So how often have you missed a workout that you really, honestly intended to do because you were too tired to get up and do it?

How about because you had a really hard day? Or maybe even because you would rather sit on the couch and watch TV while patting your dog and eating Oreos?

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Let's be honest here.  It's hard to find time to workout.  Even when you do find that magical hour in which you can sneak away from your "real" life to the gym to get a workout, it's still hard to find the motivation, will power, or even the desire to do so.

Now, let's rewind to that first paragraph.  How many of you have missed a meeting with your boss, your child's parent teacher conference, or a meeting with a client  because you were too tired to get up and do it?  How about because you had a really hard day?  What about because you would rather sit on the couch and watch TV while patting your dog and eating Oreos?

Yeah... I didn't think as many hands would go up for that one.  I sure wouldn't dare to tell a client that I couldn't make it to a session because my couch was calling my name and I just wasn't feeling it right then.  I would be laughed into a rapid state of unemployment.  But we make these excuses about missing a workout all the time.

I'm not judging here.  Motivating yourself to workout is hard.  It's always a challenge.  But there are ways to make it harder or easier, and these are the factors over which we have control.Here are the top 4 ways to make working out a more likely occurrence:

Schedule your workouts in your calendar the way you would any other appointment or meeting. 
By putting a workout on the schedule, you give it the same amount of priority as you would any other event in your day.  Don't "pencil it in".  Write your workouts in your calendar.  In ink.  Seriously.  Find a specific time and ward off any other plans that could affect your planned workout the way you would protect the time slot demanded by a meeting with a boss or a client.  This is YOUR time and YOU are just as important as the other people in your life.  It's only 30 minutes or an hour... I'm pretty sure the world can survive without you for that long.

Pick realistic times and durations for your workouts.
Say you're really swamped at the end of the work day.  It always takes you at least five tries to get from your office to the elevator without someone stopping you to do "one more thing".  You often stay for at least two hours after the imaginary 5 o'clock bell goes off.  As much as you want to be one of those people that works out at 5:30 pm on the dot every day, it's probably not going to happen that way.  When we decide where to schedule our workouts, we have to take into consideration the limitations of our schedule.  If you're the person described above, try setting your alarm an hour earlier in the morning and working out before you set foot in that crazy, all-consuming office of yours.  If you're working 60+ hours a week, it's probably not realistic to set aside 2 hours a day to work out, unless you're willing to sacrifice sleep, family time, a social life, or the confines of the time-space continuum.  Pick a time and duration that is reasonable and doable for YOUR specific schedule and needs.

Take into account your personality and preferences.
This part requires you to exercise a little self awareness, but I promise you it's well worth it.  You know what has and has not worked in the past.  Have you tried working out at night and you are always too tired?  It doesn't mean you're a lazy leech who will never get in shape, it might just mean you might need to be a morning exerciser.  

(I definitely fall into this category.  I'm a self-diagnosed workout-a-holic, but if I try to put my workout at night it will be laughed off in favor of a warm blanket and an early bedtime.  For MY personality, I know I need to exercise first thing in the morning before my excuses have had the time to wake up.)  

This works both ways; if you're so groggy in the morning that it's a struggle to walk from the bed to the bathroom without wanting to kill someone, that's probably not the best time to try to force yourself to do burpees.  

By forcing yourself into a workout routine that doesn't fit your natural tendencies, you're making it harder for yourself to succeed and, if you fail, you're sending yourself the message that you're a quitter, that you're not good at exercising, or that you don't have the will power you need.  This is NOT the case.  You just need to take your preferences into account when planning your workouts.

This can be hard when you want to exercise with friends, or you have this picture in your mind of what an "in shape" person should do, but you have to make a plan that works for you and your specific situation or you're not going to stick with it.

Make your workouts at the same time every day.
This is super intuitive.  You're trying to make working out into an (hopefully) effortless habit.  If you work out at 6 am on Mondays and Thursdays, at 4:30 pm every fourth Tuesday, at 10pm when Venus is in retrograde, and....  get the picture?  It's so confusing and so varied it will never become habit.  Analyze your schedule, analyze your personality, look at your preferences, and figure out the time of day and days of the week that will work best for you and stick consistently with that.  

Now, it doesn't have to be a time on the clock.  It can be "everyday during the dead period between the lunch rush and the dinner rush" or "as soon as I get home from work each day, no matter what time that is" or "before my first scheduled client each day".  It just has to be a consistent, dependable, routine part of your schedule so your body can start turning the act of working out into muscle memory.

Hint:  You'll know you're doing this right if after a week or two you consider skipping a workout and then, at the time you usually start getting ready to work out, you start feeling weird like something's missing.

So now that you know a few ways to make it easier to work out, here's your homework:

By: Liz

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