6 ways to trick your brain into exercise so it actually becomes a habit

Emmy Samtani

Emmy Samtani

Emmy is the founder of Kiindred and mother to 3 little ones. Over the last 4 years, she has worked with some of the most credible experts in the parenting space and is a keen contributor on all things parenthood.
Updated on Jun 14, 2024 · 5 mins read
6 ways to trick your brain into exercise so it actually becomes a habit

It’s cold. It’s raining. You had a bad night’s sleep and you just can’t be bothered. Yep, trying to find the motivation to get up and exercise can be a mental marathon of mind games. You’ll always be able to come up with an excuse why you shouldn’t do it but the fact of the matter is, if you really want to make exercise a habit, there are so many handy hacks to help you along your fitness journey.

We get it, life is busy and sometimes you can blink and it’s been months since you’ve done any form of physical exercise. Outside of, you know, bouncing babies or toting toddlers… But your fitness and mental health should never fall to the bottom of the priority list.

In partnership with H&M, we asked running coach, author and mum of two Turia Pitt to share her top tips to help trick our brains into actually wanting to exercise so it becomes a lifelong habit!

1. Don’t wait for motivation to come and tap you on the shoulder

The reality is: that you’re not gonna feel motivated all the time! If you’re waiting to wake up, full of energy at 5 am, ponytail swinging, LEAPING to get out of bed and go for a run, well… you might be waiting a long time. Forget motivation, and focus on consistency

2. Stronger Together

There’s no need to go it alone. A mate, a group, a trainer, a coach – all of these things can be very helpful for those times when you just don’t want to go for a run. When you make a commitment with other people involved, you find a new community supporting you and holding you accountable (in a friendly way!)


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3. Up your activewear game

The saying goes all the gear and no idea.. but when you look the part, you’ll feel the part and before you know it, you’ll be the part! There’s nothing better than updating your activewear wardrobe to help get your motivation back on track. Say goodbye to those old tatty tights that are losing their shape and inject some functional (and fashionable!) options in the mix.

Enter H&M’s sportswear range for men and women. Functional, stylish, supportive, made from more sustainable materials and affordable, why not treat yourself to some fresh looks? Investing in YOU and ensuring you are wearing the right clothes when you’re exercising is a guaranteed way to turn exercise into a habit that is going to stick.

Whether it’s winter running tights that will keep you dry and warm while you exercise outdoors, a super supportive sports bra or a lightweight sports jacket, there’s a range of styles to suit all your training needs.

Sure, when your alarm goes off at 6 am for boot camp, there’s always going to be a part of you that wants to hit snooze and go back to sleep. But when you have stylish new activewear with your name on it waiting to be worn, it makes getting out of bed a whole lot easier!


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4. Leave your inhibitions at the door

It’s normal to worry about what you look like to passing cars but if you want to make progress, you need to kiss your ego goodbye and leave all of your inhibitions behind.

If someone walking their dog overtakes you, that is perfectly OK! You’re doing something new. Give yourself permission to have a go at being a beginner. You are learning and growing and changing. This is a good thing!

5. Be consistent (and remember that improvement isn’t always linear)

People often assume that when they work at something every day, they’ll get a bit better every day too.

But it doesn’t work like that. Improvement isn’t linear. It’s OK if you have to cut a session short every now and then, or if some runs just feel harder than others. If you’re consistent and just keep showing up, you will see results.

6. Don’t view one bad day as a failure

Here’s the truth: not every training session is going to feel great. Some will. A lot won’t! But one bad session or a few bad sessions doesn’t mean you’re failing. Improvement is not linear! Think about training as part of a ratio: The Golden Ratio.

It basically means that not all of your training sessions will be great or feel good. Some will. A lot will be average/”nothing to report” type runs, and some will be downright crap.

Those are the ones you don’t finish, or have to take breaks from, or where you just generally feel tired and heavy, and it’s hard. But that’s OK! The point is – if you show up for your sessions and are generally consistent, you WILL get better over time. The golden ratio doesn’t require every session to be awesome, it just requires that you keep showing up.


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You can do anything but you can’t do everything. Choosing to take that small 20-minute window in your day to go for a run might mean you don’t get that email sent or that load of laundry done. Dinner might be pizza at the oval, where you’ve plonked your kids down so you can fit in your sprint training session! That’s OK! Don’t wait for everything to be “right” – hair brushed, clean clothes on, dinner cooked, lawn mowed – before you make time for the things that feel good!

Remember, take the pressure off, allow yourself to be a beginner, keep it simple and be kind to yourself! You’ve got this, my friend.


This is a paid partnership between Kiindred x H&M.

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