How to Motivate Yourself to RUN!
You had decided last week or the week before or maybe a month before that you would run.
You would run at least three times or maybe more in the week. You took the best advice from the internet and your friends.
You prepared a playlist of the best songs that would motivate you while running.
You even watched all the movies and inspirational videos.
But let’s face it. When it came to performing the actual task of Running. You Failed.
You couldn’t grab your ass out at 5 a.m. in the morning.
What happened? Didn’t you plan your goals well or were you lacking in motivation?
When it comes to motivation, The BIGGEST CHALLENGE for you is to create an INNER drive within yourself that would motivate you to motivate yourself; Not once, not twice but always.
The ONLY way to motivate yourself from WITHIN is to look for the INNER Voice. The inner voice that would search for and destroy those voices that tell you not to run-‘It is too cold outside. you might catch a cold’ or ‘you can never complete the marathon. It’s too late now to begin practicing. Maybe next year.’
It is necessary to bring out the inner voice, fuel it and make it grow to such an extent that there will come a time where you get excited and start jumping by even the mere thought of running. And such a high level of motivation would happen for the rest of your life without depending on any song or trying to force someone to run with you or trying any such quick and easy ineffective motivations tricks.
If you are READY to peek within yourself and bring out the inner voice roaring out, then continue reading below.
WARNING: The advice given below might cause you to go through days of discomfort, pain and TRUTH that you might not want to be revealed. Please continue only if you are committed to bringing that Inner Motivational Voice of yours OUT and killing the rest of the voices that pull you back.
Allow me to HELP you HELP YOURSELF.
Meditate on your DEATH
Imagine that beginning now you have only 24 hours left. After 24 hours you will DIE. Whatever you have, your past, your memories, your home, your family, everything for you is going to come to an end. You would no longer be ALIVE after the 24 hours.
You have 24 hours in your hand now. How well would you LIVE it? Would you LIVE these 24 hours to your fullest? Would you run like you never have before? If, previously you had 1 km in mind to complete, now, would you try at least 5 kms?
DEATH is the most powerful motivator ever. It reminds you of what truly matters and is important in your life.
What reminding yourself of DEATH does is bring you into the present moment. It STOPS the internal chatter that goes around in your mind. This helps your inner voice come out- The inner voice that wants you to BE ALIVE every waking moment of your LIFE.
In 2005 Steve Jobs gave a Stanford Commencement speech where he said
“Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.
Almost everything--all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure--these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
How to remind yourself that you are going to DIE
“Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.” - Seneca
Earlier, when I had a fear of approaching girls in my college, I reminded myself that I was going to die today. With death in mind I realised that I had nothing to lose. This motivated me to approach a lot many girls.
You can motivate yourself to get up in the morning and run by reminding yourself that today might be your last day on earth.
Seneca in his book ‘Shortness of Life’ writes about how you can live your life completely and do the things that you want to do by just reminding yourself about your death. His philosophy is known as stoicism.
Here is the step by step procedure that Seneca recommends you can follow to remind yourself of death.
Step 1: When you wake up and before you go out to run in the morning, find a quiet place to sit.
Step 2: Now close your eyes and observes the chatter that goes out in your mind and how it tries to convince you not to run today. (No. This is not meditation)
Step 3: Now think about at least five ways that you might DIE today. You might be run by a car, an earthquake might come and the building in which you are staying might fall.
You can practice this approach at night before going to sleep or early in the morning before going for a Run. It takes only 10 minutes to do it.
Observe how your mood changes as you become aware about your short life.
WARNING: If you apply the above mentioned technique you will run like you never have in your life and you will realise that the once lonely and boring habit of running is getting to be more exciting. You might observe the trees more. Sometimes you will smile at the people passing by. At other times you will just thank god for being ALIVE.
Ask yourself WHY? Not once, not twice but at least 5 times!
There is a reason behind why you have taken the decision to start running. But that reason isn’t clear enough to empower or motivate you to start running in the morning.
If you ask yourself “Why do I want to RUN?”
You might come up with an answer “I want to reduce my weight.”
This reason isn’t empowering enough to make you get up in the morning and say, “BITCH! Today I’m going to RUN!”
So, it’s time to search for the TRUE reason behind why you want to run. This TRUE reason when revealed to you will be 10x times more powerful than the answer that you previously gave to the ‘why’.
You do this by using one of the philosophies that Toyota developed to become the biggest manufacturers of cars in the world.
Whenever the engineers in Toyota faced a problem they asked Why is there a problem? If the answer wasn’t satisfactory they asked the Why question again. They continued this until they would get the answer that is exactly the reason behind their problem. Until they got to this point of being clear, they did not attempt to solve the problem.
Asking the ‘why’ question doesn’t have to be only for problems. You can use it also for knowing exactly what it is that is motivating and can motivate you more.
Coming to the answer to the question that was previously asked “I want to reduce my weight”, you again ask ‘why?’
“Why do I want to lose weight?”
You might answer “Because losing weight will make me look more attractive”
To this you again ask ‘why?’
“Why do i want to look more attractive?”
“Because I want to attract more boys in my life.”
“I am looking for a soul mate. The one with whom I would like to fall in love with. The one with who I could share my happiness, sorrows, joy laughter for the REST OF MY LIFE. Unless I start attracting more boys in my life, the chances of me finding a soul mate will be grim”
You could go on and on about the details or you could again ask ‘why?’
When you get up early in the morning at 5 a.m. and are ready to press the alarm button quickly to go back to sleep, an inner voice will poke you and say “Get UP, Go and RUN. You have a BIG job to do. You have to find your soul mate!”
The more you believe in the answer to the Why that you came up with the more motivated you will be to Run.
You might be wondering how you would convince yourself to run because of your soul mate when you are also using the strategy of ‘you might DIE today.’
Wouldn’t this make you give up on searching for a soul mate?
“If I were to DIE today wouldn’t I not bother about searching for my soul mate?
No. In fact the habit of reminding yourself about death is so empowering that you will be motivated to run and also hunt for your soul mate within a day. I’m not joking.
You death reminds you that the process is more important than the end result.
Know Thy Willpower
“Willpower is what separates us from the animals. It's the capacity to restrain our impulses, resist temptation - do what's right and good for us in the long run, not what we want to do right now. It's central, in fact, to civilisation.” -Roy F. Baumeister
A few years ago, when I first started building a good habit, it was very difficult to do so .Decisions like choosing to eat apples instead of burger was turning out to be impossible. I never understood why it was so difficult to resist doing what was wrong and start doing what was right until I read ‘Will Power’ by Roy Baumeister.
It turns out that we humans have very limited will power. Our will power is maximum in the morning. If we do not use it in a wise way, it drains us out very easily.
When I woke up in the morning, the first thing I did was check my e-mail. This drained out my will power completely. I was left with none to help me create new habits.
If you want to build a STRONG habit of running, do it in the morning even if it is cold, raining, and stormy or a cyclone is coming. It becomes very difficult to do it later in the day as you do not have enough will power left with you.
Willpower is the psychological FUEL to the Fire called ‘Motivation’.
Also, do not perform any unproductive task like watching the news, or checking your whatsapp and Facebook before you go for a RUN.
Another thing that affects will power is lack of sleep. The willpower is like a battery that only charges when you sleep. If you do not give yourself at least 7 hours of sleep , you would find it very difficult to get up in the morning. And further not have any will power to move your butt out of the house.
So, give yourself minimum seven hours of sleep in a day.
Setting Up a Goal
Once you become clear about why you want to RUN, then and only then, creating a goal becomes useful and effective.
This is how you can create a goal to help yourself build a habit of running.
STEP 1: Write down how many days /week you want to run. Then write down how many kilometres or rounds of a park you want to do daily.
STEP 2: Now, Create a table in your personal diary (not on the computer) as given below.
No of km/day covered
Total km covered in the week
Example: Week 1
STEP 3: At the end of the week write down the number of days and kilometres or rounds you successfully completed.
When you review your performance at the end of the week you can also decide on whether you want to increase the distance for the next week or not. But for the first month do not focus on this much.
Focus on first building the habit, which will usually takes 30 days to become unconscious and automatic. After the successful completion of first 30 days your body will automatically push you towards getting up early in the morning and going for a run. Once after this happens it is better to focus on increasing the distance.
Later on, looking at the table and observing the number of days you successfully did a Run will also become a reason that would motivate you further.
- Remind yourself that today might be your last day on earth. And when you run, you are going to give it your best shot.
- Practice the habit of running in the morning as your will power is more then.
- Get into the habit of giving yourself adequate sleep, at least seven hours a day.
- Don’t forget to create a daily and a weekly goal and review it at the end of the week.
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