No matter how much you love (and yes, you may have to learn to love it) your daily run/yoga/cycle… (fill in the blank with favorite physical activity), there will be a day where you just don’t feel like it. So how do you dig deep down and find motivation on those days? While everyone will ultimately find what works best for them with trial and error, these are the top tips I have found that work for me over the years:
- I remind myself that I have never regretted a workout I did do. But, I have almost always regretted a workout I skipped.**
- This may be tricky logistically depending on the activity, but I think it can work as a mind trick regardless: promise yourself that you only have to do 10 minutes. Almost without a doubt, the hardest part is getting out the door and getting moving. I used to think it was hardest in the dark and cold, and, while those conditions certainly are a mental game, I also don’t want to go sometimes when the weather is glorious because there are other things I want to do – so, really, it’s all just excuses. 😉 SO, I tell myself to lace up my running shoes and just do 10 minutes. If I still feel tired and don’t want to do it and am not having fun, fine, I’ll call it. I have never stopped after 10 minutes, and I have been using this trick for years. In fact, often my best workouts are the ones where I tell myself: “just try 10 minutes”.
- This one may seem obvious, but when you’re in that “ugh, I don’t want to do anything” mindset, it’s easily forgotten…remind yourself of any goals you have – whether it’s a new PR (personal record) in time/height/weight/distance, training for that upcoming race, or finally learning how to do a hockey stop (read: any new, sport-specific related skill you want to learn). Remember why you signed up/set that goal. Then go do it. This is an easy way to get that extra push when you aren’t feeling particularly energetic and motivated.
- If all else fails… watch a short documentary or clip of one of your favorite athletes. This one is amazingly helpful. If I ever really don’t want to go for a run, I will watch a clip of a runner (or climber or cyclist or skier…) doing his/her thing and I am immediately ready to get after it. Don’t have 10 minutes? Read a recent post of your favorite athlete on Instagram. Leverage others for motivation, human connection can be a beautiful thing when used positively.
Other things I’ve found helpful, but I pretty much operate on these principles daily, include having a virtual (or real life) workout/training buddy who can help keep you accountable and motivate you on days when you aren’t overly excited to workout, and remembering that even professional athletes have days where they just don’t feel like training. Face it, it’s hard. Training and working out is hard. Life is hard. We are all juggling SO many thing on any given day, waking up in the dark or hustling after a long day of work (and before a long evening routine) in order to squeeze in a workout is often not what sounds appealing when you’re exhausted and stressed from life.
But you will feel so much better if you make your health a priority, and physical activity helps with every aspect of your health – mind, body, and soul.
People often say motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.
Run on, my friends.
** Please listen to your body. If you are feeling pain or exceptionally run down, you may need to skip the workout you had planned and get that extra hour of sleep or just enjoy a rest day. This advice is meant for those days when you are healthy, and just feeling…well, lazy. 🙂