Key Success Secret: Acting In Spite of Your Mood

Scott McDermott’s weekly column about health and wellness

Do you ever have those times when you know you should be doing something, but you just don’t feel like it? You know a sugary treat is not on your meal plan, or good nutrition, or going to help you at all, but you order it because you have had a bad day, or are tired, or someone yelled at you, or you worked really hard and are super stressed and “deserve it.”

I spent a lot of time Sunday morning thinking about going for a run. I didn’t feel like it, I had too much work to do, I was tired, it was windy out, it was cold out, we had family over for Thanksgiving and I didn’t want to be “rude” by missing breakfast for a run, and then going off to work. This was probably all made harder by the fact that we had Thanksgiving supper on Saturday night and I was feeling heavy from the big feed the night before.

I remembered one of the big sayings I learned from a course: act in spite of your mood. That saying seems so nice and easy in a course, when in the mood to improve, calm and in a mindful thought place, but here in the real world? Ugh. I really did not feel like it and I love to run! I have been exhausted lately and just didn’t want to move. I wanted to stay in bed!

I got my gear ready, but procrastinated at that too – couldn’t find stuff, made multiple trips to different areas of the house to find gloves, the right shirt, jacket and so on. Turns out, my family understood being healthy matters to me and it was no big deal that I was going for a run. I set up my headphones with a great audio book and did my run warm up drills.

Here’s the thing – once I got out into the world, it was amazing! The fall colours, the smells, the sights, the audio book filling my head with great information. I was smiling as I ran along and was in a brilliant mood. I got home with a spring in my step and got on with my day, energized and happier than ever.

Momentum is the thing that matters in almost every aspect of life. You just have to start. People always ask me how to get motivated, or stay motivated and the thing is, most people can’t. You don’t wait for motivation in order to act, you act first and that motivates you. The hardest part of beginning, is acting in spite of your mood.

You will always feel more like staying in a nice warm bed on a Sunday or Monday or any morning. You will always feel like eating junk food. You will always prefer sitting on the couch doing nothing as opposed to getting all sweaty and working hard at the gym.

So how can we set ourselves up to win at this game?

1) Call a friend and arrange to do your workout at a certain time. You wouldn’t disappoint your friend so you will be there, and hanging out is fun!

2) No willing friends? Join a BootCamp or group workout where other people like you will be.

3) Sign up for a goal in the future that will require you to perform your exercises or training to get ready, like a marathon, or 10k or any sort of challenging task.

4) Attach a reward to your success – new clothing, a nice meal out, whatever you determine. Have a checklist set up so that when you complete a certain number of workouts, you get your reward.

5) Use audio books or great music to get you out of your mood and give positive input.

I employ all of these things to keep myself going.

Happy Training!

Scott