8 Mental Tricks to Help You Actually ENJOY Exercise


I am just so OVER IT.

For anyone who’s started a fitness routine, that’s a familiar feeling.

It often comes early on, in the first one, two or three sessions.

It’s also a critical moment for you.

Before you throw in the towel, consider this: That feeling is not permanent.

In fact, with a little persistence, you can push through that point of exhaustion and actually start to enjoy exercise.


Yes! That’s why we rounded up 8 mental tricks to fight through that feeling and keep going so that you can own the moment … and maybe even like it.

1. I can. I can. I can.

Repeating those two simple words over and over again is powerful — more powerful than you might believe. It goes back to an age-old adage, that if you have faith in yourself, you’ll become exactly who you want to be.

2. Visualize.

Visualizing who you want to be takes your exercise to the next level. Picture in your mind’s eye the person you want to become. Picture yourself happy. Or smiling. Wait…is that an actual smile on your face?


  3. Mini goals — set them.

Ok, so you want to run a 5K? Rather than going all-in right off the bat and trying to run 3.1 miles, take baby steps. Start by jogging a quarter-mile, then walking a half-mile, then jogging another quarter-mile, and so on until you hit the 3-mile mark. Next time, start by running a half-mile, then walking a half-mile, and so on. The idea is to slowly and steadily work your way to your main goal by setting all those mini goals in between. (Want to embark on a running training plan? Try this: The Beginning Runner’s Handbook: The Proven 13-week Run/Walk Program).


4. The clock is not your friend.

There’s nothing that will drag out the time quite like watching the seconds tick by. If you’re doing cardio, place a towel over the timer. If weight lifting, avoid looking up at the clock and focus on counting your reps instead.


5. Find your favorite motivational phrase.

You’ve probably seen those whole “Monday Motivation” mantras on social media. Next time you do, don’t just scroll past them. Stop and read them until you find one that resonates with you. The next time you’re exercising, repeat it to yourself whenever you feel like giving up. (Find plenty of motivation on our Pinterest board!)


6. Find what you enjoy about exercising.

Ever heard of the runner’s high? That physical sensation of ecstasy is actually a real thing, it just takes some time to get there. To get there sooner, try and find one thing — one tiny, little thing — you’re actually enjoying about your workout. Maybe it’s the feeling of sweat running down your face. Or maybe it’s that tense feeling in your muscles. Heck, maybe it’s just the sound of your music playing loudly in your ears. Whatever it is, focus on it every time you feel like stopping.


7. Remind yourself that you’re lucky.

Wait, what? That’s right. You’re fortunate to be physically fit enough to exercise — there are a lot of people who can’t for a variety of reasons. They’re sick, injured or limited in some way. The fact that you’re there, able to move, is a blessing.


8. Focus on something else.

While at least some of your attention should remain on what you’re doing, it’s okay to hone in on something else to pass the time, too. Music is a great place to start. Or TV. Or a book. Or a podcast. There are lots of methods to make the time fly by.

How do you get through a tough workout? Share in the comments below!


Author: Caitlin Hendee
Diet-to-Go Community Manager

Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.


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