I struggle with motivation to workout. I love doing it once I start doing it, but getting started is a whole other issue! That goes doubly if the weather sucks. I’ve listed the most useful tools in my arsenal for getting out the door in these situations.
The first involves having some level of commitment before the workout is due to start. This could mean contacting a friend early to make sure you are on schedule for a workout. When I go for a run at lunchtime, I am much more likely to get out the door on time if I know I’m meeting someone out there (Thanks BFish!). Somedays that even means making the arrangements as soon as I get to work before I get swamped with the day’s activities.
When weather could be an issue, I always make sure I pack more than enough running gear so I can’t make excuses if the weather is worse than I think it will be. You can always leave gear behind that you don’t need, but not having something you do need is a deal-breaker. Occasionally I end up being overdressed for a run, just because being comfortable when I start is the only thing that gets me out the door. I can always shed layers mid-run if necessary.
If you can’t workout with someone else, accountability can be a good tool as well. Having a friend make sure you got your workout in, or encourage you, helps a lot. Sites like Dailymile.com can be great for having friends help with motivation, but anyone can keep you accountable, you just need to ask them!
A final tool that I use probably helps me most of all. I make an appointment with myself, either earlier in the day, or even the night before. I call this “making the call.” It is a point at which I tell myself, “it doesn’t matter what the circumstances are at this point in the day, I am going to workout!” The other day I made the call to ride my bike to work. I setup the coffee maker to brew an extra cup, which I don’t usually have time for if I’m taking the bus. I knew that whatever happened, I was committed to get on the bike to ride to work. When I woke up that morning the wind was howling outside, had I not made the call the night before I would have never chose to ride in those circumstances. It turned out I had a great ride, and even with leaving myself an out for the return trip, I still chose to ride home that night.
In the end what works to motivate you is personal. You need to find what works to get yourself out the door, whether it’s to the gym, or to a snowy cold ride. When do you make the call?