Motivation, and Five Ways To Get It

 

There are so many times I hear people say, “I’m too busy to run!” “I’m too tired to work out!” “Seriously, my day/work/job has been exhausting.” Hell, sometimes I hear it from myself, and sometimes it’s true.

But usually, it isn’t.

There are tons of people out there who work exhausting, grueling days – 10 hours, 12 hours, tiring exhausting work – and still stop at the gym on the way home, or go for a run at night.

“But my gym isn’t open late!” “I can’t run here at night, it’s unsafe.” “But I’m so tired.”

These are excuses.

There are plenty of workouts you can do in the safety and privacy of your own home (You Are Your Own Gym); some of them only take 12 minutes (BodyRock). Many gyms are open late; many neighborhoods are safe.

It’s really up to you.

Trust me, I understand. I have a very broken body, and I work 12-hour days when I’m not going to grad school: I understand busy schedules and limited energy.

Here are some of the ways I can get myself going when I need to.

  1. Just go. Don’t give yourself the choice. Tell yourself you have to do it. Yes, this makes a workout feel like a chore rather than a prize – but it can get you out the door.
  2. Compromise with yourself. Sometimes when I’m exhausted and supposed to run 6 miles, I’ll make a mental compromise: If I go out and I still feel horrible, I’ll just do an easy 3. If I feel okay, I’ll do all 6. More times than not, I feel great once I’m actually out there, and I’ll do the whole run. But I’m also careful to listen to my body — if it does feel horrible, I cut it short, enjoy the fact that I did something, and make sure to rest.
  3. Treasure your rest days. This goes with the above — make sure you take a note of your rest days. Pay attention. Notice how you feel after them. Don’t fill them up with workout-y stuff and pretend they still count as a rest day just because you’re not doing a run. The more you can specifically let your body rest, the more likely you are to have those needed reserves of energy on days you want.
  4. Don’t be a loner. If you’re having trouble motivating yourself, don’t do it by yourself! Join some kind of social fitness network (MyFitnessPal, Fitocracy, forums at NROL4W, etc etc...), or use your Facebook / Twitter / etc to keep yourself honest and motivated. Do a challenge with a friend, or let your coworkers shame you into that late night pushup routine — whatever works for you.
  5. Understand yourself. If you really are tired, and you do skip a night, appreciate that – and come back harder the next day. If you get down on yourself for skipping one night, that feeling will just suck away all of your energy, and you’ll end up missing a week… or more. Allow yourself to really enjoy the night off, and then use that rest to hit it extra hard the next day.

 

 

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