Read for 15 minutes in the morning when you’d otherwise check email.
That was the nugget I took away from an interesting post I read yesterday about how to fit reading into a busy schedule.
Coincidentally, I had already done that yesterday. And I did it again today. (Seth Godin’s Linchpin; I highly recommend it.)
It works. 15 minutes spent doing something worthwhile instead of doing something worthless goes a long way to making you feel great all day.
Tricks to Help You Find Time
I like productivity blogs, especially when they’re about creating meaning, not just efficiency. Sometimes I wish NMA was one of these blogs.
But an interesting thing happened when I tried to pretend today. As I attempted to write a list of easy ways to find time for running (or whatever “training” is for you), I realized that this approach missed something big.
I could suggest a lot of little tricks, many of them applicable to finding time for anything, not just running. Eat cleaner so you have more energy and need less sleep. Stop watching America’s Got Talent. (I’d have used Lost, Gary Vaynerchuk‘s favorite example, if it weren’t over.) Stop checking email, Facebook, and Twitter so much.
There’s a lot of time in most people’s day that isn’t particularly relaxing or productive, and that’s time you could use for running, which at its best is both.
Running-specifically, you could get a headlamp and run at night, if that’s the only chance you have. Or multitask with your running time: You can meditate, brainstorm, socialize, or listen to a book on tape while you run (this is one I actually do).
All of these can help. But every single one of them misses the big point.
You have to make training a “must.” Only then will you do it consistently.
There are shoulds and there are musts. Shoulds might get done, musts will get done.
So how do you make running a must? How do you make sure you do it when there are a million other things screaming for your attention?
Running has to become a part of you. You have to become a runner. Running needs to be the 10% automatic deduction from your paycheck that goes into a 401k. It has to be non-negotiable.
I’ve heard that people who exercise continually for six months become addicted to it and the chances of ever stopping tend to zero. It becomes a habit.
A part of you. A must.
How to Make Running a Must
Willpower isn’t usually enough. It works for a while, then it dies out.
If that’s the case, what do you?
You make running a must by taking an action that commits you. For me, it’s as simple as signing up for a race. When I’ve paid actual money for something, it becomes painful and embarrassing not to train for it.
Another way to commit is to tell everyone you know that you’re going to complete that 10K, that marathon, or that Ironman. What if you printed up business cards promising you’d do something and handed them out to the people you love and respect the most?
It’s scary to do this. If you slack off, you look really, really dumb.
If you’ve read this far, you realize that’s exactly the point.
That’s how you make running a must. Once that’s done, finding time is the easy part.
How do you make running a must?
This post is part of a series on motivation for running. Check out the rest!