7 Ways to Motivate Yourself and Stay Active

How To Wear A Tunic Sweater
By Jess
24 Oct 2016


Photos by Craig Mackay

 Adidas Sweatshirt / Leggings-wearing xs (also love these) / Nike Juvenate Sneakers / Braids by Jennie Kay (tutorial coming tomorrow)

Raise your hand if staying active is a struggle. For someone that grew up playing sports, my level of fitness can at times be borderline pathetic. I go through waves. I’ll get on a good schedule and be really consistent and I feel great, and then somewhere along the way I miss a class or I go away or I’m too tired one day and my routine goes to hell in a hand basket. As the days get shorter (and colder) it’s even harder for me to get my sweat on. But now that I work from home and for myself I’ve found it’s more important than ever to carve out time for myself and find ways to get motivated no matter how challenging that may be. Let me start by saying I am in no way an expert, but here are a few of the things that have worked for me. And by all means if you have any tips or tricks, please share them in the comments!

dutch-braids-jess-kirby-activewear-craig-mackay-photography-5 1. Find what you like – This may seem obvious but it’s crucial to keeping up with a routine. I hate the gym. I’ve never liked it. It’s just not for me. I used to absolutely dread going when I had a gym membership. Instead of torturing myself I found different ways to get exercise that I really enjoy. In the summer I like to swim, surf, play tennis, ride bikes or go for a walk at the beach. I also love yoga and barre classes. There are so many options now, experiment and figure out what you enjoy doing and you’ll be way more likely to actually go.


2. Use the buddy system – I am ten times more likely to go do something if I have someone to do it with. Craig is so good about staying active, he kind of has the opposite problem, he can’t stop doing things. He forces me to get away from the computer or get off the couch and I feel so much better afterwards. We also signed up for YogaGlo a few months ago and started doing yoga at home. Now I try to do it at least once a week, Craig does it everyday, I’m not there yet, haha. Jennie and I also try to do barre classes together as often as possible. When you have a friend that’s expecting you to show up you’re not going to bail.


3. Dress the part – This may seem trivial but for me it’s not. I used to have this attitude of “I’m not going to buy work out clothes because I hate working out.” I didn’t have good sneakers or activewear but the reality is having good gear makes a big difference. It took me forever to find the right sneakers, seriously almost a year, but I found two pairs of Nikes I really like, the Nike Air Maxx Thea (better for walking/hiking) and the Nike Juvenate (better for running/biking). Same goes for activewear. When I have options that are comfortable and look good I feel more confident and more excited for my workout. That sounds terribly vain but it works for me so it is what it is (I included some of my favorite options at the bottom of the post).


4. Get outside – Fresh air is so good for your mind, body and soul. Having a dog is great because regardless of the weather, I have a reason to go for a walk or hike. The ocean is therapeutic for me so going to the Cliff Walk or the beach is one of my favorite ways to clear my mind and get my heart rate up. Even in the dead of winter, we bundle up and get outside, in all honesty, sometimes it sucks, especially when it’s windy and freezing, but the feeling afterwards is worth it.


5. Make a schedule – This has been one of my biggest challenges. Working for myself and from home has made it really difficult for me to shut down. I work ALL the time, some days from 7am-10pm at night with almost no break time. That is not healthy. If anything it’s counter-productive. The days when I get exercise even if it’s a quick walk in the morning or at lunch time I work better and more efficiently. I try to schedule at least two days a week of something structured like a class or meeting up with a friend for a walk.


6. Fuel up – I never used to be a breakfast person. My morning meal was coffee and inevitably every day by 9 or 10 am I would not only be absolutely starving but I would crash. Now I start my day with a big glass of water before I have my coffee. I also eat breakfast every day, usually eggs and toast with fruit or a smoothie. I feel so much better throughout the day if I eat a good breakfast in the morning.


7. Give yourself a break – As important as it is to stay active, you also have to give yourself time off. Whatever that means to you, meditation, getting a mani/pedi, having a lazy day on the couch, treat yourself to something that makes you feel good. You deserve it.


Thank you to Nordstrom for partnering with me on this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

Activewear Picks

Disclosure: if you buy something through the links on this blog, we may earn an affiliate commission. We only feature products we would personally recommend. Thank you for your support.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. pia wrote:

    my biggest motivation are definitely new sporty clothes 🙂
    Fash ‘n’ fudge
    Fash ‘n’ fudge

    10.24.16 | Reply
  2. Rach wrote:

    These are great tips! Making a schedule is what helps me the most!


    10.24.16 | Reply
  3. Natali wrote:

    Great post and I agree with you on all of these points but 5 & 6 are the most important ones to me, without them, I can’t get a good and consistent workout.


    10.24.16 | Reply
  4. Diana wrote:

    Great tips!! The gym is definitely not for me either.
    || D I A N A ||

    10.24.16 | Reply
  5. Kiersten wrote:

    Numbers 1 and 5 are so important to me. I’ve been challenging myself to try new work outs for 30 days and there are some that I love and some that I hate (I don’t why, but I just can’t do cardio barre… Not my thing!).

    Great tips!

    10.24.16 | Reply
  6. Lucy wrote:

    Your sports bra rec is literally my most favorite and best bra I’ve ever owned. No joke I probably have ~9 of them – great for running, yoga, boxing, walking, and branching.

    10.24.16 | Reply
    • Jessica wrote:

      OMG that’s saying something coming from the Queen of fitness.

      10.24.16 | Reply
  7. Sue wrote:

    This is just perfect!The background matched the outfit so well!

    10.26.16 | Reply
  8. Betsy wrote:

    Hey Jess!
    So, I know you wrote this post a long time ago, but I was curious about your thoughts on when to exercise to stay motivated. I’m with you, I don’t just hop out of bed and get to it. My boyfriend loves to get to the gym, but me? Uh, no. Do you try to get it out of the way, early in the day, or do you fit it in when you can, whenever? I love all your suggestions here. Thanks!

    6.21.17 | Reply
    • Jessica wrote:

      Hi Besty! So the short answer is it depends. Typically I like to get it out of the way because I know the longer the day goes on, the less likely I am to do anything. I’m just not an afternoon/evening kind of workout person. For me, scheduling classes really helps. I try to take a morning class between 8-10 and sign up ahead of time so I’m less likely to cancel or not show up. Sometimes I’ll also go at lunch time but that’s about as late as it gets for me. xx

      6.21.17 | Reply
      • Betsy wrote:

        Thanks! I think getting it out of the way, feeling better for the rest of the day, having more energy would be beneficial for me, as well. So easy to make excuses if I procrastinate. Nice to know others struggle with it, besides me. 🙂
        BTW, I love that white cami/jeans pic on today’s Summer outfit post. Love that look. So laid back and perfect for Summer.
        Have a great rest of the day! B.

        6.21.17 | Reply

Most Popular

The Latest: