Once upon a time I used to be a messy girl. If you know me now this is hard to believe. These days I love cleaning and can’t stand the bed not being made as soon as I get out in the morning or doing the dishes as soon as I am done with a meal. But back in the day my bedroom at home was a disaster and I used to think my mom purposely made it a mess when I wasn’t there. I hated cleaning anything and found it to be a huge chore.
And then I got my very own first apartment and things suddenly changed. I quickly learned that when you are done with the dishes it is much easier to do them right away instead of letting them sit. If you wait, it becomes mentally more tedious to get yourself to stand at the sink and take care of the issue and the longer you wait the harder the grime sets in.
The same goes with exercise and running in particular. The reason I bring this up is that the other day I was at the gym and after my nice little run I ended up in the locker room alone with a girl who was on her cell phone (which also is a huge pet peeve of mine….leave the phone for after the gym!). This girl was young and she was complaining to whoever was on the other side of the line that she didn’t want to work out, so she was calling them to kill some time. After the call ended she sat on a bench and played with her nails and stared at her phone. Then she got up and got in her locker and put on lip gloss and then waited some more.
I couldn’t have been in the locker room for more than 15 minutes total, but she was there the whole time. In my head I was thinking that had she just gone and done whatever she had to take care of for the day she would have been done with 15 minutes of her workout already.
As I have gotten older time has become more and more valuable to me. And wasting time means less time at the end of the day to sit down and relax or to spend with my husband. Sure it makes me rush from one thing to another at times but it keeps me from dawdling in between tasks.
The truth is that I don’t always want to work out either and this is what I do for a living. I coach runners and figure skaters and train athletes on a daily basis. I live for exercise in all sorts of forms. And some days it takes everything in me to go get a run in. Sure I’d rather take a nap or sit on the couch and watch The Chew (ever notice my life also revolves around food?!). But I also know that the longer I wait to do a workout, the harder it is to get started and the more precious time I have wasted. Fortunately I also have a husband who trains athletes and is a runner and we often use each other to keep ourselves motivated. On days when I don’t want to run he pushes me to get it over with. Sometimes I might say I will do it later and he reminds me that later in the day I am dragging and it will just be more of a pain to get that run in.
Like those dishes, running and exercise are much easier if you just get it over with when it is time to do it. So what do you do when you don’t feel motivated?
Use the 5 minute rule. Promise yourself that you just have to do 5 minutes and if it still stinks you can quit. Odds are that once you get started you will just want to finish what you previously had planned.
Just put the clothes on and make them fun. Have some workout clothes you love to wear. If you feel good in them, it is a lot more fun to get started. Once you make the effort to get dressed it is a lot easier to get out the door.
Find something you love. If you enjoy a certain workout you are much more likely to do it. Find a class you enjoy or an instructor that makes you look forward to going to the gym.
Mix it up. When I have to hit the treadmill I always do intervals. They make the workout go by much faster. Doing intervals or fartlek workouts keeps your routine from getting stuck in a rut. You can do this with just about any workout.
What do you like to do to keep yourself motivated?