I’m going to guess that you probably hit the “snooze” button a few times this morning, missed your window of time to get to the gym, and went back to sleep for a less-than-restful hour. I’m also going to guess that you don’t have time to get to the gym tonight because (a) you’re stuck at the office, (b) you have to take care of the kids, (c) you’ve got a social obligation, (d) you’re too tired after a long day of dealing with the nonsense that each work day tends to bring, or (e) some other reason that is entirely valid.
The problem with lawyers is that we’re too smart for our own good. We are paid to be logical, to take reasonable positions, and to argue on our clients’ behalf. We often take these magical powers of logic & reason, and we make valid excuse after valid excuse as to why we can’t work out. It starts in the morning: “I deserve to sleep in this morning because I stayed at work too late last night, and I will have more energy if I work out tonight instead.” Then we work later than expected, and it becomes “I will work out after I have dinner because otherwise I will not eat until right before bedtime . . . and that will give me indigestion.” Then, after dinner: “Exercise before bedtime keeps me from falling asleep, so I will wake up early tomorrow and get a head start on my day.” It’s a vicious, excuse-filled cycle.
So how do we, the logical masterminds that we are, break out of the excuse cycle and get our over-worked bottoms to the gym in the morning? Here are some strategies that tend to work for me and my clients:
(1) Take a no-excuses approach. Having the discipline to get out of bed in the morning means that you have to take responsibility and stop making excuses. Before you go to bed at night, think about how great you felt after your last workout, and visualize yourself going to the gym. Say out loud “I am going to work out tomorrow morning because it will make me feel awesome.” When the alarm goes off, declare to yourself again: “I am getting out of bed to go to the gym because I want to feel awesome.” No more arguments, no more excuses. If you miss a workout, recognize that you missed it because you broke a promise to yourself—not because of some external factor that is out of your control.
(2) Make your mornings as efficient as possible. The easier you make it for yourself to get out of the house in the morning, the easier it will be. Pack your gym bag at night and set it by the door. Sleep in your gym clothes rather than PJs so you can (literally) just roll out of bed. If you like coffee before your workout, set your coffee machine to automatically brew at your wakeup time. Have easy, grab-n-go breakfast foods (e.g., bananas, green juice, yogurt, nuts, hard boiled eggs, etc.) on hand so that you can eat on the run.
(3) Make a date to meet a friend or a trainer. Having a support network at the gym is always great motivation. A few years ago, a friend and I made a pact to work out together in the mornings. We did well for a little while, but when we started to peter out on our pact, I made a second commitment to work out with a personal trainer twice a week. Even if I was having a hard time keeping a “no excuses” commitment to myself, I was motivated to keep my commitments to them. Bonus: it’s a great way to spend time with friends!
Megan Grandinetti is a New York city-based attorney, health coach, and yoga teacher. Megan’s work as a health coach focuses on improving the health and wellness of lawyers. Find out more about Megan, or sign up for a free initial health consultation, by visiting www.thelawyershealthcoach.com or her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/megwellnessyoga.