How do you win the debate and get out the door to exercise? It is the the biggest challenge.
Here I’ve given you the exact script I say to myself to win the debate every day. I’ve listed tools and strategies to make sure you get out the door to exercise!
You might have an internal dialogue or debate with yourself that goes something like this:
me: “its a perfect time, nice and early in the day to go for a quick run before going to work”
– bad me: “I’ve got so many deadlines at work and I need to unpack the dishwasher and hang out the washing, I’ll do that first”
me: “if you don’t leave now you won’t do it”
– bad me: “I’ll do it soon, I will feel better if I do some housework and work first”
me: “you know that is bullshit, why are you lying to yourself. Get out the door now and you’ll have more energy, be more efficient, be healthier and get more happiness in your life!”
– bad me: “I’m tired, my foot hurts, its raining, I am busy, I will do it later”
… later both me’s: “I’m now frustrated and angry. Its too late now because other commitments have come up”
But once you get out the door all of the internal debate melts away. The challenge is to get out the door.
The body is happy to be used what it is designed for, to move. The mind is happy the same, full of positive endorphins, growth and clarity.
What if it wasn’t so hard to simply get out the door? What if you could save yourself from debate – a debate against yourself.
There are some ways to almost guarantee you get out that I’ll share with you today. I’ll tell you an exact internal dialogue you can use that will ensure you get out the door for a happier day.
You must take away the choice. Choice along with the freedom to decide about every single thing we do each day gives an overwhelming number of possibilities and millions of small decisions to contend with that we have to devote brainpower to. This is happening every moment of every day.
Should I pause now from looking at my screen to star out the window and reflect for a minute?,… – like I just did. Should I get up and get myself a coffee just in case energy levels start to plateau? … like I just didn’t. Too much thinking and too little thinking about the one thing I want to focus on. The one thing that is a challenge and if I do it well today will make me happy today.
This decision fatigue is overwhelming with a significant body of research in psychology showing its negative effects. For instance, judges in court have been shown to make less favourable decisions later in the day than early in the day.
When was the last time you regretted spending time exercising outdoors? For me, never! Although I’ve regretted going to the gym many times because of the negative psychological impact it often haves with others judging, the negativity, lack of fresh air and the uncomfortable showers and changing room.
How can you make it easier to get out the door?
How do you remove the decision, quietening the internal dialogue?
Simplify and Prioritise
Eliminate the non-important.
Obviously leaving important things, one of these will be your health and fitness. Or you could say, to live longer therefore to have fun, get lean and strong you should get out the door and go play outside!
Routine, Trigger and Schedule
Schedule exercise in the week as part of your routine. Exercise is a priority with all non-important tasks eliminated for more decision making energy, to reduce depletion of willpower.
Decide on the days you will get outside and exactly when in the day. Schedule it! The normal activity before the exercise is scheduled is the trigger for it, this could be waking up or getting home from work.
If you wake up and put on casual clothes before breakfast with the plan to exercising afterwards. Instead, lay out the exercise gear beside the bed the night before to put it on as soon as you wake up. Mentally you have already committed to getting out the door with the preparation both the night before and on waking. You will get out the door with these two simple triggers as part of your routine.
It could be you are the type of person that excels with a coach, but a good coach should tailor a plan to ensure as much adherence as possible. The normal incentive in this case is that you have paid a coach to keep you accountable for your exercise. … or my wife who I’m running with in the first photo.
An easy option that makes it fun and brings accountability is to schedule a regular time to meet a friend for mutual support. Personally I will never bail on plans to meet-up for exercise and it is often the only reason I step out the door. Again, I never regret it. I always love it. The social aspect makes the pleasure multiply.
One reason habits do not stick is that the change is such a big difference to what you are used to and too much to follow through consistently. The best way to change is to start small and steady.
If you say that you will start tomorrow to exercise each day for an hour. Instead start with just 10 minutes. This will make it easier to get out the door. You will inevitably go longer than 10 minutes. Getting out the door like this means you are more likely to develop a habit. Whenever I have said to myself it will only be 10-20 minutes, then and experienced the pleasure of being outside I have stayed out for longer and not regretted it, ever!
Want to do 100 press-ups a day. Start with 3 press ups every time you go to do a pee. Build this up over time, start small.
Reward and Risk
I like both. Dodgy maybe?
If you are always feeling guilty about eating the ‘wrong’ foods. After doing the exercise let yourself eat something you love. Maybe its the pasta meal, chocolate or favourite oats. You must replenish your energy anyway, do it with food you love and deserve. I don’t have a piece of chocolate at night or a glass of wine if I haven’t done exercise… so this can be a punishment as well as reward.
If you have an exercise goal use your natural risk aversion. This has been proven to be powerful at ensuring adherence. Make a bet with a friend or partner, put money on the line. You’ll see it works.
After a lot of practise my reward is my body being sore but alive. This is my favourite thing. Its even better feeling if I’ve eaten good real food after a solid outdoors exercise session. Listen to your body, enjoy the endorphins and live!
What I Say to Myself
This is pretty much the exact script I tell myself most days. Start to develop your own internal script and refine, practise and repeat so it works. Use your internal script as well as prioritising, get accountability from your schedule, rewards and starting small.
“ I have scheduled time to do some exercise outdoors…
Everything is ready that I need (even if my gear isn’t washed or I can’t find a sock)…
I am strong/tough/hard…
I am going to feel better if I get out the door. I will be unhappy if I do not go…
There is nothing I would rather be doing (even though it feels like there are millions of things)…
The weather does NOT matter…
I must live in the present moment for myself “
The more you do it the more it reinforces itself. Especially with outdoor exercise. The benefits of being outdoors combined with the exercise will boost endorphins and not only be a habit but an addiction to the good feeling that you are living your life.
A challenge I leave you with today… Get out the door for outdoors exercise for 10 days in the next two weeks and tell me about it. Use the techniques I’ve listed. Will you accept the challenge to get out your door?
Leave a comment, I read and will reply to everything.
If you want a guide to exercise routines outdoors that you can do in the same time on the same route you normally run, get them here.