I’m “refreshing” this post, which first appeared at justabackpackandarolli.
Psych Yourself Up to Workout
Sometimes the first step is the hardest.
The first step is the hardest.
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“Just do it”, they say, but it’s not always that easy.
For many, just the thought of getting outdoors to workout is crippling. You can think of a million things that need to be completed instead of doing the one thing that could make a difference in your own life, like taking a walk, or even going for a jog.
You tell yourself, “I’m not a marathon runner, why do I need to walk outdoors where everyone will see me and make fun of me?” “I need to rest, I have a sinus headache.” “I don’t feel like getting out today, I’ll walk twice as far tomorrow.” “It’s too hot, too cold, too far, too everything.”
As an educator I see this mentality all the time. When a student sees an assignment that is going to require a couple days of work, they simply shut down and refuse to work. At first it seems the student is being defiant; however, after some questioning and coaxing, it’s easier to understand that the student is overwhelmed with the thought that the task is too difficult. She doesn’t see a way to break the assignment into manageable steps, so rather than doing something that is beyond her ability, she simply accepts that she will receive a zero on the assignment. She feels bad for not completing the assignment, but not as bad as she thinks she will feel if her attempt results in failure.
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Just as I help my students break assignments into manageable tasks, I’m here to help you break down the process of getting outdoors to workout. “How do you eat an elephant?” One bite at a time. Start with small steps to get you moving toward the door and down the road.
Below are some suggestions for getting out the door and on to the road of fitness.
Get dressed. That’s it. Just putting on your workout clothes makes it harder to say no to exercise. Keep your shoes and other workout clothing in a convenient spot, where you will see them every time you pass by. Put them on first thing in the morning if you are a morning workout person. If you have a job that prevents you from working out in the morning, have them sitting out and ready for you after you get off work. Just put them on and lace up your jogging shoes.
Step outside. After you have on your workout clothes and shoes, step out the front door. Take a look around; enjoy the sounds of the birds, watch the squirrels race around, playing tag. Don’t talk to yourself about all the things that need to be done inside the house or around the yard. Concentrate on enjoying the sounds of nature.
Walk to the street:
After a few minutes of standing on the porch or stoop, walk out to the street. Again, don’t try to rationalize about all the other things you could be doing. Just walk to the curb.
Just go for it:
Since you’re at the curb, you might as well walk/jog down to the corner and back. At this point, your mind is probably saying, “We got this far, we might as well go all the way.” You may even be a little excited that you convinced yourself to make it to the mailbox, so a 30 minute workout will be a breeze.
You did it! You beat the monster that prevents you from doing the things that make you happy. Reward yourself for your accomplishment. My reward is usually a protein smoothie. When I have completed a workout and added nutrition to my reward, the feeling of confidence these actions brings stays with me throughout the day.
Other tips for staying motivated:
Take things one step at a time, and before you know it, you’ll have completed that three mile walk or jog. You’ll wonder what was holding you back in the first place. Use this technique on other areas that hold you back. If you have a stack of laundry waiting to be washed, just think about one load at a time, start the water, pour in the detergent, load the clothes, transfer clothes to dryer, start the next load, fold the dry clothes…etc. Break it down into its parts to make it seem more manageable.
To your health!