anything let alone  for the purpose of physical exertion. That being said, I wanted to share with you guys the things that actually help me get motivated to work out whether it’s at the gym, at the park, or in my own home. And if you have your own tips to share, I’d love to hear!! What get you to the gym? Let me know in the comments below!

Get a workout calendar!

To be honest, I probably use this more often to see how long it’s been since I’ve worked out rather than to plan my actual workout schedule. But you can use it for guilt tripping OR planning! Whatever is most effective for you!

Pick your partner

There are a couple things that moms tend to let go of when life gets crazy with kids: friends and themselves. Wanna know an awesome way to keep both those things in tact?? Get a workout buddy! (Or even more than one!). Having a workout partner is an awesome way to keep to a schedule and stay motivated. Another great idea is to have workout dates with your spouse/significant other! I honestly love working out with Josh (except when he tries to give me pointers when I’m sweaty and disgusting. Then he gets glared at). But most of the time it’s great and we end up leaving the gym in a great mood and feeling pretty good about ourselves.


Finding a gym with childcare is the best thing since sliced bread. I’m not kidding. I remember feeling so defeated when I actually would find myself motivated to work out, but stuck at home. I almost prefer to bring my child to a gym with childcare rather than have a babysitter because I know that he’s there in the same building with me. Now I know this can be a bit nerve wracking to some mamas and I understand why! You don’t know the people who will be watching your child. A couple things I suggest doing is 1. look online for reviews of the gym and its childcare. If it’s not satisfactory, people WILL write about it online. 2. Find a gym that is trusted by other moms in your community. 3. Ask the gym if the child care providers have background checks and are CPR/AED certified. 4. Ask those in charge of childcare how they handle different situations (ie. medical emergencies, creepy people, changing diapers? I will not allow anyone to change my son’s diaper unless I know them personally).


Some days there’s just nothing you can do to get yourself out the door and to the gym. There’s many a night when I find myself a bit jealous of my younger, child-free friends, who can choose to go to the gym, and then actually just go to the gym. Just like that. But for some people it’s not that easy. If I found myself stuck at home not able to get to a gym I used to think, “Well, I guess I’ll try tomorrow. Or in a couple days.” At that point my loving husband would interject, “You don’t always need to work out in a gym.” After I glared at him for a few minutes, I realized he was right. There a tons of awesome bodyweight workout that anyone can do right in their own home. No need for weights, pull up bars, etc. (except if you have those, wonderful!). Here’s are a couple links to awesome bodyweight workouts you can do in your own home in the morning or after baby goes to bed.

“No-Rest” Tabata Workout with Isometric Holds

Be aware of excuses

On any given day, even the weekend when I don’t work, I can have 100 excuses as to why it’s not a good time to work out. Be aware of what is an excuse and what is a real reason. Trust me, I’ll will be the first one to say I’m too busy to workout. I’m a mom, I work, manage our home, volunteer, and write for Living the Sweet Wife. But as harsh as it is true, if it’s important to you, you’ll find the time.

Be ready

I like to work out in the mornings on the weekends. If I wait until the afternoon, I get lazy and I will totally put it off even if I say to myself 100 times that I’ll get to it. To make sure I actually get out the door in the morning, one of the first things I do is put my workout clothes on. Just this simple step starts the process and makes it that much more real that I am going to actually get out the door and work out. Another thing is making sure that I’ve eaten at least a little something in order to fill my stomach and give me some stamina. But definitely be careful not to over do it right before heading to the gym.

*tip: remember: try to start hydrating at least a couple hours before you begin a work out. Whatever you do, don’t chug a bunch of water right before or during a workout. You’ll just make yourself feel sick and want to quit.

Make it easier for yourself.

What has to be done before you can get out the door to the gym? Is there something that might distract you from working out? Remove it. Will you be stressed by a dirty house tomorrow when you’re deciding how to prioritize your time? Tidy up tonight. If there’s something you can do to minimize distractions and obstacles standing between you and your workout, do whatever you can to cut them out and make it easier to work out! One of the best things you can do to realize your goals is to simply plan ahead.

Get motivated!

I’m not sure about you but at times when I’m scrolling through Pinterest or Instagram I’ll see a pic with #fitnessgoals in the caption. You know what I’m talking about. The girl with a 6 pack who’s hair is in a perfectly perky ponytail and she’s got the cutest pair of leggings and appropriately matched sports bra. This might not work for everyone, but when I see that, I think, “Dang, I gotta work out!” And then I usually do. Find what pumps you up whether it be a song, new workout clothes (yep. I’m one of those. A cute sports bra can go a long way!). and get motivated!

Be proud of yourself!

I think one of the biggest reasons why women (and men) don’t stick with a workout plan is because they don’t see immediate results. This may have to do poor eating habits. Exercise isn’t an excuse to eat poorly. But for many people, seeing results takes time, consistency, and- to be honest- hard work! You’re not going to get a Brazilian butt over night but if you work hard, eat clean, and stick with it, you WILL see results! Remember to be proud of yourself for working hard and sticking with a routine even before you begin to see noticeable results. If nothing else, you on on your way to a healthy lifestyle and that in itself is something to be proud of! To be honest, nothing motivated me to work out more than being proud of what I’ve already accomplished. Not everyone’s brain works that way

What gets you to the gym? Let me know in the comments below!

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    I could not imagine paying for a gym right now. I have little ones so if I can’t work out with them it just isn’t happening 🙁

    Alex - Funky Jungle

    Great tips. I find it is so easy to come up with excuses and most of the other stuff becomes a non issue when you realize you are making them 😉


    These are great tips, sharing on twitter 🙂 It is hard to stay motivated after a long day at work especially during colder months when you just want to curl up and sleep. I am changing gyms tonight because the current gyms is really blah. We are waiting for our house to be built and currently staying with my parents so home workouts are not an option. Great post!


    These are all great tips!
    I just need to stop making excuses and get to it.

    xoxo, Jenny

    Brianne Grogan

    I hate missing my workouts too. 🙁 But I find that on days when I know it’s just not going to happen, it’s helpful to fit a bunch of mini-workouts into my day. I did a video once called “Bathroom Fitness” (ha!) where I proposed a challenge — every time you use the bathroom, do 10 squats, 10 countertop pushups, and (if possible) 10 triceps dips with your hands on the edge of the bathtub. It’s a great way to fit more movement into your day!


    Thank you for your tips, they’re really nice
    what I’ve learned about working out is that motivation must come from within! When I started to work out, it was just because I wanted to lose weight and I could only see it as a drudgery… but then I realized that no matter how difficult it is to accomplish certain tasks, no matter how much you sweat or how awfully exhausted you feel, you actually feel great after the whole work out!!! All the tension is released, you can think more clearly, you’re much more cheerful! So I try to keep these feelings in mind everytime I feel like I could do anything but work out


      That is so true Nico! I usually have to work out in the afternoon or early evening which is when I feel the most tired and groggy. I shared remind myself though that working out is going to make me feel so much better and I’ll be proud of myself afterwards too!

    Carliene Bolen

    I find if I turn on Pandora music first thing when I get up I start moving sooner to the music. Next thing I know I have danced around the house why’ll cleaning and doing things. I always came up with excuses and would spend most my day sitting at the computer and not even getting things done around the house. Now I spend less time on the computer and more time up doing things it’s great. I have also created a goal board that has clippings of places I would like to go and clothes I would love to wear. It has really helped.


    I want to thank everyone for all of these inspiring comments. I love all of them. When I get home from work, I have twenty other things running through my head like, “Ok, what am I cooking for dinner?” and “Oh crap! I gotta pay bills tonight!” or “My sister’s coming over and my house is in shambles!” Sometimes there is just more stress when I get home then when I was at work! I love the commment about planning ahead and scheduling workouts. That is something I will definately try! One thing that I try to do at home at least twice a week is after a long stressful day at work, I like to start my workout routine with about 20 mins of yoga poses. It calms me down. I stop stressing about extraneous stuff, especially things I know I can’t control, and then I start my workout routine.


    Really great tips, not the usual crap you can find online!


    I really liked this post. Great tips in here. Another one to add is to lay out your workout gear the night before. Nothing worse than hunting for socks in the dark while trying not to wake your spouse. Also, find a 24 hour gym. That way you can work out on your time. My favorite is 4:30 am…kids are sleep, hubby is sleep, and when you are done you feel like you’ve really accomplished something. Plus, what else productive are you doing at 4:30 am?!

    Thanks again for the post!

    Amber Jean

    I wanted to add 2 things that works for me and might help others.
    1) I start listing to work out music (Pandora) an hour or two before I plan on working, out while I am doing chores. It helps me get motivated and pumped up for the work out and I tend to stick with the planned exercise.

    2) Sometimes when I do get too busy or plans change, I incorporate working out to my chores. It kinda goes with working out at home; I will do squats while I chop veggies for dinner or do arm curls with my 9m old baby (which is also fun play time), etc. Its nothing grand, but it is better than nothing.


    I am a mother of four, two of which have special needs. Excuses are easy to come by in my house. So what I do is make it fun for everybody. I turn on some upbeat music and get my kids involved. This way everyone is getting healthier and it’s not “working out”. Mind over matter is what it comes down to. I completed a 30k last weekend and my kids where there the last mile and crossed the finish line with me. They are my motivation!


    Great ideas! My husband and I bought a treadmill. Because guess what? I paid one whole year of a gym membership and never went!! We find it a bit hard to find a regular babysitter so it’s easier for us to take turns watching the kids while the other runs out in the garage. I keep myself going by watching webinars, motivational videos and netflix while I walk/run.


    I have a notebook full of pictures, Quotes, pictures of things I want to wear when I lose all the weight. It’s a great motivational tool to flip through the pages and see my goals and statements that encourage me to push forward even if I work out happens at midnight or 5 AM


    Great tips! I find it tough to stay motivated. Sometimes weighing in a second time during the week helps

    wendy Hoffman

    I love this post. you hit spot on in every word. thank you 🙂