How To Motivate Yourself To Get Off The Couch

01_R29-Fitness-184_AaronRichterPhotographed by Aaron Richter.
UPDATE: This post was originally published on May 2.
In your mid-20s, you start to notice your metabolism slow down. It creeps up on you like a child from one of those Japanese horror movies. First, your hangovers start to last longer. Then you can’t order a side of fries without a side of bloat. Next thing you know, you feel lethargic. You think you just need coffee at first but something is telling you it’s more than that. Your days of joking about how little you work out are over. It’s not cute anymore. It’s time to save your metabolism!
But also, aren’t couches so comfortable? Sometimes they feel like clouds. Like, for real like clouds. So soft! I’ll just sit here for 15 more min-ut-os…WAIT, NO, STOP! Here are some other things to think about when you are thinking about skipping exercise.
That time you went bowling and your arm was sore the whole next day. So you picked up a 10-ish pound ball maybe 20 or so times? And, you were so sore the next day that it hurt to raise your arm and you thought it might be some kind of terminal disease causing that pain and then you realized it was probably from bowling and felt a little silly? Don’t you see? It doesn’t take all that much for your body to start to feel the burn. No need to be intimidated by the time commitment. Also, next time don’t be the person whose arm is sore after bowling.
The music! Exercise is an excuse to listen to your guilty pleasure music. Ask even the biggest music snob what they listen to while they workout and they’ll either be refreshingly honest or pause awkwardly while they try to think of something to say besides FloRida.
How awesome it feels to be worn out physically from time to time. Remember being a kid and being out of breath and how that wasn’t a big deal at all? How, as your pulse slowed down, your lungs felt full and refreshed? The fastest way to feel like a kid again (come on, you know you want to!) is to work out super hard.
You are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Getting your blood flowing boosts your immunities. You’ll have skin that glows and need fewer sick days. Start using those sick days less for rolling around on the couch in agony and more for playing hooky! I mean, I never do that personally. It’s just an idea.
They don’t call it working out for nothin’. Working out really does work stuff out. Whenever I’m done with a run, I feel 1000 miles away from my cubicle. I also feel smug. Sure, that passive-aggressive email I received at work almost made me cry, but I’m in tune with my body’s most basic needs, so I guess that means I win, now doesn’t it?
02_img_4496_JensIngvarssonPhotographed by Jens Ingvarsson.
Stop idolizing the Giseles of the world. I love her. She looks great. However, I personally find that trying to emulate a seductress is counterproductive. When I’ve just gone through a breakup and all I want to do is lay on a couch watching Just Like Heaven, I really could care less whether or not someone finds me attractive. In fact, subconsciously, I reject the notion that I should be expected to care at all!
Idolize Sarah Connor from Terminator 2. What will really motivate you is the idea that you need to be a kickass, one-woman army in case some terminator tries to make a trip back from the future to wipe you out of existence. This time, the terminators might come back as virtually indestructible liquid assassins and, girl, when that happens you might only have yourself to rely on. Or, you know, the simple desire for inner-strength and self-reliance can be your motivation.
All you need is one month and you’ll be addicted. You just need to hit that one-month mark. Then you’ll notice changes that you won’t ever want to let go of. You’ll find yourself jonesing for a quick 20-minute workout the way you used to crave a nap. Well, I mean, you’ll still crave naps. I put myself down for a nap every Saturday afternoon or else I start to get fussy.
Ladies — you know who is totally cool with you NOT getting stronger? Misogynists from the 1960s. This article about the first woman to run the Boston Marathon is disturbing. Don’t let them win!
I’m in no way qualified to recommend what workout routines work best. Nor can I accurately provide a comprehensive list of the ramifications of NOT working out (osteoporosis? Heart disease? Kitten famine?). I can only speak to what motivates me to get up and do it. And, to sum up, that’s 90% Sarah Connor. So far, a few of my friends would probably say, “eeeh…I guess you could survive a robot uprising,” and I would say that’s progress.

More from Fitness


R29 Original Series