Ever meant to go running, but something else got in the way? Did you find yourself checking your Facebook or Instagram in favour of getting your running shoes on? Did you find yourself saying “maybe later”? Was it hard to just get up and go? If you’re like most people, you’ve probably encountered the counterproductive “thief of time” known as procrastination.
“My advice is to never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.” Charles Dickens
Why do people procrastinate?
Simple. Putting off something beneficial in the long term in place of immediate, short-term gratification is the easier option which is why people procrastinate.
Think of a time you put off your homework to watch TV, chose a Chinese takeaway instead of a healthy chicken salad or scrolled through Instagram for an hour instead of reading an educational book. All examples of putting something meaningful and helpful off, in place for short-term pleasure.
Running is an arduous and physically demanding activity, and it can be difficult to motivate ourselves to go out and run. There are steps you can take to combat running procrastination.
What can you do to overcome running procrastination?
1. Have a clear ‘why’
Having a reason for running is the most powerful motivator to overcome procrastination. Whatever you do in life, there is a clear reason behind it.
When you brush your teeth you are preventing plaque, when you go out with a romantic partner it’s to develop the relationship when you apply for a job it’s because you think it will benefit you.
If you start running without a clear and defined reason ‘why’, the chances of you sticking to the routine are minuscule. Have a clear reason.
Some people run to lose weight, some to have more energy, some for the challenge, some to raise money for charity, some to explore the outdoors and some run to become an efficient athlete.
Humans don’t like doing things without reasons. Ever been told by a boss to do something, without an explanation why? Ever been told to clean your room by a parent?
Without a reason, we feel like we are being bossed around. Have a reason, write it down, and use it as motivation to get up and go running. A reason will help you even when you don’t feel like it.
2. Make running a MUST, not a should.
When we have things to complete, we put them into categories in our head. There are things we regard as ‘musts’, and the things we regard as ‘shoulds’.
A must is something we value massively, like eating or speaking to a loved one or going to work. A must is a high priority, and it absolutely must get done.
A should is something we don’t value as much. We know we should do it, and that it will benefit us if we do, but the lower importance attached to it does not compel us to act. Unfortunately, running is often a ‘should’ in most people’s priorities and they do not attach high importance to it.
To overcome procrastination, you need to make running a ‘must’. Not a ‘should’.
Set yourself a target for how many times you want to a run each week, and how many miles you want to cover each week and make hitting this target an absolute must.
Even if it’s late and you ‘don’t feel like it’, if hitting the target, it a must you will find the energy and the will.
If you have a baby and it wakes you up in the middle of the night, you wouldn’t leave it crying because you ‘don’t feel like it’. That would be madness. The care of your child is a must!
Make running a must too. Don’t sleep until you hit the target. No excuses, no reasons, no petty justifications. It sounds brutal, but it’s an effective way to overcome running procrastination.
3. Publicly commit to running
When we want to do something, it’s much easier to follow through and do it when we publicly commit.
Publicly committing to something means telling the people in your circle – friends, family and colleagues – what you intend to do and when you intend to do it by.
Suddenly, you will create expectations from other people instead of just yourself. It’s one thing to have a goal, then not achieve it through procrastination when you are the only person who knows about it. It’s something completely different when you tell people what you intend to achieve.
Telling others about your running routine will give you added motivation. People do not like to be that person who said they will do something, but then fail to follow through and achieve it.
Set yourself a running goal like running 10K in one months’ time, then publicly commit by telling people in your close circle about the goal. You will want to live up to the expectations you have set in other people’s minds and achieve the goal. Publicly commit to overcoming running procrastination.
4. Run with the reward in mind
“To get what you want, you have to deserve what you want.” Tai Lopez
There’s no such thing as a free lunch. To reap the rewards in life, you must work for them. You wouldn’t walk up to your boss and say “give me money because I deserve it” without working for the money.
Think about how great the reward will be once you commit and start following through with a running routine. You might be happier, healthier, have a better figure, feel more confident, have more energy. Use these rewards as a powerful motivator to get you running.
Remember, you will get what you want by deserving it. Think about the rewards, put in the work and the rewards will come your way.
When you need the motivation to overcome running procrastination, run with the reward in mind.
5. Love running as a sport
When most people do something they love, they often follow it and are into it outside of doing it themselves.
Think of friends who love playing football. Chances are, they support and follow a team.
You may know people in a rock band. They will have a collection of bands who influence and inspire them.
You could know an aspiring actor or actress. You bet your bottom dollar they watch films relentlessly in their spare time.
Learning to love running as a sport inevitably helps cure running procrastination.
Watch running at major sporting events: the Olympic games, the Common Wealth Games, the British Athletics Championships, the European Championships. You can even watch and support runners at your local and regional club. Getting involved with running outside of your running routine, will motivate and inspire you to run more.
Fight procrastination continuously
Procrastination is an evil you must constantly fight. You won’t beat it once then never have to face it again; it will come back again and again if you don’t try to fight it.
Keep following the steps to overcoming running procrastination, and reap the rewards running will bring into your life.