Shape Editors Share How They Get Moving When They Can’t Find Motivation

From joining a club to starting a new hobby, Shape editors have found unique ways to stay on track.

Editors Motivation


Whether you’re willing your writer’s block-riddled brain to fill a blank page or you’re peeling yourself out of bed to train for a marathon, there are days when motivation seems entirely elusive. After all, setting a big, exciting goal is one thing, but maintaining the drive needed to work toward that finish line can feel challenging at times and downright impossible at others. 

You're likely well aware of common pitfalls that can chip away at motivation (time management, work commitments, and the siren song of happy hour, just to name a few). Within the realm of fitness specifically, research points out that both internal factors (such as lacking enjoyment from exercise) and external influences (e.g., not having convenient transportation to the gym) can hurt your incentive to engage in physical activity. All of this is to say that finding — and maintaining — motivation can be tricky, and there are multiple, valid reasons why yours might ebb and flow over time.

While you might imagine that Shape editors crush 6 a.m. classes with ease or are always chasing their next fitness goal, the truth is everyone struggles to maintain motivation from time to time — even those who write about it for a living. Still, we’ve learned a few hacks over the years, so the team is sharing a glimpse at the motivation strategies that have worked for us and how we deal with the inevitable slumps.

“I took a brain scan to learn how I think — and it helped me run faster.”— Marietta Alessi, Social Media Director

"This year I've been focused on self-improvement through getting to know myself better. I started therapy and began listening to health and productivity podcasts almost daily.  Still, what’s impacted me the most is what I learned from doing a 10-minute, non-invasive brain scan. 

Every body is built differently, and no brain is wired the same either. While that makes sense on a practical level, I don't think I truly understood what that meant until Wave Neuroscience helped me look under my own hood, if you will. The company uses a device that measures your brain waves, and I learned that my brain processes information faster than most, I work well under pressure, and my brain loves to connect different ideas. 

My brain scan revealed that I could improve on focus and concentration. I applied the finding while training for the Shape + Health Half Marathon 5.8-mile race by really focusing on the mechanics of my movement during cross training. I intentionally created a training plan that helped me maximize my running form at Mile High Run Club, focused on building runner-specific muscles at Orangetheory Fitness and learned to increase my threshold to run on tired legs by doing the treadmill last in the circuit-focused class. Not only did I PR and feel great after the race, but I had enough energy to cover the event for Shape’s social media later that day. Proper planning and knowing my body allowed me to accomplish this goal and I can't wait to see what I accomplish in 2023. Perhaps I run the half marathon on the course this year."

“I put money on the line.” —Shannon Bauer, Senior Beauty Commerce Editor

Shannon B Shape

Shannon Bauer

"Once I commit to something, I try really hard to stick to that and see it through since I made that promise to myself. However, lack of sleep, a tough day (week, month...) can make even the most motivated people feel defeated. That's when my bank account comes in: If I have money on the line, I will (almost) never renege on a deal. So, I book a workout class, sign up for a race, or purchase a training plan to get myself back on track. That $15 cancellation fee for a 7 a.m. class or $100+ spent on entry fees and training plans will ensure my butt is out of bed and ready to go every single time. Usually after a week or so, I'm excited about the fresh routine and become self-motivated again, but the money spent is a nice initial push and serves as a reminder if I ever need it."

“I joined a club that keeps me accountable.” —Christie Calucchia, News Editor

Shape Editor

Christie Calucchia

"Over the last year, I've gone to a local run club nearly every Monday night. What started as a way to train for a half marathon has motivated me to continue running long after the race ended. Having a designated time and place to run with a group of people has been instrumental in maintaining my fitness goals during a time when returning to work in an office upended my previous pandemic workout routine. Although I meet with the club just one night a week, I know I need to stay in good enough running shape to keep up with my fellow runners on Monday nights, which helps motivate me to run and cross-train throughout the week on my own."

“I focus on the energy boost I’ll get.” —Alyssa Sparacino, Editorial Director

Alyssa Shape

Alyssa Sparacino

“The tool I utilize to keep me motivated is actually more of a habit than something tangible. It's never wavering from my choice to exercise in the morning before I do anything else — and not forcing a workout later in the day just to check off some arbitrary box. That means that I go into every day (or close out every night) knowing that if I want to capture that feel-good energy, endorphins, and "I'm strong enough to do anything" vibe, I have to make time for it in the a.m. Most mornings, I get up excited to move my body, but if I need more sleep, I don't feel guilty about recharging my batteries that way instead. I know there's always tomorrow. 

“I challenge myself to stay on schedule.” —Christina Oehler, Beauty Commerce Editor

“When I have a handful of things on my to-do list, I make an hour-by-hour schedule of the day and estimate how long each task will take. It becomes kind of a fun challenge; I want to stick to the schedule I set, so I'm committed to finishing each task. If I don't finish everything I need to do, I make a point to not be too hard on myself. I notice that the more I beat myself up about not finishing everything, the less motivated I am in the future.”   

“I think of future-me — and do it for her.” —Kristen Geil, Senior Fitness Editor

Kristen Shape

Kristen Geil

"Some days, there's not enough self-encouragement  in the world for me to obey my 6 a.m. alarm clock. That's when I start looking into the future. No, I’m not a fortune-teller (just your standard Type-A Virgo), but I am starting to think more about how I want to be able to move on my terms for the rest of my life. By getting in my movement (and especially my mobility and strength training) right now, I’m setting myself up for a more comfortable, pain-free life — one that future-Kristen will thank me for. And if those long-terms visualizations aren’t working, I know that in the short-term, I’ll feel happier and more energized if I make the time for a workout rather than putting it off. Either way, I’ve always got my future health and happiness in mind!”

“I’ve found a hobby that keeps me active.” —Megan Falk, Assistant Editor


Megan Falk

“Thanks to the chaos of life, I haven't had much motivation (or energy) to tackle increasingly challenging workouts this year, and I've almost felt 'guilty' for taking it easy on the fitness front. To combat those negative thoughts, I've been focusing on ways I can get in more 'movement' — rather than strict 'exercise.' On the weekends, I volunteer in my local pollinator garden, ridding the space of weeds to help native plants thrive, and I go on a sunset walk each day — activities I actually look forward to doing. I may not be powering through HIIT workouts or long cardio sessions as often as I used to, but this simple mindset switch has improved my mental well-being and motivated me to stay active."

“I stick to workouts that I thoroughly enjoy.” —Renee Cherry, Associate Editor

"In the past, I've done workouts that I've absolutely dreaded while participating in school sports (think: fartleks during track practice). During those sessions, my motive was a responsibility to my team rather than an enjoyment of what I was doing. Now that I'm working out solely for my own benefit, I've realized that sticking to workouts that I like doing is key. That means I wake up each morning excited to stream an Obé video or do some strength training in my apartment building's gym, but you won't catch me suffering through a run. On days when even my go-to workouts don't sound appealing, I'll head to a workout class to draw motivation from a high-energy group fitness environment. As I see it, forming positive associations with exercise is key if you want to continue to stay active over the long term."

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