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Staying motivated to exercise

Posted Nov 27 2012 7:47am

One thousand, four hundred and seventy days in a row.  1470. 

I’ve not missed a single day of joggling for that long.  Certainly, I haven’t felt like running on all of those days but somehow I manage to motivate myself to do it.

Why?

I do not know for sure.  Mostly, I just like the idea of a streak.  I like the feeling of accomplishment that I derive from keeping the streak going.  I like that daily joggling is part of my identity.  And I like having this thing that is a constant in my life.

As I’ve said however, I’m not always gung-ho on getting outside and joggling.  Sometimes (like right now) I’m sick.  Or the weather is crappy, or I’m tired, or my legs are sore, or I’m busy, or I’m otherwise unmotivated.  On those days, tricks are required to get me outside.  Here are some of the most effective.

1.  Put on your running clothes.  Putting clothes on is easy enough and it is the first step to getting your workout in.  Once you go through the trouble of changing clothes, half the battle is done.

2.  Find something good to listen to.  I used to joggle without headphones but then I discovered audio books & podcasts.  Now, even if I’m not looking forward to the run I do look forward to listening to a good book.  The best part is that I can always find audio books from my local public library for free!

3.  Explore a new neighborhood.  Sometimes when I’m bored with my runs I’ll take a different path through an area of the city that I haven’t explored.  This brings a sense of discovery and rekindles my motivation to run.

4.  Make it more fun.  Joggling is naturally fun but occasionally I’ll try new tricks to bring even more fun to the workout.  If you run, try making it more fun by racing against yourself or running backwards or going barefoot.  Change it up to inspire action.

5.  Reward yourself when you’re done.  I like soda pop.  However, I realize that it is not the best choice so I try to avoid it.  But when I’ve finished a particularly tough run (or any run really) I stop in at the local Walgreens and reward myself with a diet Dr Pepper or diet Coke.  Sometimes I even get a candy bar.  These may not be the best motivators for you but you should find some type of reward to give yourself when you’ve completed your workout.

6.  Keep track of your progress.  I like to run with my iPhone and use an app that tracks my running path/progress.  But even before the iPhone I would run down every workout each time I did it.  Now, I can go back and look at the spreadsheet of my running life.  It’s really cool!  I use it to see where I’ve been and to motivate myself to run more in the future.

7.  Goals.  Set some.  They work.  For number of workouts, number of races, time of workout, mileage, etc.  And keep track of them to ensure that you’re making progress.

So, those are some of the things I use to keep myself motivated.  What are your tricks?  Leave a comment below.

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