One of the things that people tell me when I inform them that I often wake up at 4 am to go running is, “You’re crazy.”
To which I usually reply, “Yes, I know.” (I am fully aware that it is crazy. I won’t even mention the time I woke up at 3:30 am to get a run in. Don’t judge.)
But I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had people also tell me, “I would love do to that, but I’m just not motivated.”
Now usually at that point in the conversation, I smile and say something noncommittal, or I change the subject to something a little less self-righteous sounding. Primarily because the truth of the matter would irritate most people, I think. Because the truth is: Motivation has nothing to do with it.
Do you know how often I’m actually motivated to go for a run, much less get up at 4 am to run? I would venture to guess about 1 out of every 10 runs, and those are usually the perfect days: no wind, air crisp, sun shining, and I actually have energy. Now if you do a little math, that roughly translates to 10% of my runs where I’m motivated to run. If you’re a teacher or remember from your school days, 10% is a failing grade. Not just a small, “whoopsies” failing grade, but a really, really bad one. That means 90% of the time, I’m unmotivated.
Because the key to finding success in making running, or any workout for that matter, something that you stick to, you have to find ways to teach yourself to become disciplined. So here are 4 tricks that I use to help me get my butt moving out the door for a run, that you can use whether you want to run or just for your workouts in general.
Get Cute Clothes
I did not event this trick, but I would say I’ve become a master at it. One of the best tricks you can give yourself, especially at the beginning of a new workout regiment is to get some fake motivation. “FAUX-tivation” if you will. There is nothing like investing some money into really cute workout clothes to get you pumped to get started. Now, to forewarn you, this will only get you started, it will not carry you through a training cycle or a program. But you can dangle new clothes in front of you like a carrot when you hit certain goals: worked out 4 days a week for an entire month? Let’s get new leggings!
Some of my favorite places for workout clothes are Athleta, Lululemon, Saucony, and Senita. The first three are a little pricier but if you’re on a budget, check out Senita. There is also Thredup which sells some of the more expensive brands at a discount. You can get a $10 gift card to Thredup here and start shopping for some cute workout gear!
If you’re able, find some sucker to work out with you. Did I say sucker? I’m sorry, I meant really good friend who will help keep you on track.
In all seriousness, there is incredible power in numbers. Even if you only meet with one other person for your run or workout, it’s enough to give you guilt if you decide to bail. Better yet, grab a couple of friends and take an exercise class as Girls’ Night! Whatever you need to do, however many people you need to help keep you on track, do it. Be deliberate and get the accountability you need to help keep you disciplined.
Can’t think of anyone? If you’re a friend in my area, email me! I’d be happy to be your accountability!
Employ the 10-Minute Rule
I love this rule. I’ve used this rule MANY times. There are so many times when I don’t want to do anything physical, whether running or a different activity. Sometimes I’m tired, sometimes I’m sore, sometimes I’m just crabby and I don’t want to. So I tell myself: “Just 10 minutes.”
Just do 10 minutes of something: a run, a walk, a yoga practice, anything. Just 10 minutes. And if, after 10 minutes, you still feel like trash and are hating life, then stop. No big deal. Sometimes I’ve done that. I’ve hopped on the treadmill promising myself 10 minutes (or 1 mile) and after I hit the mark, I quit, because I wasn’t feeling it on that day. But at least I did something.
Often, though, you will find after just 10 minutes, you feel better and are willing to keep going for longer. Maybe those 10 minutes produce just enough endorphins to kick you out of whatever funk you were in.
Get a “Why”
You need a reason that is big enough to counter all of your excuses. Something that you want MORE than you want to sit on the couch. For each of us it’s personal, something that only you can decide for yourself. I run because it makes me feel strong, and because I believe it is one way I can glorify God with my body. I run because I want to Qualify for Boston to show myself that things I thought were impossible are attainable. I run because I want to show my children that activity makes me happy, and that they can do big things.
What’s your “why”? Is it to get healthy enough to play with your kids? To show yourself that you are worth taking care of? To learn to love your God-given body again? Or maybe to do something that scares you, that you never thought was possible?
One thing that a “why” can’t be is weight loss. I’m sorry, it can’t. Because once the weight comes off, that “why” is gone. No longer do you need to workout because you lost your 20 pounds, and you don’t need to anymore. Part of the reason people struggle with maintaining weight is because they don’t make their why about something other than weight loss.
I also recommend doing something you actually enjoy, but it’s not a requirement. It just helps a lot to not hate the activity you’re trying to commit to. Why add another layer of frustration when you’re already struggling?
While these tricks seem simple and maybe a little too easy, what they do is present opportunities for you to grow and develop that self-discipline muscle.Just like any muscle, the more you strengthen it, the stronger it gets. The stronger the muscle gets, the easier it is to use it.
Try some of the tricks and let me know how it works for you! Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org! I would love to hear from you!