Behaviour Change
5 mins read

How do you stay motivated

Katy with a client training at the gym.
Written by
Katy Harkness
Published on
November 30, 2022

5 tips to stay motivated when it comes to health and fitness

To stay motivated when it comes to health and fitness, I have 5 top tips.

  1. Know that whilst you will never regret training you will regret missing it
  2. Appreciate that there are going to be moments when you are not motivated so cut yourself some slack
  3. Protect your time for training – be like clockwork
  4. Ask yourself “Is this action getting me closer to or further away from my goal?”
  5. Realise that consistency trumps motivation

“How do you stay motivated?”

I have been asked this a lot by friends and colleagues. And the simple answer is, I am not motivated. Which might not make sense.

“But you go to the gym three times a week!”

“You train at 6am!”

“You train on holiday!”

All the above is true, and many will say “It is easy for you, it is your job.”

Right now, it is not my job.  I am writing this on the 0734 train into London in my final month of working in another industry.  I have trained this morning.  But I am not motivated.  Not when the alarm went off at 5 a.m.

I did not spring out of bed.  Few people would. It would have been extremely easy with that 5 a.m. alarm to roll over and not bother with training.  To have an extra hour in bed.

But there are 5 things that got me out of bed.  

Here they are.

1. You never regret having trained, but always regret missing it

This knowledge keeps me going. And I know this by being very, very, very consistent.  You see, consistency trumps motivation every single time. And consistency comes before motivation.  Being consistent with your nutrition and training moves you towards your goals.  And as you get closer to your goals, that then motivates you to keep going. But that motivated feeling is not a constant – not at 5 a.m. on a wet Wednesday morning.

But I do know I’ll regret not having trained.


2. Appreciate that there are going to be moments when you are not motivated so cut yourself some slack.  

Don’t beat yourself up about this.  Accept it for what it is and take a simple approach.  

Think ‘I’ll just…’

‘I’ll just put my gym stuff on’ will likely lead to

‘I’ll just head towards the gym’ will likely lead to

‘I’ll just do 5 minutes on the rower’ will likely lead to

‘Well, I’m warmed up now I’ll just do a bit of upper body’

And before you know it you’ve had a decent session.

The ‘I’ll just… ‘ mentality has created small achievable steps that have added up to something more worthwhile.  And if you stopped after 5 minutes on the rower well that is 5 minutes more on the rower than it could have been.

3. Protect your time for training – be like clockwork

With the advent of school, my partner and I started out being very fluid with drop off, pick up and days working from home. ‘We’ll play it by ear’ we said.


We did not know if we were coming or going – we could not commit to something, be that work related or socially without checking with the other and that impacted not just us, but the folks we were arranging things with. We persevered for about 3 weeks and realised we needed to decide and diarise who was doing what and when for our own sanity.  And to get done everything we needed to.

For me it has been the same with training.  I used to go to the gym ‘when I fancied it’ in a more fluid fashion, meaning often (read most times) I would find a reason not to. Now I have the set times and days that I go.  It is in my diary.  It is in my partner’s diary.  It is just what I do 3 times at a set time. And it is rare for me to miss a session.  

Granted, things crop up – sick child, meetings, family stuff, holidays – but for the most part I am consistent.  

A bit like a metronome… tick, tock.

4. Is this action getting me closer to or further away from my goal?

If I ever think about not training, then I ask myself this. And so, I do have a motive because I have a ‘Why?’.  

I want to be an active mum who is ‘doing’ and not sitting on the side lines, so in a few decades time me and my then big person can reminisce - about the time I fell off the cargo net at Go Ape, or we went paddle boarding and watched carp, or when I lifted them onto my shoulders so they could get a better view of Ed Sheeran.  And I want my small person to appreciate the value in taking care of the only body you get.  

I want to be here for as long as I can be.  

That was my big ‘Why?’ when I started training, and it remains. So that is my ‘Why?’ And subconsciously I do consider this at 5 a.m. when the alarm goes.

Your ‘Why?’ will be unique to you.  

You might think

  • ‘Is this decision getting me closer or further away from my weight loss goal?’
  • ‘Is this decision getting me closer or further away from improving my cholesterol?’
  • ‘Is this decision getting me closer or further away from being wedding ready?’
  • ‘Is this decision getting me closer or further away from my 5k PB?’

It is a great question to ask yourself to hold yourself accountable when you aren’t feeling motivated.

5. Realise that consistency trumps motivation

In the moment motivation might be low but you can work to be consistent.  Because consistency trumps motivation and that feeling of motivation comes from being consistent. So, work on being consistent.

What made me consistent?

Being selfish three times a week at a set time, made easier by having a supportive partner who sees how important training is to me.  And sees how the impact of training spills into every aspect of life – I am calmer, I have more energy, I am more focused, I am happier.  I am more me.

Signing up to having a personal trainer kickstarted my consistency. Something I initially thought was very indulgent, was the best investment in myself I ever made. Because whilst I had wasted my time plenty in the past, I didn’t want to waste their time by not bothering.  They kept me accountable and on the path to where I am today.


My 5 tips to staying motivated at their heart are process orientated, revolving around knowing your goal, carving out time to work towards that goal, and some question and action hacks to move you in the direction you want to head in.

But ultimately consistency trumps motivation and so if you are waiting for motivational lightening to strike, recognise it most likely won’t.  But consistency is something within your gift to control.

So, if you would like help to work out your ‘Why?’, how you can get there, have support along the way and someone holding you accountable then just reach out to me here at PLAY Fitness and Coaching.

Together we can be consistent.

I am always here, just perhaps not at 5 a.m.

Get in touch to find out what times and days I have available to work with you regularly: Get in touch

Check out my 5-star reviews to see how I have helped clients be consistent in their actions: Google reviews

Use my Calorie Calculator to re-assess your targets regularly to avoid plateauing in your weight loss before you reach your goals.  Plateauing is a huge de-motivator and there may be a simple energy balance tweak to keep you on your journey.

About Katy Harkness

Katy founded PLAY Fitness & Coaching after she made changes in her life, which saw her lose over 20kg and become the fittest she has ever been.

As Katy became more interested in health and fitness, the algorithms shared more and more misinformation.

Becoming frustrated with unrealistic goals and standards being set, that are often not healthy, Katy left the advertising industry where she had a successful 20+ year career, to help create the change she wanted to see in the health and fitness industry and to support people to make the sustainable, long term changes they wanted to see in their own lives.

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