Let’s face it; for a large percentage of people, running is about as fun as a root canal. Except for a select few people, nobody looks forward to waking up at 4 am, putting on smelly gym shoes, and going out to run. Sometimes you can force yourself to do it for a while, but then you decide that sleeping in is a much more pleasant option. Why should you have to do it anyways?
The answer is simple; because it’s good for you. Obviously running is great exercise and is an excellent way to keep in shape, but it’s also good for your mind and soul as well as your body. Running is not something you should dread; instead it should be a gift that you give to yourself.
The first step in motivating yourself to do anything is to just start! Stop saying, “I’ll start tomorrow,” and just start today. You make your own rules; there is no time limit you have to meet (though do keep in mind that 2 minutes probably won’t accomplish much), no mandatory time of day, and no mandated place. Where, how, and how long you run are all completely up to you; make it an adventure.
You’ve got to tell yourself that this is something you deserve; something that you want. Plan ahead and decide when you are going to go so that you have a time set aside specifically for it. Make running your much needed “me time.” In short, the first step is to get up and run instead of just talking about it.
Make it Personal
What motivates you personally? What is it that is going to make you want to keep running? Maybe it’s that little black dress hidden in your closet, the cruise next summer, or the skinny new girl at work that you hate. Whatever is going to keep you going, find it and use that as your main motivator.
Bask in the Benefits
Just think about everything that running makes you feel. Think about how amazing you feel after a good run, even if you hadn’t wanted to go. Think about all the calories you are burning and how much healthier you are going to be.
Running, combined with a healthy diet offers relatively quick results. Take a look at yourself in the mirror, and check back every few weeks to see your progress. When you start noticing a difference, you will be even more motivated to keep going. Your mentality will become, “If I was able to this, imagine how much more I can do!”
Along with keeping you physically healthy, running is so good for your mind and even your soul. Running allows you time to think; if you choose to run outside the benefits are even greater. Breathing in the fresh air, taking in the sky, the flowers, the trees; it’s all very serene and calming.
Running helps to reduce your stress level as well. The adrenaline gets pumping and you are able to run off all of your frustrations. It’s a proven fact that people who exercise regularly are generally much happier.
Make it Fun
If running is the absolute most boring thing you can think of, then it’s time to make it fun. Treadmills these days have all kinds of attachments for iPods and other devices that allow you to rock out while you’re working out. Download some new music that’ll make you want to whip into shape, you could even consider downloading movies, audio books, podcasts, radios; whatever you enjoy.
Gyms often have a “cardio theater,” where you can watch movies on a giant screen while you are working out. Not only does this keep you entertained, you are also less likely to feel like everyone else is staring at you.
If you can, buddy up. Running with someone else not only makes the time go by faster, it helps motivate you to keep going. It’s a proven fact that if you know someone else is relying on you, you won’t want to disappoint them.
If you simply can’t find a way to really enjoy running, at least use one of these ways (or any other way that you can think of), to distract yourself. If you can focus on something besides the actual running, the time will go by more quickly, and you’ll be happier when you finish.
A Little Healthy Competition
If you are a competitive person, you may want to add a little competition to your running. You could challenge a friend to see who slims down the quickest, who can run the furthest distance, or anything else you can think of. If there is no other person to challenge you, then challenge yourself. Set goals and reach them; you’ll not only feel extremely proud, but you’ll see real proof of your progress.
You can also challenge yourself by hanging up pictures of the models, athletes, Hollywood stars, or anyone else who graces the cover of a magazine. Yes, they are airbrushed, but if you constantly have to look at them, you will want to work even harder to get a figure close to theirs.
When you meet your goals, go ahead and reward yourself; you’ve earned it! Don’t set milestones so big that they seem so out of reach that you want to quit before you’ve even started. Start with something simple like; “I will run at least 3 times a week this month.”
Have in mind what you are working towards rewarding yourself with. The more you want something, the more you are willing to work for it. The reward can be anything that makes you happy (except a reward that involves no more running), whether it’s a night out, a new outfit, or a new pair of running shoes.
Meeting your goals is a big accomplishment, no matter how small the goal may seem. Knowing that you are working towards something will help keep you motivated to keep running as well as help you to feel great about yourself as you meet and even exceed your goals.