If you read my book review of Spark last week, you know that exercise is perhaps the most important thing you can do to keep your brain healthy (and it’s good for your body too!). More than ever, I want to make sure that I stick with my morning workout routine.
However, some mornings (especially Monday mornings), I don’t want to get out of bed. It’s warm beneath the covers, and I just want to lie there and let my body melt into the mattress—removing any tensions I may feel about the day ahead.
But I know that if I stay in bed too long, I won’t have time for my scheduled run. So I lie in the dark and try to visualize how amazing I’ll feel after my workout. (Kind of how I visualize how crappy I’ll feel after eating a huge piece of bread pudding at the coffee shop. It works—sometimes.)
This past Monday was especially hard. I’d been feeling a bit under the weather the previous weekend, and I wasn’t sure how my body would respond to running. So I told myself: “just start walking.” If I eventually felt like running, I would run. If not, that was OK too.
I dragged myself out of bed, drank some water, and stumbled down the steps to the basement (it’s cold outside!).
And I started walking.
I walked for at least 10 minutes, gradually increasing the pace. And then something magical happened. I actually wanted to jog. Slow jogging led to faster jogging, and before I knew it, I had completed my originally-scheduled interval workout.
And I felt just as amazing as I had visualized in bed an hour earlier!
The “just start walking” approach can be applied to anything in your life that feels daunting or plain “jobbigt” (that’s a Swedish term that translates roughly to some combination of annoying/strenuous).
- Need to give a presentation? Start with an outline.
- Can’t get motivated to write a blog post? Open the editor and enter the title.
- Want to start a meditation practice? Sit down and focus on your breath for a minute.
- Need to apply for some jobs? Make a list of your work experience and skills.
The list goes on, and on, and on.
I believe the hardest thing about any project or task is getting started. We think we need so much time to start working on a new task. So instead, we check Twitter or read other people’s work. (Or de-clutter our office.)
Use the “just start walking” principle to beat procrastination once and for all. You can overcome even the most insurmountable task by just starting. Once you start, you might find that you can’t stop! (That’s a good thing. It’s called “flow.”)
How do you motivate yourself to get started? Let me know in the comments below.