Sometimes I think having a cavity filled might be more appealing than dragging myself out of bed at six-thirty in the morning to work out. Working full-time and taking care of two extremely energetic young boys can really zap your energy. Who wants to work out when you feel pulled in a million different directions on a daily basis? Well, I do happen to have a few motivating ideas for those tired moms and dads who want to feel the burn, but are having a little trouble getting the candle lit.
1. Set a goal, and tell everybody about it.
When I committed to running a 5k with a friend of mine, my husband laughed out loud when I told him what I was doing. I am probably the most unathletic person he has ever met in his life. However, I promised my friend I would do it and then I told all of my other friends I was doing it. I knew how it would look if I wasn’t able to do what I set out to do. Peer pressure can still get you, even at 31. It’s amazing what a motivator this can be. The same goes for signing up for an exercise class or committing to be someone’s workout partner. You don’t really care about letting yourself down, but you definitely don’t want to let your friends down.
2. Go shopping.
I bought a brand new pair of running shoes and new workout clothes. I was so excited to have my first new pair of running shoes in years that I wanted to break them in immediately. Having something new can be all that you need to get moving. If clothes aren’t going to motivate you (this would be men I am referring to), buy a new running watch to clock your time, or perhaps, a new pedometer. I know how you guys are with your gadgets. I am sure there are a million exercise apps for your iPads and smartphones, too.
3. Figure out a reward system.
I like to have a big bowl of fruit and a tall glass of ice water waiting for me in the fridge when I am done with a run. The entire time I am running, I am thinking about that fruit and water. It is my reward for getting up earlier than those saner human beings who are in their beds sleeping peacefully. While this is a short-term goal, you can also set long-term goals for yourself. A friend of mine rewarded herself with a massage after completing a 5k race. Another friend paid herself a dollar for every day she got up and worked out. At the end of the year she bought herself a new Coach bag.
4. Think about the future.
You’re not always going to be able to keep up with your children. The older they get, the more trouble you will have hanging in there. My two boys never stop moving and shaking. My youngest son likes to ride his bike next to me while I run, encouraging me to run faster the entire time. Talk about a workout! And he’s only four! First, you want to be fit enough to play baseball with your children, or go on a decent bike-ride, or just go for a walk in the neighborhood with your teenagers. Then, you want to be healthy enough to be around for them when they are even older and have their own children – your grandchildren.
5. Think of it as alone-time.
Just think about it, you have thirty minutes to an hour of uninterrupted mommy or daddy time. You can jam out to your iPod, plan your day, or just think about nothing, if you want. You are not being pulled in a million directions by your little ones or having to field a million questions. It’s a true moment of serenity! I might not always want to do it, but as soon as I get outside on a crisp and cool morning, and it’s just me and only me, I am instantly glad that I decided to get out of bed.
6. Try something different.
Go hiking one day, and take a zumba class the next. Adding variety to your workout can eliminate the tediousness and make it much more enjoyable. I have girlfriends that go to workout classes together and they really look forward to that part of the day. It’s girl time and you are burning calories. I have other male and female friends who have joined soccer or kickball clubs and have made tons of new social contacts while also working on their fitness.
And finally, borrowing from a famous shoe ad here: Just do it! Eventually, I told myself it was not a question of whether I was going to work out or not. I was not going to ponder it the night before or in the early morning hours before I got up. I was just going to do it. I have, and I feel worlds better. I hope you can just do it, too.