People often comment on my self-discipline and motivation. I’m hoping they’re qualities that will serve me well as a newly self-employed person.

A few friends and colleagues made interesting predictions about my self-employed future (mostly very positive). One of them related to my decision to maintain my 40 minute walk to work. As I’ll be based from home a fair bit my walk to work will now be a circular run or power-march to and from my house.  One of my friends (also self-employed) laughed and said “haha, sounds good, but it’ll last a week”. Then she stopped herself and said “Actually, that’s me. We’re talking about you. You’ll probably do it for ever!”

I know I’m pretty good with self discipline. I can generally motivate myself to go running when I’m feeling rubbish, tackle that ‘hairy horrible’ challenge before the easier one, eat one square of chocolate and then not eat the whole bar. So her comment got me thinking. What do I do that helps with my self discipline? There are many many things, but as the comment related to running/power-walking (and I did the Bristol 10k last weekend) here are four simple tips to motivate yourself to go out and break a sweat.

These are obviously focussed on exercise – but you get the drift. Think about where you need to kick start your motivation and break your thinking/actions down into similar steps to those here.

  1. Lycra is your friend – stop thinking about the exercise and take the first, small step; put on your kit and see how you feel. I bet you’ll make it out the door.
  2. Future focus – don’t focus on how you’ll feel during the exercise. Focus all your thinking on how good you’ll feel afterwards. You know the saying; “no-one ever regretted going for a run”.
  3. Don’t obsess about your performance – It doesn’t matter if your last session was good or bad. What counts is how this performance is going to be. If you don’t feel great, just do what you can. Once you’re out there, you might even surprise yourself.
  4. Change your environment – listen to a different playlist, do your normal run in the opposite direction. Drive (or cycle) somewhere to start in a different place. Mix it up. You’ll enjoy it more.

Happy sweating!