Consider Clocky. It’s an alarm clock that speeds around the room when it goes off so you have to jump up and chase it to turn it off. It was invented by clever design students who recognized that it was too easy to hit the snooze button and sabotage their willpower to wake up early.
This example shows that sometimes you have to outsmart yourself. The rational part of you wants you to exercise, the emotional part finds ways to get out of it. (“This refrigerator could actually really use cleaning, so…” “I actually can’t find my running watch, so…” “If I go now, I’ll actually have to miss Biggest Loser, so…”) This is the equivalent of hitting the snooze button until you’ve slept another hour or more. This may not always be the case–some days you look forward to your workout, you do it, you love it, but I bet you’ve also heard some crazy excuses of your own. (Send me an absurd excuse not to exercise you’ve heard come out of your brain–I’ll publish it.)
Research on willpower shows that some people who seem to have a lot of it have actually just done a very good job of outsmarting their emotional side and eliminating decision points where they know they are likely to lose the willpower battle. I have students and clients who claim they are lazy and would never exercise if it weren’t for my class or the training plan I wrote them. Well, I salute these people! They have learned something about themselves and have set up a clever way to bypass their saboteur and stay motivated.
All of this sets up Motivation Tactic #2 – Make a time or money commitment with someone outside of yourself. Whether it’s paying in advance for series of regular classes, meeting regularly with a trainer, reporting back regularly to a remote coach, or making a date to workout with a friend. Set it up with someone and get it on the calendar. Make sure there’s something about it that will be enjoyable so you look forward to it and not be prone to cancel it.