For the past month, I have been forcing myself to get up at 5:15 am and go to the gym. I decided to do this after many years of failing to go consistently.
For the record, I’ve tried a lot of different methods: going three days a week, midday gym sessions, even late night and double weekend workouts. Every time, I’d find a way to weasel of out actually doing it.
My logical mind is the enemy here. It wants to do other stuff, so it uses all its power to keep me avoiding exercise.
After chatting with a friend about it, I realized that the best time for me to go to the gym was when I couldn’t think about it. If I let myself think for even a minute or two, I would find a reason why I couldn’t go.
But if I did it at 5:15 am before my brain wasn’t awake, then I had no ability to make excuses. I figured this practice worked with the habit of making my bed, which I’ve been doing first thing each day since I was five years old.
So, every morning for the past four weeks, I have set the alarm for 5:15 am, stood up as soon as my alarm has sounded, put on my gym shorts and shoes and walked outside to the gym.
Luckily for me, my gym is in my apartment building, so I only have to walk across the carpark. And by the time my brain starts to register that I am not in bed anymore, I am usually on a treadmill or elliptical machine.
Here’s what’s interesting: without the time to think, this challenge of overcoming inertia was surprisingly easy.
In the last four weeks, there have been maybe two days where I’ve strongly felt like I didn’t want to be in the gym. But by the time I felt that way, I was already there, so it was too late.
But what surprised me about going to the gym early each morning is that I have this incredible burst of energy early in the day. By 6 am I’ve already the thing I’ve struggled with for years. I feel accomplished, and I am on to doing things in my day that I enjoy.
It seems to me that people will blame their emotions or habits for the bad choices they make. But now I can see how not being able to think about something means you are more likely to get it done.
There are many examples of people in history who didn’t realize something was ‘impossible’, so they just did it. Maybe getting ahead of the mind is a key to making things happen.
With no time to think, things just get done.