Lack of Motivation Monday: three questions to ask yourself

It happens to the best of us. Even those who exercise for a living. (But don’t we all exercise for living?)

We wake up and find ourselves lacking in motivation. “I don’t feel like it today”, “I’m too tired to get to the gym”, “It won’t hurt to skip my spin class today”, “I have a lot of other things to get done”.

When my motivation to work out needs a boost, I ask myself three questions:

  1. Did I exercise on two of the last three days?
  2. Can I fit a workout in tomorrow?
  3. Can I find 30 minutes in my day to move, without going to the gym?

If I answered ‘yes’ to the first question, I just might deserve a day off. I aim to exercise 5 days out of 7, leaving me 2 days a week for rest and recovery. Maybe my lack of motivation is just my body’s way of saying ‘rest today’.

Whether or not today is an official rest day, however, depends on my answer to question number two. If there’s time in my schedule for a workout tomorrow, I’m off the hook. Rest day it is. If not, and particularly if the rest of the week is jam packed and there’s even the slightest possibility that I might have to miss a workout later in the week, off to the gym I go.

I might not feel like exercising, but I know that I’ll regret skipping out on my workout later in the week. Usually once I’ve laced up my running shoes, uploaded an energizing playlist and warmed up a bit on the treadmill I get into the groove and end up happy with my decision.

Even when I’ve answered ‘yes’ to questions 1 and 2 and feel like I’ve officially earned a day off, I ask myself how I might fit 30 minutes of movement into my day away from the gym. A walk, mid-day, to clear my head. Some pushups and a plank, just because. Some shots on goal in the back alley with my youngest child.

Thinking about skipping your workout today? Ask yourself three little questions. If you can’t honestly answer ‘yes’ to at least two out of three, you might need a little more motivation!

Check out some of my previous Monday Motivation posts and get moving.

You’ll never regret the workouts you do, just the ones you miss! (A cliche, but true!)

What’s your secret to staying motivated to exercise even when you don’t want to?


Looking for an inexpensive way to jump-start your journey to fitness and health? Join my online Bootcamp today! Get more info by clicking the image below.

Looking for an inexpensive way to jump-start your journey to fitness and health? Join my online Bootcamp today! Get more info by clicking the image below.


  1. I want my 5 days each week. When I ask myself that question & it is rare cause I just get out of bed & get going before that, 😉 BUT we have to know ourselves enough to know is it really rest we need OR are we making excuses for ourselves – the big question! 🙂
    Jody – Fit at 54 recently posted…Gratitude Monday, Enjoyment & OC HousewivesMy Profile

    • Jody, you seem like you NEVER lack in motivation! What’s your secret?
      I know, years of experiencing how good it feels to MOVE!

      Today, I’m so grateful for feeling better (my sparkle is back!) and having two great classes full of participants to go and teach and inspire (and be inspired by!)

  2. I LOVE this post, it’s a great way to think through those non-motivated days. Especially option 3 – gives you a chance to just do something different, which might be just what you need!
    Heather @ Better With Veggies recently posted…How We Brew Beer – All Grain BrewingMy Profile

    • Thanks Heather!
      I’ll be re-reading it again tomorrow; Tuesday is the day I typically feel unmotivated to get to the gym. But after being off for nearly two weeks with the flu, I need to get back on my program!

  3. I like your declension list for deciding whether to push or park it! I find that nothing is as motivating as a sweet dog face looking me in the eye and wanting to getty up and go dogs go for a walk!

    • You almost makes me want to get a dog Kymberly (but with all the rain and yucky weather we have up here, I’m always put off by the thought of having to walk one in the cold and dark…). We do have a lovely cat, though!

  4. Tamara, I loved that post and the way you said it….100% true! We all have tired or bad days and we need to talk ourselves into doing it or not, and not feel bad….hence workout the next day…..thanks for your great tips….I will pass on your website to my clients as I love your attitude and wealth of information…..YAY busy people…lov’n and liv’n life to it’s fullest….

    • Thanks Lynn! I love to find new readers; please tell your clients to join in the comments/discussion. It makes it all so much more fun!

  5. Getting up early every morning to exercise has been part of my routine for so many years, that there’s not many days I can’t tackle it (as long as I get to bed at a decent time, which I usually do because I’m boring 🙂 ). But if I’m feeling particularly unmotivated, I allow that to be a yoga or really easy cardio day. I can usually face the thought of that. And by the time I get up and dressed, I’m often in the mood for more. But again, I work out to DVDs so usually have enough variety to spark some motivation.
    crubin recently posted…The Swallowing GamesMy Profile

    • What are some of your favourite DVD’s Carrie? I’ve only tried a few (but that’s mainly because I’m not much of an at home exerciser).

      • I have pretty much everything Cathe Friedrich has made, and I also love Jari Love. She’s actually a Canadian instructor. She makes me feel so good every time she says, “Good on you!” She also makes me sweat and grumble. 🙂 Michelle Dozois is good too. She has a thing for burpees. In her newest DVD, she makes me do burpees into tuck jumps. Dang her!
        crubin recently posted…The Swallowing GamesMy Profile

  6. This is so true Tamara! I also think that many of the motivation questions won’t phase you if exercising is a part of your life. I like #3 because sometimes a change of pace is all you need to get motivated again.
    Talia @ Bite Size Wellness recently posted…Versatile Salsa: Corn, Avocado and Tomato Mix for Every OccasionMy Profile

    • Hey Talia. So true. Sometimes all we need to do is try something new. I’ve got two new classes to experience in the next week; Barre Fitness and the Dailey Method. Looking forward to both of them!

  7. Great post Tamara 🙂
    Tara Burner recently posted…Spreading Happiness & How To Be Joy FilledMy Profile

    • Thanks Tara! And now I’m off to catch up on everybody else’s posts today (yours included!)

  8. Great post Tamara and nice name 🙂 My wife is Tamara and i agree with, motivation is half of job for every thing in our life.

  9. These are great! Such a simple way to put it all in perspective. 🙂
    Tina @ Best Body Fitness recently posted…Going Zoom Zoom ZOOMA–Race Weekend RecapMy Profile


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  2. […] and the day before and am scheduled to try a new style of fitness class on Wednesday. According to yesterday’s post, I could claim tomorrow as a legitimate rest […]

  3. […] Lack of Motivation Monday: 3 Questions – I’m a sucker for “systems” and this set of three questions from Tamara is just that – an easy way to examine your lack of motivation and make a decision about whether or not you want to work out that day. […]