When I used to run long distances, I would often have a conversation in my head before a long run. I never really got used to long runs over about 4 or 5 miles. They made me feel overwhelmed.
A conversation was always going on between my brain and my body. My body would argue for more sleep, cozy couch cushions, waffles and the like, while my brain would respond with, “Just go,” “Don’t think too much,” “Go now and you’ll be done sooner.”
My brain didn’t win very often. I think I signed up for five marathons over the years and I only ran two.
Two Helpful Books
I got overwhelmed by my goals because they were lofty ones. I have different exercise goals now and they can be really overwhelming sometimes, too. However, something I’ve learned recently has helped me a lot. So I wanted to share what I learned with you in case you also have health and fitness goals that you feel overwhelmed by.
How to Get Going
I tend to be a procrastinator, but now I’m getting more and more things started. With what I’ve learned, I have some ideas on how the ideas could help us when we are feeling overwhelmed by our workout.
1. Tell yourself that you just have to put your gym clothes on. Or, if you want to run, your running clothes. That’s it. All you have to do is put on your clothes. No pressure! If you still aren’t feeling like a workout, try again tomorrow. Sometimes, just getting started is the spark you need to get going.
2. Set a timer to start. When the timer alarms, it’s time to get moving! This is a good one when you are having trouble pulling yourself away from a sedentary task like scrolling Facebook or playing games on your phone.
3. Tell yourself, you’ll just do the workout for 5 minutes and then you can quit. I do this all the time. Especially if I feel like I don’t have any energy. I set a timer for 5 minutes and then reevaluate. If I still am not feeling it, I can go ahead and stop. The point is that I started. (Spoiler alert: I’ve never stopped.)
4. Break it down. Sometimes parts of a workout can really get to me. When I look at the list of exercises and I see 50 burpees, I want to just quit before I start. Luckily, I have a little trick. When I have to do 50 burpees in a workout, I tell myself: I know I can do 2. Yes, I make my goal so small it looks ridiculous. But, I know I can reach it. What I usually end up doing is more than 2. Then, I rest when I need to and when I’m ready, I say I think I can do 2. And so on.
5. Reward yourself for doing your workout. I will sometimes withhold things until after my workout is done…like watching a TV show or playing a game on my phone (I love Disney’s Emoji Blitz game for reasons that connot be explained). I would recommend doing this with something other than food, but I’ll share that I will often purposely do my workouts right before a meal, so that I can reward myself with a protein shake. I love protein shakes—particularly the peanut butter flavor of Orgain—and they are a reward for me. You can make your reward something like watching funny YouTube videos for 10 minutes or rocking out to some tunes or dancing or playing a video game—something that you enjoy doing, but may normally feel guilty about taking the time to do.
Do you have little trick that you use to get yourself to work out? Do share!