Three Ways I Finally Got the Motivation to Start Exercising Regularly and Take Care of Myself

In the last half of 2017 I made some big life changes. Up to this point I was staying up til all hours of the night working, I was frazzled, frantic, stressed, exhausted, and basically in a fog all the time. I constantly overate, I rarely exercised, and I really struggled to focus.

It wasn’t until the beginning of September that I got hit with three realizations that completely changed my mentality and made me realize that I needed to make some changes, and that I could actually stick to something. I had self control – I could improve my life!

how to get motivated to exercise

Motivation Number 1:

At the beginning of September I was listening to The Alison Show’s “Awesome with Alison” very first podcast where she talks about priorities, and I realized my priorities were way out of whack. I wanted my health and my goals to be a priority, but I never actually made them a priority. And then in the podcast she said something that made all the difference for me.

You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to keep going.  Every time you quit and restart a few months later, you’re back at square one and have lost all your progress.

I’m the queen of quitting and restarting, and I realized they were so right. Every bit of progress I made was lost when I quit, and I’d spend so much energy just getting back to where I was before. If I just kept going, I might miss a day of exercise here and there, or have a bad eating day every few days, or stay up past eleven every so often, but as long as I didn’t quit after a mistake, I wouldn’t lose my progress.

This was MIND. BLOWING. for me.

It seems so obvious, but it’s true.  Her podcast is full of little tidbits like this that continually blow my mind and help me change my life for the better. If you haven’t listened to it, you are missing out. Seriously, go listen. Go now.

Motivation #2

Time passes no matter what. If you want to make a change, just do it now.

Because otherwise you’ll look back and realize you could wasted those days, months, and years, and could have just done it.

My parents always said this about big goals — their example was always medical school (although none of us ever actually went to medical school). They said, it might seem so big and daunting, and will take so long, but those eight years will pass by anyway, so you might as well use those years to work toward something you really want. Otherwise you look back after eight years and think, “here I am. Why didn’t I just do it?!”

I realized this totally applied to my fitness goals, but on a shorter time frame. I had a trip planned for October, and I thought that if I started my 12 week fitness program right then, I would be on week seven by the time I went on my trip. Or I could postpone and make excuses, and those seven weeks would go by anyway. I could use time as a tool, or I could waste it.

So I started my fitness program and I was so proud of myself for actually being on week 7 when I went on my trip!

Thinking a little more big picture, and setting time frame goals makes such a difference for me.

Motivation #3

If you make it easy on yourself, you make it hard on yourself. If you make it hard on yourself, you make it easy on yourself.

This was another thing that my dad always said when I was growing up. Let me tell you what it means…

If you take shortcuts in life or in projects, you usually end up having to do twice as much work and it ends up being so much harder. But if you a little extra work in the beginning and setting yourself up for success, things are usually much easier and quicker.

In terms of health, it takes a little more effort to set out my exercise clothes the night before, or get up at 5:30am to go for a run, or prep and make a healthy breakfast in the morning, but my day is always better if I do the hard things in the beginning. I’m happier, more focused, I can work harder, I’m not lethargic, etc.

But if I take shortcuts and push the snooze button three times, grab a quick handful of dry cereal or a leftover cookie for breakfast, my day is rushed, I’m stressed, I’m not focused, and the entire day is so much harder.

Make sense? Those little efforts upfront pay big dividends.

. . .

I listened to another podcast recently about how different people respond to motivation, pressure, goals, etc. They talked about how everyone is different, so these things that motivated me might not help you at all. But the important thing is to continue to search for ways to get you and keep you motivated. I promise it’s worth every effort!

I’d love to know what you guys do to stay motivated in your priorities, or if these three things helped you!


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  1. Anna Lena says:

    This really hits home with me. It’s funny how the simplest and most obvious truths often take the longest for us to grasp and to implement.

    I have some big goals this year, one of them is starting my own blog (yay! Like everyone else…) My fear of what the people that know me -especially some very direct and critical family members- might think or say has been holding me back so far. Do you have any advice on how to overcome that fear that keeps you from making the first steps to reach a goal? I’m so tired of living my life in fear of what other people think, but i can’t seem to shake it.

    • Sharon says:

      anna, I think you might do well with reading “The Subtle Art of not giving a f*ck” – it literally changed my mindset. while I do still care about what those critical family members think of me (it’s hard to not care what your own mother thinks), i am now living my life for me.

      start your blog. if someone takes issue with you doing something you want to do, that’s their problem. These are usually people who don’t have much going on or are upset with their own life choices.

  2. Kay Nguyen says:

    Great motivations, I need some to get back on my fitness routine too! Thanks for sharing <3

  3. Julie says:

    I follow your blog as well as your sister, Janssen’s blog. Love them! But you want to know some of the things I love the most on your blogs? when you share the wisdom you gained from you parents. they sound like very wise people. please keep sharing that wisdom with us!

  4. brianna says:

    This really hits home for me. At 35, I’m not getting any younger and my metabolism isn’t magically going to get faster. I keep saying I’ll start tomorrow, but then tomorrow comes and I find an excuse to bail. But truly, the time has come to quit making excuses and get my act together.

  5. Becky E says:

    I started making your egg/veggie scramble a couple weeks ago for my breakfast and lunch every day, and I love it! I took two weeks off exercising at the holidays and felt so off. last week was my first week back at waking up at 5AM to exercise, and every day it gets easier and i feel better!

    I also ate an entire bag of sour Patch watermelons yesterday so…baby steps! But i still got up and exercised today.

  6. Kate says:

    My mom had a big health scare a year ago, and I realize that that could be in my future as well (her mom had the same problem at the same age), but I’ve just been sticking my head in the sand, and focusing on THE kids and family, and not taking care of myself. Then, ONE day when I was contemplating leftover Christmas cookies for lunch, I caught up on insta stories and saw your veggie scramble POST…I said if that’s not the universe sending me a message, I don’t know what is. When I start my day eating that, i am amazed at how good I feel, and am so annoyed I put off doing that FOR so long. I always tell my kids “slow and steady wins the race”, and I am now trying to take my own advice.

  7. Julia says:

    What was the recent podcast about motivation you listened to? i’m interesteD!


  8. ANdrea says:

    Such wise words! Thank you for sharing this. Such simple points but so true and encouraging!

  9. Elly says:

    Awesome post! What workout program did you do?

  10. Emeli says:

    It’s great that you share ideas for motivation. After reading articles about dumbbells for homes on site I also started my six months of training and a healthy lifestyle. You are right, it is very difficult sometimes to hold on and go to your goal and extra motivation will not hurt!

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