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The eternal question: work out or sleep in?

This time, you’re really going to do it. You feel committed to working out. But what do you do when your alarm goes off early in the morning? Exercise doesn’t sound so good when you’re half asleep. Your snooze button is a temptation and it’s easy to talk yourself out of your goals. It’s no wonder getting started (and out of bed) is the hardest part. 

You’ve likely heard all the reasons why exercise is good for you. It can help with physical and mental well-being, stress control, weight management and more. 

Yet there’s a gap between knowing and doing. And another gap between doing and “keep on doing.” After the initial inspiration wears off, it can be tough to maintain the routine.  

Excuses, excuses 

We’re all familiar with the many reasons we can’t work out right now. Maybe you’ve said something like this at one time or another: It’s too hot, cold, windy, dry or humid. My cat slept on my face, so I’m tired. I’ll exercise at lunch or after work. I’ll go to the gym once I’ve lost 20 pounds.  

Sometimes you can make it all the way to lacing up your sneakers and still get a last-minute pang of “Do I really have to?” What’s a would-be exerciser to do?  

Start by giving yourself a pep talk 

Here are four good messages to give yourself about working out:

  1. I’m going to focus on the feeling. Do you feel stronger after you work out? Happier? More energized? Mentally clearer? Proud of yourself? Knowing you’re going to “earn” these good feelings can help motivate you more than stressing about your looks or how much weight you need to lose. 

  2. I’m going to do it before I have time to think about it. If you can exercise in the morning, it eliminates excuses later in the day. Plus, if you just get up and do your workout, you’ll be doing it before your brain even realizes it or has time to think up excuses. 

  3. I’m going to treat myself to some awesome workout clothes. Whether you’re at the gym or in the living room, be happy with how you look. Having an outfit that makes you feel good for your workout can boost your self-confidence. Just putting on your exercise garb can get you mentally into “the zone” for a great workout. 

  4. I’ll consider it an appointment. Don’t think of exercise as optional. Think of it as an appointment. Bring the same sense of responsibility you apply to meetings and appointments to help stick to your exercise routine. 

Exercise: It’s a mind game  

When all is said and done, exercise is really a brain game. If maintaining motivation is a problem for you, mind games can really help. Consider exercise as a habit you have to keep up and give yourself the messages above. In other words, will yourself to do it. 

You’ve got this! Once you get moving, your body will produce “feel good” endorphins. Who knows? You may not even be tempted by that snooze button anymore. 

Need help with creating and sticking with healthy habits? The Attain by AetnaSM app helps you your body moving and get your heart pumping. And you can earn points for hitting daily and weekly goals. Download today in the App Store. Already using the app? Head over to the “Actions” tab in the app and start building healthy habits today. 

This material provides a general overview of the topic. Health information is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment by a therapist, physician or other health care professional. Contact a health care professional with any questions or concerns about specific health care needs.