I know that a lot of our bloggers and our readers are into exercise for its own sake. They don’t have to ‘convince’ themselves to start and they look forward to their workouts.
For me, exercise can be a bit like this famous writing quote attributed to Dorothy Parker
It’s not completely accurate because I enjoy exercise once I have started – I just have trouble making myself start.
So, I do everything I can to reduce the challenges of getting started and make the whole process as easy as possible so there are fewer parts that I dread. (To be clear, I do challenge myself with my workouts, I’m not taking it easy in that sense, I just try to find ways to keep my brain from arguing with me about exercising.)
So, I have a few handy tricks that I use to reduce my mental static around exercise. These aren’t particularly innovative or new but they are handy so I thought I would share three of them in case they are useful for someone else, too.
When I have reps ahead of me, I prefer counting down to counting up. Whether I am counting bicep curls or jumping jacks or trips up the stairs, I start with the number I am aiming for and count downwards.
This might be an ADHD thing. Any challenging task, even an enjoyable one, is hard to start because it feels like it might go on forever. If I count upwards, it could continue for ages. If I count downward, it has to end at zero.
I mean, yeah, I could go into negative numbers but the risk of me doing that is minimal at best.
When I do yoga, I always tell myself that I can just do a single pose – corpse pose. I rarely ever stick with that but I have promised myself that I can always stop after 13* breaths in that pose.
Knowing that something so relatively easy still ‘counts’ is freeing and it makes my yoga more of a choice than an obligation.
This isn’t particularly quirky but it was a big deal for me when I figured it out.
I have a few workout playlists but I sometimes find that they don’t match my mood or the activity I want to do that day and that makes me feel kind of blah about getting started. So I have given myself ‘permission’ to listen to a podcast or an audiobook while I exercise instead.
Not only does that mean that I am less likely to get bored (the overarching fear of the ADHD brain) but knowing that I get another episode or chapter gives me additional motivation to exercise.
How about you?
Do you have these kinds of quirks or tricks to help you get moving?
Do you have a workout playlist or a podcast that you can recommend?
*I do all kinds of things in increments of 13 (13 reps, 13 breaths, 13 minutes of writing/tidying/reading) For starters, despite its reputation, 13 has always been a lucky number for me. Also, 10 minutes often feels too short to be ‘worth it’ but 15 minutes can seem like a long time so 13 is a solid compromise.