As much as I know that I’ll feel better once it’s done, it’s often difficult to find the motivation to go for a run or head to the gym. It’s tempting to just relax and skip that workout after a long day of work or a less than stellar night’s sleep. In these moments, I remind myself that I will feel so much better (in body and mind) if I can just push through it.
I use several tricks to up the odds of success:
1. Have a set goal per week of the number of times you’d like to work out.
For me this is usually 5 (3 runs and 2 resistance), although I don’t get too rigid with what gets done on any specific day. Having a weekly goal serves as motivation and leads to a sense of accomplishment if achieved. If you need visual rewards, but a calendar on the fridge and give yourself gold stars. It worked in Kindergarden, and it’s surprisingly effective now too.
2. Wear cute, functional clothes.
I swear, looking like an athlete is half the battle. It boosts the confidence and makes you want to act the part. Figure out what clothes work for you. Comfort is key. For me, I hate running in shorts, so tights or knee pants it is. A pocket on the back of my shirt is helpful for keys or iPod. A watch is essential. I need to know exactly how long I’ve been running. Figure out the things that matter to you and then invest in appropriate gear.
3. Try it for just 10 or 15 minutes.
Sometimes I tell myself that I just have to run for 15 mins, instead of the usual 30 plus. It is always the case that once I’m out there, I feel better and end up going the full time. Even if that doesn’t happen, 15 minutes of exercise is definitely better than none!
4. Find a buddy.
Including someone else in your plans increases your responsibility to follow through. You can’t just bail on a friend. If you don’t actually enjoy working out with another person, just coordinate schedules. My husband and I frequently workout at the same time, but he might go to the gym while I run through our neighborhood. When I see him changing to go workout, I don’t want to be the lazy one who wimps out. My butt gets kicked in gear to get out there also!
These are some things that work for me. What works for you?