“I’ll do it tomorrow.” We’ve all said it, whether it pertains to mowing the lawn, doing laundry, work, or exercise. You know it needs to get done, yet there's just no motivation. You may as well be contemplating climbing Mount Everest.

And if we're being honest, with some things, it’s not just that you don’t feel like doing it; it's a lot more than that. Perhaps you don't just want to avoid exercise, but you actively loathe it. Hate it.

You know you're not alone. The world is full of people who truly hate to exercise. You could say the U.S. is a nation of haters in this regard. But since you're at this site, we figure you're at least thinking about making a change. That's something. It really is. It is the place where everyone has to start.

But here's the truth: It's not enough. In order to make any big change in your life, you have to be truly honest with yourself about whether or not this will work, right now.

So how, exactly, can you know whether you're really ready to make a change in your life when it comes to exercise? Because if you're not going to do this, what's the point of spending 30 seconds more of your life on this site, right? There's a burrito, a beer, and a couch with your name on it right now (there always is).

Believe it or not, scientists have actually studied this -- what makes someone ready (or not ready) to make a real change in their life. Scary? Yeah, maybe a little. But it's a good thing to know about yourself before you "commit" to a change and tell the whole world all about it.

Here, in a nutshell, are the "stages of change":

Most people go through a stage where they entirely deny needing to exercise. "I’ve gone this long without being active, so why start now?" (Sound familiar?) It often takes a wake-up call like scary-high blood pressure or blood sugar, an intervention from a family member, not being able to play with your kids, or sheer frustration from being winded after walking up a single flight of stairs for even a spark of motivation to be lighted.

After that, you might move on to the next stage, where that nagging feeling that you need to get moving leads to brainstorming about how you could tackle the task. Maybe you ask a co-worker if they want to walk together at lunch a couple times a week, or you stop by your local gym to ask about specials for new members. Good steps; you're on your way.

If you make it to the next step you're actually beginning to put the wheels in motion! You've got an exercise plan! You've got a trainer or a gym membership! You've got neon shoes that cost $100! At this stage, you've not only put yourself in an environment or situation that makes it easier to stick to this change in your life, maybe you're also surrounding yourself with people who will keep you accountable and support you.

In the final "stage of change," you've done the changing. Exercise has been a part of your lifestyle for several months. At this point, it's no big whoop. It's just part of who you are. The challenge now is to keep the motivation going and avoid the siren call of the couch when work, vacation, holidays, illness, or relationship issues derail your schedule or your life. If you're solidly in this stage, you won't see problems like these as a sign from the heavens to stop exercising, but you'll recognize that these obstacles are just a normal part of the process, and you'll get back to it ASAP. (Nobody is perfect and we all deserve a little slack after all. Life is too short to take anything, including exercise, too seriously.)

Where Do You Fit In?

Maybe none of the scenarios above sounds like you. We get it. You're an original, a lone wolf. You don't fit into any molds. Gotcha. So take a look at the statements below to see which one best describes you (even if it's not a perfect fit):

  1. Exercise? You must be kidding. I just don’t see myself doing it anytime in the near future. If ever.
  2. Well, I might consider beginning an exercise program in the next 6 months. How much would you pay me to work out?
  3. I have started to exercise, here and there, but it's not as regular as my commitment to, say, "Game of Thrones."
  4. In the past 6 months you can pretty much always find me at the gym (or park or at home), sweating it out several days each week.
  5. For at least the last 6 months I've seen my trainer/the gym/P90x DVD more often than my loved ones. 

Here’s where you’re at on the "Am I Ready?" scale:

If you answered 1. C'mon, man. You know don't want to do this and we don't want to bore you. You're not really ready to do anything, exercise-wise, but we still love you and hope to see you back here when you're ready to go.

If you answered 2. We get it; you've toyed with buying an "Insanity" DVD, or maybe you asked a friend about CrossFit or Zumba. But the truth is that you've still got your barriers (time/money/motivation). You may be ready, and if you think you are here's a simple way to start exercising that practically everyone will find doable, cheap, and not time-consuming.  

If you answered 3. Seriously, you deserve kudos. You've not only made a start, it's beginning to work for you and you're probably seeing results. You are more than ready; you're already doing it. Now it's time to keep the momentum going.

If you answered 4. Of course you're ready! Duh, you've already got a regular plan that you're sticking to. You're there!  Only now it might be time to set a new goal, like running a 5K or completing a sprint (shorter-distance) triathlon.

If you answered 5. You’ve got this exercise thing down; you don't need us! You could teach us a thing or two, in fact, and since you've graduated from ih8exercise.com, it's time to start spreading the love.

 --Mackenzie Lobby


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Mackenzie Lobby is a Minneapolis-based freelance writer with a master's in kinesiology from the University of Minnesota. Mackenzie has run 10 marathons and a USATF-certified coach who has worked with runners and walkers of all levels.


The information on this site and related sites and platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter should not be treated as medical advice and should not be used as a substitute for the advice, treatment, evaluation, diagnosis, or care of a qualified healthcare professional. Please see your physician if you have questions or concerns about your health.

Photo by joebelanger