Do you struggle to stay motivated? So do I — and I think many people do. It is easy to imagine other people getting up at 5:00am every morning and going for a seven-mile run, but even they have to find motivation. Where does it come from? Can motivation be more easily cultivated and if so, how?
Telling yourself that you are just going to do something small is a great way to start. I’ll run eight one-minute intervals, nothing too intense. You do not have to push it too hard at first, just get started. I often find within a few days I’m doing 10 intervals for a minute-and-thirty seconds and before long looking forward to increasing the intensity.
Set yourself up for success by creating a routine. Set out your running clothes and shoes the night before, and go to bed an hour earlier than normal. When you wake up do not stay in bed for an hour or two. Instead, get up, and go eat some blueberries or strawberries with a few tablespoons of zero-fat plain Greek yogurt for breakfast. I often eat a small square or two of 88% dark chocolate for a little boost before a workout; green tea with a little honey works well too. Begin with proper stretching and then walk for several minutes as a warm-up before running or exercising.
Find your “best” time to do it. Some people are morning people. Other people are night owls. If I’m going to be successful, I find it is best to take-on my challenges first thing in the morning. Whether that is go for a run, going to the gym, or doing something challenging for work. I find that my best time, otherwise known as peak time, is the first thing in the morning.
How do you know what time is your best time? If it’s not obvious to you, you can experiment. Try first thing in the morning; try lunch time. Try after school or after work. Even after dinner is a good time because exercising at that time of day for example will aid in digesting your dinner.
I know that getting started can be hard, but if you start with something small, create a routine and determine the best time of day for you to do it, you will have success.