Picture of woman walking on climbing on treadmill and man walking on one beside her

Why Working Out When You Don’t Feel Like it is the Most Important Time to Do So

Getting through this moment will pay off in dividends.

Picture of woman walking on climbing on treadmill and man walking on one beside her
Photo by GRAHAM MANSFIELD on Unsplash

“Don’t let your emotions distract you from doing what needs to be done. Control your emotions so your emotions do not control you.”

— Anonymous

EDITORIAL DISCLAIMER: Any advice or recommendation in my writing is what works for ME and may not be the best regimen for you based on your psychological or physiological makeup and stability. Please consult a doctor when making decisions about your health.

I’ve been there with you many times before.

Your alarm goes off way earlier than you think it should, and you can feel your body begging you to stay in the bed.

The covers are extremely warm and you got up more times than you can count last night to pee, so you didn’t get your usual seven-plus hours to prevent you from feeling absolutely terrible right now.

You close your eyes tighter in a squint as you think hard if you really need to get up to work out today.

You already worked out three days this week when you were able to get as much sleep as you needed.

You take a deep breath and begin to resign yourself to chalk today’s missed workout up to an overreactive bladder and a bad night of sleep when a little voice in the back of your head whispers to you…


“You’re better than this.”

“Get up.”

While it might not seem like it at the time, that little voice is your best friend at that moment by helping you fight a battle that is so important to your long-term fitness commitment.

It’s the resolve to work out at this time — when you least feel like it — that can mean everything to you hitting your fitness goals.

There are several reasons why this is the case.

It can become a slippery slope

The problem with listening to that voice that wants you to stay in bed is “where” does it stop?

It is your “lesser-self” encouraging you to go back on your word. However, after the first time you listen to it, it becomes so much easier to do it a second or third time.

Your “lesser-self” is that version of yourself who will always take the easy way out versus living up to what you said you would do early.

We all have those moments earlier in the morning when the bed feels a tad bit more comfortable than it usually does or those times in the afternoon when you feel like the sun will be a bit hotter than usual.

You try to talk yourself out of doing whatever exercise is on the agenda for that time.

This may seem like a single decision that you are making that isn’t that big of a deal, but the reality is that when you make a decision not to follow through with a commitment based on how you’re feeling at the time, you set yourself up for it to become a habit in which your feelings will control your actions.

When you make this decision one time, it will be so much easier to do it again. Your mind will rationalize it wasn’t that big of a deal the first time, so why not give yourself another break?

Refusing to consider this and forcing yourself to follow through with your commitment will not only prevent this slippery slope from the beginning but also create the second reason why it’s so important for you to overcome this moment.

You will gain strength and confidence each time you overcome it

The great thing about overcoming this individual moment is that each time you decide that you will not listen to your emotions and instead listen to your mind and the commitment you made to yourself, you will find it easier the next time this moment occurs.

Similar to MODs (Moments of Discomfort) in which you are faced with a pivotal challenging decision (do you choose a salad with grilled chicken for lunch or a cheeseburger with fries?), if you can overcome these single instances of not wanting to workout, you will find that it is much easier the next time the feeling rears its ugly head.

Read about why overcoming MOD’s will help you stop bad habits:

Just as defeat begets more defeat, overcoming a feeling will give you the confidence and motivation that you have the ability not to allow your emotions and feelings to be the boss of you.

Also, nine times out of 10, once you can overcome a feeling of not desiring to work out by forcing yourself to go through with it, you feel fine during the course of the workout and great afterward because of that feeling of achievement to know you kept your promise to yourself.

This building of momentum will eventually lead to the third benefit.

It only gets easier from here and eventually almost completely goes away

The third benefit is the greatest benefit of all from a long-term perspective, and why, if you stick with this, your future self with thank you.

With time, the more you overcome this feeling and build your confidence and knowledge, it’ll be easier to do so. The “challenge” of having to overcome these emotions each time will eventually go away.

It’s not something that happens overnight, however.

The likelihood of these feelings returning and having greater power in certain circumstances is increased dramatically when alcohol or bouts of bad dieting are added to the equation.

However, if you consistently stay the course and overcome more and more of these instances over time, you will find that they eventually seem to cease to affect you in any way.

The thought of not following through with a commitment will not even pop into your head because you’ve experienced so many positive results from following through with them consistently.

This is why people like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant got to a point where their work ethic wasn’t hard for them anymore. What most people saw as maniacal or “over the top” was a regular day. It had become such a habit that it was just a part of who they were and not a sacrifice in any capacity.

And while I can’t promise that you’ll never have a morning in which those covers won’t feel extra warm when you wake up and beg you to stay in bed, your “little” voice will now be big enough to tell them to “nah…not today Satan” and say “let’s get to work” instead.