By Laura Diane Duarte

It happens to everyone. You work out consistently, challenging your muscles and maximizing your time, but one day you wake up and it’s just not in you. Maybe it’s rainy outside or you had that extra glass of wine the night before. Whatever the reason, you can’t get motivated to hit the gym or the pavement.

First, not every workout has to end with sweat dripping down your face and the Rocky theme song playing in the background while you celebrate on the steps of the Capitol Building. That’s a crazy expectation that will burn you out faster than anything. Instead, when lacking motivation but don’t want to break a habit, try cutting your usual time in half. Instead of three miles, go for one and a half and slow your pace. Or even better–take a walk, instead. Giving in to an all-or-nothing mindset can break you down and set you up to fail.

If you insist on pushing through a full workout, make a point to smile when your energy lags. Smiling sends a message to your brain that all is well. Even if you don’t fully believe it, smiling has the power to fool your mind and body into thinking power squats are delightful. And don’t worry about those fools next to you on the treadmill. Today, you’re someone who loves pain, that annoying person in the front row of a boot camp class who shouts “Woohoo!” after the hundredth push-up.

Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up. Negative thinking only throws a wrench into an already drained mindset. There are easy ways to sneak in exercise every day. Take a walk around the block, do push-ups and squats during commercial breaks, tighten abs while you drive, clean up your living space. Making sure you move is the most important way to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and the hardest part can be overcoming the mental hurdles.