If getting to the gym is half the battle, it should be easier to just eliminate that half and work out in the comfort of your own home, right?
Well, sort of. Although your place is crazy convenient, it’s hard to stay motivated when you’re so close to temptation (read: the TV and the couch).
To help you resist said temptation and get in a solid sweat session at home, we went straight to the people who know what it’s like: our readers—real people with real lives, real jobs, and really busy schedules just like you. Here they share seven legit tips that’ll motivate you to work out at home, even if you don’t feel like it.
1. Find your digital fitness fit.
The No. 1 most important thing you can do is find a routine you’re actually going to enjoy doing at home. Certain workouts (think equipment-heavy activities) won’t translate well. But the good news: It’s 2017, and thanks to technology, you have access to an endless amount of at-home exercise options.
Take a moment, think about what types of activities you enjoy, and then do some research. From fitness apps and websites (like this one, ahem) that transform your phone into a personal trainer to live stream videos that turn your living room into a fitness studio, there are plenty of ways to get guidance, motivation, and variety. With a little bit of internet research and soul-searching, you can easily find a fitness routine that will work for you.
“The key for me was finding something I loved doing,” says Megan Wakefield of Littleton, CO. “I don’t battle myself to do it because I want to do it, and I fully enjoy the process.”
2. Pencil it in.
Would you remember to go to your dentist appointment or make it to that weekly meeting if you didn’t add it to your calendar? Probably not. The same goes for your workouts. “I schedule it like it’s an appointment,” says Holly Van Hare of Boston, MA. Prioritize exercise by blocking out time on your calendar and then planning your days and weeks around those blocks.
3. Set your space.
The tricky part about an at-home workout is that—surprise!—your home is not a gym. If you happen to have a gym in your home, lucky you. (Can we come over?) If you’re a mere commoner like us, then you’ll need to make whatever space you have work. That might mean setting up a mini gym in your basement or simply moving the coffee table over three inches to fit a yoga mat. Whatever you have to move/set up/dismantle, do it well before your scheduled workout (say, the night prior if you plan on getting up and working out), so there are no barriers or excuses. “I make a space for myself that feels like my own personal studio,” Van Hare says.
4. Dress for success.
Now more than ever, it’s acceptable to wear spandex just about anywhere. Take advantage of the trend and throw on gym clothes as soon as possible, at every given opportunity. Why? Well, one study suggests that simply wearing workout gear can help motivate you to exercise.
“On workdays I come home and change into my workout clothes before anything else, and on weekends I put them on first thing in the morning,” says Antoinette Schoenthaler of New York City. “That way I have no excuses later.”
5. Go public with it.
Hold the phone—literally. Before you tweet, message, or ‘gram your workout plans, read this: You’ll have a better chance of actually working out if you keep them to yourself. One study suggests that social recognition makes us less likely to follow through with our intentions.
But after you’ve crushed your workout, feel free to shout it from the social rooftops. Take a photo #fromwhereyoustand or snap a sweaty selfie. “I find I work harder for that extra satisfaction of sharing my achievement afterwards,” Van Hare says. When you share your progress and accomplishments, you’ll build a small group of cheerleaders, and you can tap into that satisfied feeling the next time you’re on the fence about working out.
6. Use a carrot.
For real, though. It’s okay to use small rewards to persuade yourself to work out. Do we hope you’re compensating yourself with something as healthy as carrots? Sure. But if it’s sometimes pizza, turkey chili, or a salted caramel brownie, that’s okay too, because, balance.
“I usually work out right after work, so I hold off on eating dinner until after I’ve knocked out a workout,” says Julia Gassaway, Richmond, VA. “Mentally, it’s a big reward.”
If food’s not your thing, treat yourself to a new pair of sneakers if you complete all your workouts for a month.
7. Try a halfsie.
When working out at home sounds like the worst thing ever, barter with yourself. “I say I’ll do half of what I normally do,” Gassaway says. “Then, eight times out of 10, I do the full workout anyway because all I really needed was to get started.” And the two times you don’t finish? Well, at least you did half, and that’s better than nothing.
The Bottom Line
The best way to motivate yourself to work out at home is to find a routine you truly enjoy, so your at-home workout doesn’t feel like work. Then, control as many factors as you can to set yourself up for success and make it a habit. Sure, the couch looks damn good when you come home after a long day, but sinking into it will feel so much better after you’ve earned it.