You’ve just returned from work and need a stress release. But your subconscious brain wants to steer you to the couch. You know that a workout would energize body and mind but the thought of exertion stimulates the subconscious brain to trigger negative attitude hormones. It’s a fact that almost everyone who leaves their house or room will do the workout and receive the rewards. Here is a proven strategy to get moving on the tough days. The method has also been helpful in dealing with other challenges.

Mentally Rehearse: The following is a mental exercise that you can do throughout the day to prepare for this situation, as you are travelling home. Don’t focus on the workout. Instead, you’re breaking down the experience into a series of small steps which are easy to do. As you rehearse the sequence of these, over and over, you become more likely to follow the same pattern when you need to do so. The cognitive focus on each step will shift brain control out of the subconscious brain and into the executive, conscious, human brain.

 Getting out the door after a tough travel/business day:

  1. Comfortable shoes and clothes: as you walk into your room, put on some comfortable shoes and clothes. Have your exercise equipment handy and put it on right away. You’re not thinking about exerting yourself-but wearing comfortable clothing.
  2. Coffee? As you are dressing, brew some coffee, tea, or have a diet drink, etc. Caffeine (if you have no problems with it) will wake up the central nervous system, making exercise feel better.
  3. Eat a snack. Low blood sugar is the most common reason for low motivation in the afternoon. An easy to-digest snack will raise the level so that you feel good and will reduce the negative messages received from the stress-monitoring part of the brain (the left brain).
  4. Weather? Just walk out the front door to see what the weather is like.
  5. If you are using the exercise equipment, check the availability and walk around the equipment until the user has finished his or her workout.
  6.  If outside, walk to the end of the block to get your bearings. Once you have walked 100 steps you are almost certain to continue.There is a principle of lazy physics here: “A body on the couch wants to stay on the couch. But once a body is in motion it wants to stay in motion.”

Next Week: Motivation to get out the door – early morning!