How to Trick Yourself into Working Out

When I started running again last fall it was difficult for me to “make myself” go for a run. I had a ready list of excuses as to why I couldn’t go for a run. Some of them were completely bogus, but some of them were just truthful enough to convince me that skipping a workout was okay. So I devised a few ways to trick myself into working out.

I am embarrassed to admit that more than once I sat around for HOURS doing other tasks rather than go for a run. After several of bouts with this I knew I needed another way to get myself out the door. So I used three strategies to “trick myself into working out”.

Trick 1 – Play Dress-Up

The first way to trick yourself into working out is to “play dress-up”. When I was early in my career I would sometimes wake up early and just go ahead and go to work instead of sitting around the house. One of the partners at my accounting firm was always at his desk at 5:30am working through emails.

But, he was dressed in shorts, t-shirt, and running shoes. I popped into his office one day and asked him why and he told me, “I want to workout in the morning, but I hate doing it first thing. I need sometime to wake up. So, I put on my workout clothes and come to work and knock out a few things before I head to the gym.”

I’m typing this early in the morning in my home office. I’m wearing shorts, t-shirt, and running shoes. As soon as I’m done I will have tricked myself into working out because I’m already dressed. Michael Hyatt also suggests laying out your clothes the night before or even sleeping in your workout clothes.

Trick 2 – Make it a Meeting

The second way to trick yourself into working out is to schedule your workout on your calendar. Last fall when I got serious about working out I needed to make sure I wouldn’t have any excuses and my number one fall back is that I “don’t have time” because of work.

I tricked myself into working out by scheduling my workouts on my calendar. So when I looked at my calendar there was a meeting sitting right there for me to go for a run. It worked every single time to trick me into working out. I am like a robot when it comes to my calendar. I will do anything it tells me to do all day long.

Trick 3 – Ask What Would _______ Do?

The third way to trick yourself into working out is to pick someone you know that has the level of fitness you want and ask what they would do. My go to is my friend Brian. If I can’t play dress-up or my calendar is jammed, this trick works every time. I will ask myself: What would Brian do today?

Brian is the most dedicated person I know when it comes to his fitness. No matter what happens he will find a way to get his workout in. So, when all else fails I just do what he would do. That means sometimes I’m running in the dark, running in weird places, running in the rain, or running loops in a parking lot.

Question: What tricks do you use in your life to accomplish hard things?

Photo by Cam Adams on Unsplash

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