I hate running.
There, I said it.
I would rather bike, swim, lift weights for hours, play any sport, or do pretty much anything else. Running has never been (and will likely never be) my thing. Yet, for the last month and a half, I have ran at least 2-3 miles almost every single day. I didn’t want to create this exercise habit, but still I did.
So, what changed? I began creating healthy habits
Those of you following us on Facebook might have seen that two weeks ago, IdealShape’s team participated in a Raft and Run, which is exactly what it sounds like. We rafted down the Provo Canyon River and then ran a 5k. It was fun, but initially, I didn’t want to do it.
When it was announced that they were signing a team up for the event, I was intrigued by the rafting because I’m a big fan of that kind of stuff, but my distaste for running almost outweighed my excitement for the rafting. I almost just said ‘no’.
Eventually, I gave a shrug and signed up anyway because I figured I could just walk the 5k. I knew I was signing myself up for embarrassment, so I decided to bite the bullet and set up a run schedule. I talked to Natasha, our customer service manager, who also had signed up and felt the same way about running as I did. We set up a routine, and then we tested ourselves.
The first day was awful. We were exhausted, out of shape, and not even close to healthy enough to run a 5k that was now three weeks away.
Over the next three weeks, we ran 6 days a week. We improved a lot, and the IdealShape team actually ended up 3rd place in the overall event. I won’t take any credit for it, my run time was still terrible, but I did have a lot of fun.
After all of this I realized that I was just going to keep running. I didn’t want to, I still don’t like running, but I’m doing it and it makes me feel good. So, I’m slowly turning my least favorite exercise into a habit, and here are the things that I’ve learned that have helped me.
Tips to Creating Healthy Habits
1. Have a Goal
The fact, that I had an actual 5k event that I was signed up for was a huge motivator for me. Whether I exercised or not, the event was happening. Knowing that I only had so much time to get ready really did the trick.
2. Have a Buddy
Sometimes you really just don’t want to exercise. There were a few days where if I were training alone I would not have run. There are times that Natasha didn’t want to run, but it was never on the same day. Days that would’ve been skipped got exercise that started begrudgingly, but here’s the thing; you never finish an exercise and regret exercising.
3. Incorporate things you like
The run was not my thing, but I loved the idea of rafting down the river as part of the race. It made things a lot more fun for the whole crew, and added some motivation to the training.
4. Celebrate Wins, then Move to the Next Goal
We really enjoyed the raft and run, and the moment we got done with it, Carla (our CEO) had a list of new 5ks for us to run. Using the 3rd tip, I signed up for a mud run, and a zombie run because they sounded like a lot of fun. The mud run is at the end of August and the zombie run is at the end of October. That means I will be running 6 days a week at least through October.
Like I said, I hate running, but by the time October is over I know that I will have created a running habit. It already feels weird not to run on my rest days.
You can check out some more great tips to building exercise habits in our Think book, or “Motivation to Exercise” Brain Training CD. They’re full of great ideas for when exercise just doesn’t sound worth it.