Ways To Mentally Prepare For Exercise Success

We all know that exercise benefits the body, whether it’s physically, mentally, or socially.


When faced with the task of getting up and getting it done? That’s another story entirely.

More often than not, and particularly during the recent times we’ve found ourselves in, it just feels impossible to pull that trigger.

Exercise forms a huge part of self-care, however, this isn’t always enough to get us jumping out of bed in the morning!

So, if you’re stuck in a rut, not sure where to start, or you’re just feeling a little overwhelmed, here are some top tips to mentally prepare you for exercise.


Think about why you’re doing it.

It’s all very well knowing it’s good for you, but that won’t be what keeps you going when you’re engaged in that internal mid-workout mind-battle!

Goals are a great way to keep you focused, on track, and accountable.

A good tool to adopt is S M A R T goals:

SPECIFIC- Keep it simple. For example- ‘I want to run 5km in 25 minutes.

There is no room for ambiguity, and it makes your success measurable.

MEASURABLE– Choose goals that allow you to measure what success looks like. That way, you can set, and tick off, those targets.

ACHIEVABLE- An achievable goal is an attainable goal. Can it be done?

RELEVANT- Does it matter to you? Is it right for you?

TIME- Timescales will help you to plan, which in turn will help to make it achievable. Break it up!


  • Don’t overwhelm yourself. Start at 2-3 goals, rather than 10!
  • Make sure you adapt. If something isn’t working, change it up! Alternatively, adapt to suit your progression.
  • Make your plan visible. Share it with friends or family, or write it down. Shout it across Oregon! Give it weight.
  • Remove any barriers that you might see as challenging your ability to exercise. This way, you’re less likely to give up when it gets hard.

Barriers can be mental (such as patterns of behaving) or social (such as no gym access.)


Once you’ve set some goals, decide how you like to move.

If you don’t like HIIT workouts, it isn’t going to make for an enjoyable experience, and you’re far less likely to stick to it.

This is all about mentality. Refer back to your goal, but consider what you enjoy, too.

Make a plan for the sorts of exercises or classes you’d like to engage in. And if you don’t like it? Get rid of it! Life is too short for endless burpees.  

Look at finding variety if you’re limited on time and space, such as online classes or outdoor opportunities.

If you don’t have equipment, find ways to move without it. Or get creative with what you do have.

Part of getting started is preparation. Remove the obstacles early on.


It isn’t easy to put the first foot forward. Try to be patient.

Make sure you reward milestones if that helps to keep you motivated! But remember, this can sometimes lead us to indulge in punishment for any setbacks.

Exercise itself is a reward for the mind and body.

It’s easy to look at someone standing on their head during a yoga class and get disheartened; this is the time to realign with your own goals and progress.


A great playlist pumps up motivation, giving us that all-important boost when our body is screaming for us to stop!

If you’re stuck on where to start, crowdsource song ideas amongst friends and family.


Stepping into something new, or making positive changes towards your well-being, can be as equally challenging as it is rewarding; but it’s often just the getting started that is the hardest part.

Lean in, be kind, and enjoy it.