11 tips for Starting an Exercise Plan and Finding the Motivation to Stick to It (The Mom Edition)

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Often times the hardest part of getting fit is simply finding the motivation.  How many times have you said to yourself, “Today is the day! I’m going to workout.” Only to find yourself a couple hours later saying, “Oh, but I’m just so tired.  I’ll start tomorrow.” Tomorrow becomes next week which becomes next month.  This happens with exercise, healthy eating (side note: I try not to use the term diet because of its negative connotations.  For the most part, if we all just ate healthy we wouldn’t need to “diet”.), and many other habits we desire to establish.

Establishing healthy eating habits and exercise routines can be particularly challenging for mothers, particularly mothers of young children.  Unfortunately, it often takes a considerable amount of sacrifice for moms to workout.  It is so easy to just give in and give up!

Don’t give in!  It is so amazing the difference a little exercise and healthy food make!  I started a regular workout routine about 3 months ago, and feel sooooo much better than I had been.  I have more energy, I’m more patient with my kids, and my overall mood is better.


Since I know I’m not the only mom to have a lot on her plate, I wanted to share some tips to help you get a fitness and healthy eating routine going and then stick to it.  It is not necessary to use all of these tips, but choose 2 or 3 that you think will work for you.

  • Enlist a friend to be your workout buddy.  Friends not only take the monotony out of working out, but if you have a friend who’s company you really enjoy, you may actually begin to look forward to working out.
  • Start simple! One of the surest ways to kill a good exercise or eating routine is to set your sights too high and overdo it.  If you are exercising  just keep in mind that you are going to need to have enough energy left after your workout to take care of your kids for the rest of the day. Once your body becomes accustomed to the workout slowly begin adding to it.
  • Incorporate your kids into your workout. I have NO time during the day when I’m without my kids.  Gyms are too far so working out by myself isn’t an option.
      •  If you don’t have a jogging stroller it is worth it to buy one.  If money is tight look on craigslist or other classified site. You can usually find a good stroller for fairly cheap.  If you need help justifying the purchase, think about it this way, purchasing a jogging stroller will cost a fraction of what a gym membership with or without childcare would cost.
      • Consider a kids workout DVD.  My kids love Storyland Yoga.  It is fun for them and still a good light workout for me.
      • Be active with your kids.  Have a dance party, jump around, do reps of 5-10 lifting your kids up in the air (this one, obviously, would only work if your kids are little).  Lie on your back and give your kids horsey rides with your legs.  My legs burn after just a few minutes with my 30+ lb. 2 year old.
  • Keep a food and/or exercise plan.  You can find some ideas and links to good templates on yesterday’s post.
  • Pay yourself for working out or sticking to your eating plan.  Instead of handing your money over to a gym, pay yourself each time you work out or every day you stick to your meal plan.  We all have things we want, but refrain from purchasing, right?  Each time you work out put $1-$2 into a jar.  You’ll have earned that special something before you know it.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself!  Don’t worry if you miss a couple days or a week.  Just keep in the front of your mind how good you felt, how much your kids loved your sunnier attitude, and get back on track when you can.  Beating yourself up about missing days isn’t going to do you any favors.
  • Choose certain days of the week to work out when you are least likely to have schedule conflicts.
  • Don’t compare yourself!!! Different people have different body types.  You can’t change your genes, but you can change your lifestyle.  Focus on healthy, not on skinny.

About Amy @ Oh So Savvy Mom

Amy is mom to three, wife to one, and a sister and aunt to many. Her family is a former military family now settled in Lehi, Utah. Oh So Savvy Mom began as a way for Amy to share parenting and product advice with others. Just as she has evolved, Oh So Savvy Mom has evolved into a resource for Healthy Living for Families, Food, Parenting, and Family Travel.


  1. Sandy VanHoey says
    Boy, sounds just like me then I seem to finally get started and find excuses to stop after a couple of weeks. I like the Pay Yourself idea!
    • That is actually one of the ones I haven't tried yet. I should do it though, LOL. I could use a little spending money. ;) My boys do a good job of reminding me. We run to a nearby playground. They don't let me miss too many days, LOL.
  2. Perfect timing for me as I just jumped back on the treadmill today! Thanks for th great tips.
  3. Thanks for the reminders...gotta go work out! :)
  4. Some good tips!
  5. I love all these great ideas. The "pay yourself" would definitely be a motivator for me :) I may "borrow" it from you :)
    • Carrie, did you know that it was actually your couch to 5 k post that got me believing that I could run? I mean, really, running is the most practical form of exercise when you've got little kids cause you can just stick them in the stroller and workout. But I've always hated running! As I read your Couch to 5K post I realized that I could totally do it. I really enjoy my runs now!
  6. Great tips! I want to get a Zumba DVD and walk more!
  7. yeah, I am great at the starting part...its the sticking with it that I have trouble with!
  8. These are all great tips. I am going implement some of them. I already have friends that work out with me. =)
  9. I subscribe to your posts! Love the fitness stuff btw! Anyway, how do you get people to go to your site and read the rest of your posts on feedburner? If you don't mind emailing me julie_marling@yahoo.com
  10. Great tips. I find I lose my "mojo" quickly
  11. great tips! I couldn't agree more! I've started working out again and it really does give me more energy and make me feel better about myself!
    • I know that everyone say that exercising just makes you feel better, but it is just one of those things that we kind of push aside and say we'll do later...when we feel like it. Ironic. ;) Thanks so much for you comment, and good luck with your workouts!
  12. These are great suggestions! I always find that waiting to get motivated never works. Just Do It!!
    • I couldn't agree more! For me it was the something's got to give feeling that made me start. I was so tired of feeling like junk all the time. I certainly didn't feel like going out for a run every morning, but I did it anyway. Now, I love it! I look forward to exercising and feel bummed (because I miss that feeling of accomplishment) if I miss a couple days.
  13. These are all great tips! Just pinned it to my healthy boards! :)
  14. I find it most helpful to enlist a workout buddy. I routinely walk with with my neighbor. I was given a double jogger by a friend, and now I set up walking plans with my neighbor and we just "get it done!" The kids can chat, we get to excercise, get fresh air and rejuvenate. We try to take the children to the park on our way home so they get some time to unwind too! great tips! :) here's to fit and firm not skin and bones!
  15. The post that you have is very helpful in terms of having the best shape for your body..Thanks for sharing..I really love this..
  16. I love the idea of paying yourself when you do exercise. I have considering doing it in the past but never followed through. Maybe now is the time!!
  17. Amazing blog Albertine