7 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Go to the Gym

You have a fitness goal, an exercise routine in mind, and a gym membership. But, when 5:00 PM rolls around every day, you just can’t find the motivation to hop in your car and drive to your gym. It’s like you’re your own worst enemy when it comes to reaching your fitness goals.

There are a ton of ways to find the motivation to go to the gym. You can set fitness goals and track your progress. Finding a gym buddy can help you both to motivate one another. It also helps to set a realistic routine while not overdoing it.

We’re not necessarily saying that it’s easy to find the motivation to go to the gym. But, it’s absolutely possible if you’re dedicated to reaching your goals. So, let’s go into a little more detail and discuss the seven best ways to find gym motivation.

1. Set a Realistic Fitness Goal

It’s great to be positive when you’re considering your health. At the same time, setting unrealistic fitness goals is the easiest way to fall off the wagon and quit your current gym schedule.

After all, what’s the point of sticking to a routine if you’ll never reach your goals?

The best way to set fitness goals is by setting short-term fitness goals rather than long-term fitness goals. 

The first reason is that you’ll experience more success, more often. And, success is a great motivator!

When you realize that you’re capable of achieving one of your goals in just a few short weeks, you’ll see that your effort is paying off and you’ll be more likely to stick to your current routine.

The second reason is that short-term goals are more realistic.

Let’s say your current goal is to add an extra 100 pounds to your bench press PR. Since you don’t know how quickly you’ll progress, it might be years before you reach that goal.

In all honesty, you might never reach it.

Instead, you can set a realistic 10-pound increase for two weeks from now, which you’re much more likely to achieve.

So, do yourself a favor and set realistic goals that aren’t too easy to achieve, but definitely possible with a little bit of hard work.

2. Track Your Progress

Going to the gym day in and day out can get a little repetitive.

It’s even tougher to stick to a routine and continue with your motivation if you’re not even sure that what you’re doing is actually working. That’s especially the case if you haven’t seen changes in your physique.

It can take weeks or months to see any noticeable changes, but that doesn’t mean that your workouts aren’t effective.

So, here are some ways that you can track your physical fitness progress at the gym.

  • Keep track of your 1RMs. Take note of how many sets and reps you’re performing and what weight you’re using. This can prove to you that your strength is improving, even though you might not see a greater amount of muscle mass just yet.
  • Record your times. Make it a point to record how long you’re performing cardio and the distance you’ve traveled. Improvements in time and pace can prove that your hard work is improving your endurance.
  • Weigh yourself. Now, this isn’t always effective, but sometimes it’s hard to see noticeable changes in our bodies when we look at ourselves in the mirror every day. You may have gained or lost weight without even noticing. So, weigh yourself weekly (not daily)
  • Take body measurements. Progress is sometimes extremely small, but it’s still progress. You can use body measurements to figure out how much muscle mass you’re gaining or how much body fat you’re losing.

Once you see what you’re doing is working in some way, you’ll be much more likely to persist. You can’t argue with hard numerical data, right?

3. Find a Gym Buddy

When you can’t find the motivation from within, you might have to look outside of yourself. One of the best ways to do this is by bringing a friend to the gym and staying consistent with your gym routine.

Let’s say you and your friend usually go to the gym on Wednesdays.

Well, when Wednesday rolls around and you’re just not feeling up to it, you’re going to have to be the one to break it to your friend that you’re bailing. You don’t want to let your friend down, right?

This won’t work for everyone, however.

If your friend isn’t all that motivated either, they might actually be happy that you’re canceling your gym plans.

So, make sure you’re choosing a gym buddy that actually wants to go to the gym and wants to better themselves.

4. Set a Routine You Can Stick To

If you’re like most of us, you’ll find yourself saying, “I’ll just go tomorrow” or “I’ll start on Monday.” Well, tomorrow never seems to come and Monday usually means the Monday after next.

One of the greatest things you can do is set a schedule and stick to it. That means being realistic with the number of days you can actually go to the gym per week and how long you can spend at the gym each session.

So, don’t decide hour-long workouts five days a week is ideal if you’re extremely busy with work and barely have enough time to keep the house clean.

Choose a realistic routine that you can stick to in most circumstances.

You can do this in one of two ways: Decide on the number of days you’ll go per week or choose certain days of the week to go.

Here are the benefits of each.

  • The number of days. With this method, there’s less of a chance of you missing a workout. If you’re too busy to go one day, you can just go the next day and not find yourself falling behind in your progress.
  • Certain days of the week. This is best for anyone that loves (or has) a rigid schedule. You know exactly which days of the week you’ll be hitting the gym and can plan the rest of your week out around your gym schedule.

At the end of the day, what works for you might not work for somebody else. So, do your best to find a routine you can actually stick to.

5. Don’t Overdo It

One of the biggest gym mistakes of beginners is doing too much, too soon.

It’s great that your goal is to go to the gym five days a week. But, if you’re currently going to the gym zero days a week, that’s a huge change.

With that said, it might be a good idea to slowly ease yourself into going to the gym. Maybe start by going to the gym once a week to start and then increasing the number of days every month.

As motivated as you are on day one, getting too intense from the start can also cause gym burnout.

It’s definitely possible to exercise too much and you need to make sure that you’re giving yourself enough time to recover both mentally and physically.

Here are some things you can do to avoid burnout.

  • Plan rest days and days where you’ll take it easy.
  • Don’t do the same thing every day.
  • Listen to your body and your recovery progress.
  • Switch up your routine to keep yourself interested.

In all honesty, a slow transition into a gym routine is one of the best ways to guarantee success. Try not to overdo it, as health and fitness both take time.

6. Reward Yourself for Going

We’re not talking about treating yourself to a milkshake or baking brownies every time you go to the gym. That’s very much counterproductive and will set your health and fitness goals back even further.

So, what are we talking about when we say “reward” yourself?

Here’s a look at some examples.

  • Relax after an intense workout (i.e. Taking a nap, getting a massage, etc.).
  • Eat a healthier snack.
  • Set rules (i.e. If I go to the gym, I can ____ when I get home).

It might be a little hard to find non-food rewards. But, there definitely are some ways to motivate yourself with rewards that motivate you.

The best way is only doing the things you truly enjoy doing after you get yourself to the gym for a workout.

7. Tell Somebody About Your Goals

Let’s say you want to gain muscle mass.

You want to go to the gym tomorrow, but you wake up and just don’t feel like going. You go back to bed, lounge on the couch all day, and do absolutely nothing productive.

You didn’t go to the gym and nobody even knew you planned to go. There’s absolutely nobody telling you that you have to go.

That’s because accountability is key.

When you tell somebody about your goals or your workout schedule, they’re most definitely going to ask you about them or ask about your progress from time to time.

If you know somebody close to you is going to ask about how your fitness is coming along, you want something good to tell them, right?

So, tell somebody what you want to do and be prepared for them to ask.

Even if you can’t find the motivation to go to the gym for yourself, motivation to go to the gym for other people can be just as good.

Final Thoughts

There’s no doubt that it’s hard to reach your fitness goals

But, being unable to motivate yourself to go to the gym or workout is definitely going to set you back.

Any of the tips above can help you to find the motivation to go to the gym, as long as you’re really as motivated as you say you are!