Similarly, you tell yourself the night before you are going to get up nice and early and go for a jog. You might even be excited about the idea at 10.30pm. But when your alarm goes at 6am, the idea doesn't seem so bright. You hit snooze a few times, and find that snooze is switched off.
Well, obviously I'm talking about myself here, and none of this applies to you, I'm just trying to make myself feel better by putting it in the second person. However, so you wonderfully motivated people know how to encourage the saps like myself, I recommend you read on anyway.
These are Buffy's Top Tips on Psyching Yourself Up.
Before I start, let me just say something that sounds silly, but has some underlying truth:
You don't burn more calories or build more muscle by making it mentally harder for yourself to exercise.
It has become sort of cool among some people to whinge about how hard it is to get up, and to sabotage your own efforts to exercise. True, we all hate the people who are like 'Oh, I just love getting up at 5am and doing two hours of yoga before going to work', but make a choice: do you want to be hated and slim/fit, or in good company and unhealthy?
Actually, getting up at 5am is probably always going to suck, but there are steps to make it easier. And there is absolutely no reason not to make it as easy as possible to exercise. The first step is to make sure you are set up to exercise, then there are steps that work for both mornings and evenings.
The Set Up:
1. The Unbreakable Routine: first of all, you need to set up a routine which is realistic, but forms the baseline, minimum of exercise you will do a week. More is great, but this is what has to be done to stay fit. This becomes an unbreakable commitment. You walk out on after work drinks for it, you turn down dinner invitations because of it, you do whatever is necessary to make these sessions.
2. The Anti-Terrorist Approach: you need to realise that part of you is a terrorist trying to undermine your own efforts. There is only one way to deal with this: a no negotiation policy. Shut down any little voice that tries to bargain with you about getting out of these sessions. Take extreme measures if necessary.
1. Change your alarm. Is your alarm an annoying buzzy sound that has you developing a tic every time you hear it? Immediate reaction is to turn it off? Why don't you try changing it to a song you really like. It goes off and you are allowed to lie in bed singing along until the song finishes (better if you don't share a bed with someone else, obviously). Music is one of the fastest ways to change your mood, so give yourself a free mood upgrade in the morning.
2. Keep a magazine beside your bed (no, not one of those mags, a fitness related mag!). So, your alarm goes off and you tell yourself you have to jump straight out of bed, but then that doesn't work because it is just way too much effort, so the only other option is to fall back asleep and forget it ever happened, right? Wrong! Can't get out of bed? Well, can you manage rolling over and grabbing a magazine to read? Or even just looking at the pretty pictures? Reading a sports magazine with images made to inspire is a great stepping stone to ease yourself into getting out of bed. After reading an article on the benefits of jogging in the morning, you will be much more likely to want to jump up.
photo courtesy of http://www.elitestockphotography.net
1. Don't waste your train ride: most people spend time traveling to and from work (if you are someone that exercises on the way, such as riding, you are awesome, but this is for everyone else). This is the time you should start psyching yourself up. Don't be thinking about dinner, don't stress about work, start building up excitement about your work out. Same as for the morning, pull out a magazine, listen to a podcast, or look up new variations on the exercises you plan to do on your phone. You can even watch youtube clips to motivate you.
2. Walk in the door and chuck on your workout music. If you have to spend a few minutes at home getting changed, maybe getting a snack etc., put on some music which will keep you moving, and build up a bounce in your step. Make a playlist of a few songs that always make you want to dance, and put this on as soon as you get in the door.
These are just a few tips which work well for me. I would love to hear if people have any others.
So, get out there and exercise!