It's that time of year again for me: I like to call it "workout no-man's-land."

The sunny summer weather is long gone, but my New Year’s motivation hasn’t kicked in yet.

I lose my exercise mojo and end up skipping a number of my regularly scheduled workouts. If I don't get my butt in gear, I'll celebrate the holidays a few pounds heavier, so instead of slacking on my workouts, I use a number of strategies to overcome my declining motivation.

Use them from when you're feeling particularly ho-hum about exercise, whether you are trying to fit in a workout in the morning, after work, or on the weekend.

In the morning

  • Get prepared The night before a morning workout, I lay out everything I'll need, including clothing, sneakers, iPod, magazines, pre-workout snack, car keys, gym membership ID, etc. Having everything ready to go requires a lot less thought in the morning, plus the visible items are reminding (or taunting) me to get moving! Additionally, I take a few minutes to map out my workout as specifically as possible. For instance, I'll plan a 30-minute treadmill run with a 20-minute upper body workout, so I have a plan and don't waste any time at the gym.
  • Shine some light My go-to tool for morning workouts is my bedside lamp. As soon as I hear my alarm clock go off, I switch on my lamp. The combination of my alarm and a little bit of light always gets me moving in the morning.
  • Think about the after effects When I am lying in bed debating whether or not to get up, I remind myself how awesome I feel after a workout. Hey, you never regret a workout! Then I remind myself how it feels when I skip a workout, which, as you can imagine, is not such a great feeling. I’m not sure which thought ultimately gets me out of bed, but the combination of the two always seems to motivate me!

After work

  • Mentally prepare Toward the end of the work day, I sometimes feel sluggish and just plain old lazy, so the thought of exercising is the last thing I want to do. But instead of missing a sweat session, I tell myself that skipping the gym is just not an option. I visualize myself putting on my workout gear, going to the gym, and enjoying my time while exercising. Mentally preparing for the workout really helps me stick to it!
  • Put on my workout clothes immediately Getting started is sometimes the hardest part of my workout, so I make it easier by putting my brain into autodrive and getting dressed in my workout clothes as soon as the workday ends.
  • Make your commute home go by the gym Instead of heading straight home after work, where it’s really tough to motivate yourself to leave again, make your evening commute go right by your gym.

On the weekend

  • Make a fitness date Instead of sleeping late and wasting the day away, I like to schedule a fitness date with a friend (or two!), so then I have to show up. Knowing that I've made a commitment to my friend makes it impossible to blow-off a weekend sweat session.
  • Schedule a class When I know I'd rather sleep in than exercise, I register myself for a Saturday morning class, just like an appointment that I can't miss. Saturday morning classes typically fill up, so once I've reserved a spot, I don't want to miss it.
  • Bribe yourself If I'm struggling to get active, I bribe myself with a post-workout reward. A pumpkin spice coffee or a manicure always motivates me to get moving!