Want to run regularly but find it difficult to do it? You finally want to implement what is on your running schedule? Then wake up the disciplined runner in you today.
It’s exhausting, also mentally. On the one hand, walking is good, on the other hand it hurts a little. You know it’s worth it, but it costs you energy. No wonder your inner weaker self wakes up. If it were different I would be surprised.
That it is sometimes difficult for you to go outside, although you have made up your mind to walk, is more the rule. So don’t think that you are alone with this inner conflict. Be welcome on board.
Running awakens the weaker self. We’re in the same boat.
And look with me on the course we are taking. There is a group of runners out there who are disciplined and follow their schedule without tormenting themselves. Some of them were there a few weeks ago where you are currently starting your journey. Soon you will be one of them.
You are here because you care about this change. That’s why you will implement them, I am convinced of that. Not much longer, then the new discipline in you will surprise you.
Do you finally want to awaken the disciplined runner in you?
Then take the time today to put your weaker self on your side. Not through self-compulsion, you’ve already tried that. That part of you doesn’t respond to beating. This time convince him with clarity. Win your inner weaker self as a partner for your project.
Why do you put off running even though you want to go through with it? What does your weaker self really want? And how does he trick you? You will soon understand each other better.
By the end of this article, you’ll have an actionable strategy against your inner weaker self. You will receive clear instructions on how to create the best conditions for long-term self-discipline while running in 15 minutes.
If you don’t have the time today, download a short version of the exercises here. Or you scroll to the bottom of this page.
Why do you avoid running even though you want to run
Sometimes I make a plan for tomorrow and have a firm belief that nothing will get in my way. But the next day surprises me again and again.
Much more work. Bad weather. Spontaneous craving for pasta from the Italian.
When I look at my to-do list from yesterday, I can think of a thousand reasons why running would be better tomorrow.
Why is it so difficult for me to decide to go ahead with my plan today? Yesterday I was still sure. And running would also be on my agenda for tomorrow. Why doesn’t this moment feel like the right thing?
Do you have these conflicts inside you? Whenever we plan something that challenges us, they occur. If it were easy, you would just do it. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy when running.
Running is good for you It makes you healthier and reduces stress. Whatever your motivation for running, you decided that it would make your life better. At the same time you find it exhausting. That awakens the weaker self in you.
What does the weaker self want?
Your inner weaker self is your inner drive to avoid exertion. Evolution gave it to you so that you don’t waste your energy senselessly. *
That’s why he just allows your next nap. But he wants to prevent you from putting on your running gear. Your weaker self has different goals than the runner in you.
If you want to take control, you have to convince him with clarity. But we’ll get to that later.
Until you convince him, he thinks staying on the couch makes you happier than going through with your plan.
He really doesn’t know any better. Because of this, he sometimes works against you and tries to sabotage your running schedule. If you are like most of us, then you have not only seen him do it once.
How does he do that?
The trick of the weaker self
He’s creative. He knows what convinces you and has good arguments:
You haven’t done any sport in a long time, there’s still one day left.
It’s raining so let’s wait for better weather.
I’m tired, let’s take a nap first and then we’ll keep watching.
So much work. Unfortunately no time to run.
It was a really tough week. At least take a break from running.
The inner weaker self are good reasons. He gives you arguments against running so that you – at least in the moment of decision – give up your plan without feeling guilty.
Of course, you know very well that these are not all good reasons. Most of it is excuses. But is that clear to you at the moment of the decision? It may be that there in the background a part of you knows exactly what is happening. But that part of you – the disciplined runner in you – is not in control.
The exercise that I’ll show you at the end of the article will help you gain clarity. You need them to take the wheel in these critical situations. Before we get into that, we need to talk about how to tell excuses from good reasons.
Excuses and how to recognize them
At first, these decisions, manipulated by the weaker self, still feel right. Most of the time, however, we notice relatively quickly that we have unnecessarily postponed our plan.
Then we feel guilty immediately. A pressure in the stomach. That stupid feeling of not having done what is important again.
You can recognize excuses by this feeling: If you had changed your plan for a really good reason – and there are of course there too – you would not have felt guilty. The fact that you are now annoyed about not having been running this week shows you that you have fallen for your own excuses.
Please don’t judge yourself for this, drop the charge. That’s how we humans are knitted.
In a way, you can even be grateful for those guilty feelings. They show you that your plan is important to you and that you really mean it. It’s okay that you don’t feel right with yourself now. This feeling gives you a boost for your change. Use it as your drive to finally create the clarity you need to implement your plan.
The basis for motivation
“Many people think they lack motivation when what they really lack is clarity.” (James Clear, author of Atomic Habits)
Every day we humans, for good reasons, postpone important changes that would make our lives better. Not because we are not motivated, but because we lack clarity.
Everyone wants motivation because without it we cannot act. But how exactly is it created? I mean real motivation that lasts. Not spontaneous inspiration that fizzles out as quickly as it comes.
If I tell you now that it is best to eat your meal on Tuesday and Friday with a polished spoon, you will turn into a limp balloon. There is zero motivation in you. It’s just completely unclear what that brings.
Motivation can only arise when you are clear about what it will bring you.
A guest contribution by Marwin Budniok
Before motivation arises, you need clarity. What does it bring to you? Why is that important? Why is it worth the effort? You need answers to these questions if you want motivation.
Clarity is the breeding ground in which motivation can grow. No plant without soil.
This is especially true for sports and running. Motivation can only arise when you come to the conclusion through clarity that it is worth the effort. Because then the weaker self will understand that it is worth getting up from the couch.
Short-term willpower vs. long term clarity
“If you want to make any permanent change in your life, willpower won’t get you there.” (Benjamin Hardy PhD, author of Willpower doesn’t work)
Believe me, I also want more willpower. We need them to withstand our spontaneous impulses. She helps us to ignore the cookie plate in the kitchen. I can not do that.
The stronger your will, the easier it is for you to pull off things that cost you energy. Eyes shut and go for it. You need this skill to achieve short-term goals and complete unpleasant duties.
But willpower is overrated in our society. We have been taught that self-discipline is the same as having strong will. That is why we fight with an iron will against our weaker self.
Sometimes it works too. You can force yourself to your plan for 3 weeks. But do you think that over the long term you can force yourself to run over and over again for months or years?
That’s torture. Sooner or later you don’t feel like doing it anymore.
I don’t think willpower is the secret of disciplined runners. A disciplined runner knows why he’s running and why it’s worth it. He also pulled the wig off of his head for his inner weaker self.
Willpower works, but it is a short-term strategy. You give power to the runner in you when you convince your weaker self with arguments that are better than their excuses. That works in the long term.
If you’re still at it, we’ll end the procrastination now.
Wake up the disciplined runner in 15 minutes
I suggest you give up your inner struggle and finally make your weaker self into your ally.
The runner in you wakes up when you help him convince your weaker self.
Here are a few more tips for working through the exercises:
You need a pen and paper.
This is not a test. There is no need to evaluate your spontaneous answers. Write down what feels right.
Come back to these exercises when it has helped. I repeat these exercises once a month. Time well spent.
Let’s start with the first exercise.
Exercise 1: Explore your deep motives
Why is running important to you? Why is it worth getting up from the couch?
If you feel like it, you can make a game out of this question. The idea comes from Benjamin Hardy’s book “Willpower Doesn’t Work”.
Step 1: write down your first answer. So z. B.
“Because I want to get fit.”
Step 2: Then write down the next question:
“Why do I want to get fit?”
Return to the first step with the question from step 2 and answer it. Go at least three steps deep, you will be amazed what deep needs are behind your desire to be a runner.
Exercise 2: The Effective Classic – Make a Plan
What is your weekly running goal? How often do you want to run? What are the right days of the week, times of day and situations for this?
Make a plan and enter your running units as appointments in your calendar. If you’re more of a spontaneous guy, don’t set any days, but write down how often you want to run at least in the coming weeks.
An effective weekly goal leaves as few questions as possible and describes the situation (time, place, event) in which you implement your plan. Here are two phrases for inspiration.
“I will go running every Tuesday and Saturday morning (time) after a small breakfast (event) at the field (place)”
“I will go running at the lake (place) at least twice a week after work (time / event)”
Exercise 3: Take off the wig for excuses
What are good reasons to postpone running? What are excuses that you won’t accept anymore?
The best way to answer these questions is with a table. It has two columns.
In the left column you write down all reasonable reasons to change your plan. Something like “broken leg”. Well, it can be less spectacular.
In the right column you write things that sound like good reasons, but are actually just excuses.
Does rain make sense for you to postpone running? It’s perfectly fine if you’re a fair-weather runner. There is nothing wrong with that. Just be honest, that’s for the best. Then you never have to feel guilty again when the weather gets in your way.
I think you agree that if you are sick, you should put off running without feeling guilty. So a good reason. That goes in the left column.
And what about a lot of work? Is that a good reason for you not to go running today, or an excuse? I think you understood what it was about.
Here is a list of other suggestions. Only you can know which of these are really good reasons or excuses of your weaker self.
I have muscle ache
my head hurts
I am tired
Today I do not have time
Not in the mood for anything
I just lack the motivation today
My willpower is not enough today
I have vacations
If you do these exercises regularly, running discipline is guaranteed. Of course, that doesn’t mean that everything is easy from now on. But you will see that you have your rules ever clearer in your mind’s eye. That will surprise the weaker self.
Instructions for use: These exercises will strengthen your ability to make the right decisions. Please don’t become a walking robot, give the bastard a victory too. New discipline does not mean to be tough, but to do in the long term what improves your life.
Summary – this will give you more running discipline
We have been taught that self-discipline is essentially a matter of strong will. While this ability is important to achieving your goals, it is not the basis of your success. Clarity is the key to running discipline.
The weaker self is not your enemy, but it has its own goals. If you want to put him on your side, you need clarity. To create that clarity, you now have actionable steps.
What is your plan? Why is it worth the effort? Find out what are real reasons for you to skip a run without feeling guilty. Which arguments of the weaker self do you no longer want to listen to? What are the excuses you used to keep yourself from your goal of running regularly?
Find your personal answers to awaken the disciplined runner in you. Give him arguments against the weaker self. Then you will decide in the critical moments for what is important to you.
thank you for your trust
Thank you, dear reader, for your time and your trust. It cannot be taken for granted. I am grateful for everyone who puts their good resolutions into practice and I think you are one of them. If I could make a small contribution to your journey to becoming a disciplined runner, that’s my best reward.
If this article helped you, it will definitely help others who are struggling with their weaker self. Share this article in your network with your colleagues, friends or family. I appreciate everyone this article reaches about you.
Finally, I would like to thank Torsten and his team for the opportunity to use his platform. And even more important: Thank you for the effective and actionable tips that you’ve been publishing for years. My journey from couch potato to runner would have been a lot less fun without you.