Why you procrastinate with exercise and how to stop.

Yesterday was one of those days where I had every intention of going to the gym but I ended up on the couch instead.

My husband and I had scheduled a 5:30 pm gym workout, but as I walked downstairs to grab a late lunch at 3:30 pm, my son was watching a movie. I snuggled up on the couch to see what it was about and the next thing you know, I was engrossed in the movie—the gym closed and there went my workout.

Has that ever happened to you? Or maybe you’re at the place where you keep telling yourself that one day you will go to the gym but that day never comes?

If so, today’s post will really minister to you.

Thankfully, I got right back on track today.

That has not always been the case. In the past when I quit working out,  it would take me weeks to find the motivation to start again, Now, I exercise most days of the week, with the occasional slip-up like I had yesterday.

Before I continue in case you’re thinking, “Yeah, but it’s easy for you. You like to exercise.” Contrary to popular belief, I don’t love exercise. I love the benefits it gives me, and I know I’ll feel better once I start, but starting . . . not so much.

During our 21-Day Challenge Program, exercise is the thing that women procrastinate on the most.

Why You Put Off Exercising

Let’s face it, you probably would not put exercise in the fun category—sore muscles, possible risk of injury, sweating and sacrificing time, shame, embarrassment, and an uncertainty of what’s right and wrong. It’s easy to see how these factors can demotivate you from starting.

It may be hard to imagine adding one more thing to your schedule—especially something that is going to compete with your other priorities. You say things like, ‘I have too much on my plate,’ ‘I’m sooooo busy,’ or ‘I’m just trying to keep it all together.’

But what if you could get over some of these barriers?


3 Strategies to Help You Find the Motivation to Start Exercising Today

Get Over the Initial Hurdle Right Now 

If I had a dollar for every time someone said, “I NEED to start exercising.” Whenever I hear this phrase, I know that there are a whole lot of emotion, mindsets, and limiting beliefs tied to exercise.

Why? Because exercise, if you understood how simple it is, there would be no need to turn it into such a production that now has you overwhelmed with the process.

Ready for a quick challenge? Stand up right now if you’re not; now lift your hands over your head; now take them out to the sides and circle them a few times in each direction; now bend over to one side and then the other side. There you go, you’ve now exercised! Congratulations!

Yes, I’m being a bit cheeky, but the point is that you’re overthinking exercise so much that you do nothing.

Where you are right now, you can march on the spot, do some squats, do some push-ups against the wall or on the floor, or you can even just sit where you are and tighten and release your butt (are you doing it?) 🙂

You’ve made it such a huge production, but just like that, you can now call yourself an exerciser. You’ve overcome the first hour, which is just starting. Then tomorrow, or even later on today, do it again. And keep on practicing it each day until it becomes a habit. The more you do it, the more you will want to do it.

It’s not rocket science—you just need to get over the initial hurdle. And, maybe next week you’ll think about starting to walk for just a few minutes.

And that, my sister, is how you begin—step by step, little by little, choice by choice.

Don’t ask yourself how you feel

In the past, I would constantly talk myself out of exercise because I didn’t feel like it; I was tired; I was a bit hungry, or I did not feel motivated.

Then I realized that if I waited until all conditions were perfect, it would probably happen once a month when I felt really bad about myself.

Now I don’t give it any thought. I automatically schedule it in at some point in my day and think of it like brushing my teeth or having a shower—it’s just one of the daily habits that I practice every day regardless of whether I want to do it or not. And, if there’s no time to fit in a gym workout in my schedule one day, then I’ll walk to do some errands or see where I can walk to instead of drive. I have NEVER finished a workout and said, “I wish I hadn’t done that.”

Making time for exercise is something that you will never regret (unlike the times when I’ve wasted hours binge-watching something and thought, now there are 2, 3, 4 or 5 hours of my life that I will never get back).

Make exercise a time of prayer and worship

For many of us Christian women, it’s easier to do things for other people than it is to do for ourselves. So if that’s you, then why not use exercise in your favor and use it as a time to pray for others, or to worship God.

I know people who dedicate their exercise time to others who have passed or who are not able to exercise for one reason or another.

A number of years ago, I stopped saying, “I need to exercise,” and I now say, “I get to exercise”, understanding that it’s a privilege that not everyone gets to experience. I think the use of our bodies is one of the things we take for granted. Past illness or injuries have been a stark reminder of this point.

When I exercise, I give thanks for my limbs that work when my muscles are fatigued and I can’t lift another repetition; I give thanks for the breath that I’m able to inhale and exhale when my heart is racing quickly, and I give thanks for the tight muscles when I’m stretching. I appreciate the intricacy of this amazing, fearfully, and wonderfully made body that God has blessed me with.

Another tip is to quote scripture while lifting weight. For example, when I’m doing a bicep curl, I say, “I can do all things through Christ” as I’m raising the weights, and when I’m lowering the weight I say, “Who gives me strength.”

~ ~ ~

I’d love to hear from you. Do you procrastinate with exercising? If so, did you do something simple to break your “I need to exercise” story by doing some simple exercises on the spot?

P.S. if you are tired of circling the same mountain over and over and want a Christ-centered approach to lasting weight loss without feeling guilty, deprived, or overwhelmed, be sure to sign up for our video course program right away at

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[…] putting off your workouts or telling yourself you’ll start tomorrow? You’re not alone. Procrastination is a serious barrier that stops us from reaching our […]


[…] “You don’t know my life" she bemoaned. “I wake up at 5:00 a.m. to prepare lunches, make breakfast, iron clothes, get the kids organized for school and leave the house by 7:00 am. After work, I make dinner, help with homework, do some of my charity work, and barely have enough time to talk to my husband, let along anything else. Where am I supposed to find time to exercise?” […]

lisa m
lisa m
6 years ago

Hi my name is Lisa this isn’t easy for me because some time I am in pain when I get up on the morning. I have some problems with my right hip at time so it’s hard for me to stand for s long period of time.I really need to lose some weight. What can I do that would benefit me and be easy for me.

Tonee M
Tonee M
6 years ago

The struggle is so real! Please pray for me! I am 62 (turning 63 in September) I dont want that day to find me still in bondage!

Erin S
6 years ago

I took the stairs just now! I’ve lost my way with exercise, but this post was a compass to finding may way back. Praise God – I GET to exercise! I’ve been very consistent with tracking for 2 months, and it’s time I add an exercise goal to the mix. I want to average 15 minutes per day for a total of 105 minutes per week. In Jesus’ name, I will move my body more!

Nicole M
6 years ago

Usually when I exercise on my stationary bike or along with Cathy’s videos I put on a plastic sweat suit & a band around my waist. It does motivate me after I exercise because Im so surprised at how much I do sweat when wearing it, and in my mind I look at it as fat burned. So when I procrastinate with my exercise I do what I did today, I put on my suit & band on as soon as I come home from work, although I don’t start exercising right away. I tell myself “well you have your… Read more »

6 years ago

I have really been reading & re-reading the 21-day Challenge on the YouVersion app. It has helped me create a mindset to exercise. I like to exercise, but yes, I do put my family and sometimes my ministry first. I am learning not to make excuses to myself, and I am relying more on online workouts when I don’t get to the gym. I don’t have to do an hour, 7 days a week, but I do have to work out regularly. Thank you!

Tanisha M
Tanisha M
6 years ago

I had to just start doing it. Now I feel weird if I don’t workout. I am working out 3 times a week for 30 minutes each workout period. I didn’t start this way but have grown over time. I am learning to just do it (like Nike) because if I don’t then I will find a million reasons not to. I love the results and am going to continue doing this so that I can be there for my family.

RuthAnn S
RuthAnn S
6 years ago

Maybe I am procrastinating because I put others first. Seems just when I start my devotions or exercise time someone close to me calls. I need to respect myself and the time I’ve blocked aside, and call the person back after my me time (devotions and exercise time Is over). Then during my exercise time I can use it as an extension of my devotional time. Cathy, thank you for the worship time tips. My time is an important priority, and I need to consistently respect it. It goes back to my What and Why! I can’t accomplish my why,… Read more »