Sometimes, getting motivated can be as easy as changing your outfit. That's the lesson I learned from one of my most active, put-together friends a few years ago when we were talking about how in the world she stays in shape. She's the type of person who manages to keep up a wildly busy schedule while also eating well, maintaining a spotless house, and working out regularly, so when I asked for the secret behind her endless energy, I couldn't believe how simple and straightforward her advice turned out to be.
Put on sneakers, she said. Keep a pair by the door, and when you get home from work, put them on right away — before you can be lured in by your cozy couch or make your way to the stocked fridge. You'll find yourself moving around a bit more, she said, whether that means cleaning up around the house, doing some chores, or deciding to toss on shorts and a t-shirt to head to the gym.
I was skeptical, and I knew there was obviously more to it than a pair of sneakers. Still, I decided to give it a try.
After a couple weeks, I was sold. And listen, I'm not going to say the tip changed my life, but it . . . sort of did? That split-second decision to put on sneakers seemed to trigger a let's-get-sh*t-done kind of energy, and the conscious choice to move around — rather than plopping in front of the TV or grabbing a snack — made me much more active each day. I found myself checking things off my to-do list left and right, whether it was organizing a closet or cooking healthy meals or staying on top of the laundry pile. When I woke up on weekend mornings feeling particularly lazy, I'd force myself to put on my sneakers and I'd feel guilty if I didn't get moving.
Even better: I found myself choosing to work out way more frequently. It's as if putting on sneakers after work channeled the days of throwing on my soccer uniform after school. Once the shoes were on, I'd get a weird, surprising burst of energy (or a clearer focus?) that prompted me to finish changing clothes and go for a run, try an online workout, or head to the gym. In other words, it worked.
Her tip fell along the same lines as laying out your workout clothes the night before. Something about taking that first, small step helps to spark the next step and the next, until you eventually find yourself running around the house to finish chores or sweating it out on the treadmill. Either way, it gets you moving and feeling positive, and every little bit helps, right?