Most of us, if we’re being honest, have a tendency to be lazy at times. We all have goals and dreams, of course. But when it comes to fitness, achieving those goals can be harder than we imagine. On a cold, rainy day, it’s always easier to stay home watching TV than to head out into the wet for a run.
We get lazy because it’s the easy option, even though we know we’ll feel happier if we’ve done that run or gym session. In this article, we share our top 15 tips for beating laziness, achieving your exercise goals and feeling fantastic.
1) Break down big goals into smaller ones
Laziness often creeps in when a big goal just seems too big. If you’ve decided to run a marathon in a year’s time, it might seem so huge and far away that it’s not really real. Set yourself interim goals, such as running 5k or 10k, that you can achieve quickly and relatively easily.
2) Focus on the benefits
When you’re tempted to avoid exercise, remind yourself of all the good things about it. You’ll feel healthier, fitter and add years to your life. That’s pretty powerful.
Visualisation is a technique used by professional sportspeople. Imagine yourself crossing the finish line or finally lifting that goal weight. Imagine how you’ll feel and what the world will look like. If you can see yourself doing it, it’s more likely to happen.
4) Change what you’re doing
If you’re struggling to motivate yourself, maybe your goal isn’t right for you. Mix things up. Have fun experimenting until you find something you’re really passionate about.
5) Listen to music
Music helps you focus, even when things are getting tough. Make a playlist of your favourite tracks and use it every time you head to the gym or go out for a run. But choose your headphones wisely: TREBLAB bluetooth headphones are perfect. They’re wireless (so no annoying wires to get tangled), and sweatproof (so they won’t slip out, however hard you work).
6) Remind yourself of the consequences
What happens if you don’t achieve your goals? Maybe you’ll put on weight or be in poorer health. If you don’t like your vision of a life without exercise, get out there and get on with it.
7) Rise early
Many habitual exercisers get great results by rising early in the morning and getting on with exercise then. Doing this means that you don’t have time to think about being lazy - you simply get out of bed and get out for your run or bike ride.
8) Allow yourself a break
Remember that it’s OK to not want to exercise all the time. It’s beneficial, in fact, as it’s simply not feasible or manageable for most of us to exercise every single day. It’s always a good idea to have a few lazy rest days. Breaks leave you refreshed and better able to focus.
9) Allow yourself to falter
It’s also OK to not achieve every goal, first time. If you achieve all your goals easily, that means you’re not setting tough enough goals (at the same time, if you struggle with every goal, you’re probably setting goals that are a little too challenging). Give yourself permission to fail occasionally and use failure as a learning experience.
10) Set deadlines
Having a clear timeline with set deadlines is important. If you’re entering races or other events, you already have a big deadline, but it’s vital to set interim deadlines to make sure your training stays on track. If you aren’t tied to an event, it’s even more important to do this. Map out a timeline for the next six months setting out what you want to achieve and when. This will make it easier to see what you need to do and harder to avoid training.
11) Find a friend
If you plan to exercise with a friend, you’ll find it difficult to let them down. You’ll also be able to encourage each other to work harder and achieve more.
12) Tell people what you plan to achieve
Along the same lines, tell your friends that you plan run 10k in three months time, or climb Mount Kilimanjaro, or whatever it is you want to do. Once your goal is out there in the world, rather than just in your head, you’ll be keen to make sure you keep working towards it.
13) Use the Pomodoro technique
This technique is used mostly by desk-workers, such as writers and software developers, to help them focus better. It can be really valuable for sportspeople too, though it won’t work for every sport. The premise is simple: most of us can focus for 25 minutes before we start to get distracted or bored. Set a 25 minute timer, go all out for that time, and then take a break.
14) Find motivation in your heroes
Who do you really admire? If there’s someone you’d love to emulate, look at what they’ve done. Read interviews with them and see what they say about how they’ve motivated themselves. Imagine yourself talking to them. What would they say if they knew you’d chosen to stay home on the couch rather than getting out for a run?
15) Ready, steady, GO!
It’s obvious, but the only way to really overcome laziness is just to get on with it. Ignore all the self-doubt and distraction and just force yourself to do it.