This post by Dimity originally ran nearly two years ago to the day, but the advice it offers will still help you get you up and moving when the covers (or inertia or a glass of wine) are calling your name.
Dang these dark winter mornings and dang the end of holiday vacation, where I slept in later than I have in years. (I got out of bed after 8 a.m. I honestly haven't done that in a decade, unless I was sick.) Dang it that, despite the upcoming Tinker Bell Half Marathon on Sunday, I feel unmotivated and blah. Dang it that every sugar cookie I consumed over the past month is clinging to my thighs and brain like barnacles.
Thing is, I am—and you are, I'm guessing—so much happier and content when I sweat. (Well, you are happier when you sweat, right?) Because of that fact, I haven't bailed on many workouts from the Train Like a Mother: Finish It plan. Still, I've spent a lot of time and energy mentally waffling: Time better spent, of course, not thinking and just going.
Because my sugar cookie brain barnacles just might be hanging out in your cranium, here is how to motivate to exercise when you'd rather not:
☆ Lay out my clothes and gear the night before. Basic tip, I realize, but when you're lying in bed and you think, I've got to gather all my gear and get dressed and then run? Too much. But if your clothes/shoes/gloves/hat/music/GPS watch/whatever else you need are lying in your bathroom, right by the tub, all you have to do is get up to pee and turn on the light. Then you can just go on autopilot.
☆ If you're not an early morning runner and go later in the day, somehow cut out a step to prevent waffling. When I lived in Brooklyn and walked to the subway, I stopped at the gym on the way to work, parked my clothes in a locker, then continued onto work. On the way home, I had to at least pick up my clothes—the gym staff threatened to cut the locks off lockers at the end of the day—so I just surrendered and sweated. I realize that's a pretty urban example, but it could be as simple as bringing your running clothes to work and changing into them before you leave so you can stop at a park on the way home to run or be ready to run after you drop your son at drum lessons.
☆ Whether it's a.m. or p.m., if you're stalling, take a moment and visualize yourself running with one mile to go. You're headed home, rosy cheeked and endorphin-rushed and proud and psyched you got out there. Then lace up and chase that feeling.
☆ If you're headed indoors to sweat, don't overthink it. Jump on a machine and pick a program: hit the hills or the intervals or cycle through New Zealand. I've been doing some incline training on my NordicTrack 1750, and while I don't love every second, I do love that it bosses me around and I just have to comply. Believe it or not, sometimes I just don't want to be in charge.
☆ Right after you run, write down three words that describe how you're feeling that exact moment. Still sweaty, maybe still breathing hard, grab a pen and go. Then tape those words somewhere they'll be a weapon when you're in your next a why-even-go-waaah-I-don't-want-to mood: Maybe it's the bathroom mirror, maybe it's your computer screen, maybe it's the fridge. Then lace up and chase those feelings.
☆ Don't go, and then see how you feel. Chances are, you'll be raring to go tomorrow. (I know, I know: that's a repeat tip from Run Like a Mother, but I love it: It's little bit snarky and a lot the truth.)
Enough from me: How do you motivate to exercise when you'd rather not?