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.
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 do — read novels.
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, 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.
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 favourite 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 endeavour 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?
It's a Win-Win
First, it helped me enjoy my workout time far more than I thought was possible, but it also helped me prioritise and recognise 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.
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.
Shelly Birger Phillips is passionate about being the best human she can possibly be and supporting others to do the same. She has helped hundreds of clients overcome personal challenges and develop the skills to live happier, more authentic lives. You can find her conscious parenting blog here, and Her Authentic World team here. Follow her on Twitter here, or email her at shelly at awakeparent.com.