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How to Trick Yourself into Loving Your Workout

How to Trick Yourself into Loving Your Workout

I used to hate my workouts.

Sure, I did them, but I was frustrated, grumbling, and upset the entire time. I dreaded going to the gym, and did almost anything I could think of to get out of it. At the slightest hint of a cold, I was so relieved to have a good excuse not to work out that I milked it for all I could.

Then something changed, and I actually started to enjoy my workouts. Sure, I’d like to say it had something to do with the endorphins and maybe it did, but here’s the thing that has completely changed my attitude about working out: I’ve combined working out with something I really love to doread novels.

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At first, reading while working out was just a half-baked attempt to be able to stay on the elliptical for half an hour without going completely insane, but then something shifted. I decided that since my life is so incredibly busy and I love to read novels (which don’t really have much intellectual or business value), I would only allow myself to read novels while working out.

I can’t overstate what a difference this simple rule has made for me.

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Now I LOVE to work out.

I can’t wait to get to the gym. I seriously try to figure out ways to get there, even on days that are not my usual workout days, and it has nothing to do with endorphins. It has everything to do with the fact that I can’t wait to find out what happens next in the awesome novel I’m reading.

OK, so maybe you’re not as freakishly bookish as I am, but is there something you absolutely love that you can somehow tie to your workout? Your favorite podcast perhaps? A bite of chocolate as you finish up? Playboy magazine? I don’t care what it is, but when you connect something you dislike with something you absolutely love, you’re bound to start enjoying your work out more, and when you limit the time you’re “allowed” to spend on that beloved endeavor to ONLY during workouts, you’ve got the added motivation you’ll need to turn “meh” into “yeah!” Want a few more minutes to wrap up that awesome podcast? Then I guess you’ll be staying on the bike a bit longer today, won’t you?

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This strategy has really been a win-win for me.

First, it helped me enjoy my workout time far more than I thought was possible, but it also helped me prioritize and recognize that reading novels in my free time was actually cutting into my overall productivity. Now, instead of being hijacked by a really great read, losing sleep, and ignoring my other responsibilities, I simply put the really great book down and know that I’ll get to discover the next chapter during my next workout. Since I enjoy working out so much more, my trips to the gym are happening more frequently and more regularly, so I know I won’t have to wait too long between chapters.

The added benefit of increasing my motivation to get to the gym should be obvious, but in case you’re lost, I’m now in far better shape, I have more energy, and I’m generally happier than I was before I worked out regularly.

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So, what will it be for you?

Find something you enjoy so much that it sometimes distracts you from your priorities in life, and then couple it with your exercise routine for at least three weeks. After that, I hope you’ll report back and let me know if it works for you too! I sure hope you can get the same amazing results I have. OK, I’m off to the gym! I just HAVE to find out how this book ends.

Have a great day!

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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