I woke up this morning to my two kids yelling at each other. (They share a room.) 5:30. A half-hour before my alarm was supposed to go off.
My throat had that sandpaper feel in it that comes right before you get sick. My legs were creaky from running six miles a couple days before. My son wanted an early breakfast.
I had every reason in the world to not run. But—I had 3 miles scheduled in my RunKeeper app.
So I got my son some breakfast and sent him back to bed. I stretched and got warm while I made sure he fell asleep. I drank some water. Put my shoes on. Waited around some more. And then I said to myself, Ughhhh, fuck it, I’ll do it, and stepped outside to run.
Here’s the crazy thing—my ‘fuck it’ run was one of the best ones I’ve had in a long time.
I was planning for this run to be shitty. I was just gonna check a box and move on with my day. Whatever. Not every run is great.
Then, about mid-run, this guy ran past me in the opposite direction. I recognized this guy from around the neighborhood. Dude’s always running. He’s one of those 50+ year-old guys who makes you feel like a dick because he’s trucking at like an 8-minute pace—uphill—while your 33-year-old ass hobbles along at a 12:30-something clip on flat ground.
I knew this guy was a hell of a runner so I watched his stride as he ran by. (Side note: I’m always trying to improve how I run, so I often stop to watch people as they’re running. It probably-definitely makes me look like a total creeper, but it’s for science.) He took these big, almost slow-motion steps. Which was the opposite of my short, staccato running style (that I adopted after I read Born to Run).
I leaned forward, flexed out my chest, and pushed my feet behind me in slow, big-ass strides, just like Old Fast Guy. It felt different. Softer. Like my legs wanted to do this. I could feel unworked muscles twitch to life.
It felt fucking amazing. I felt like a goddamn gazelle.
I sure-as-shit didn’t run like one—my pace still ended up being somewhere around 11:30. But still! That’s faster than normal for me.
None of that would have happened if I hadn’t said ‘Ughhhh, fuck it,’ and ran.
I read a post yesterday that talked about some advice from a Navy SEAL on how to be resilient. He said that every time he suffered a setback, he said “Good” to himself and carried on.
“I actually have a fairly, simple way of dealing with these situations. It’s actually one word to deal with these situations…and that is ‘Good.’ When things are going bad, there’s going to be some good that is going to come from it.”
“Good.” “Ughhh, fuck it, I’ll do it.” Same thing, right?
Hey, it worked for me. And that’s the whole point. I’m not a trained motivational expert. I’m not a psychologist. Maybe there are some drawbacks to talking in a negative voice instead of a positive one. But what I said to myself got me outside and running, which was what I wanted to do.
Use any word or phrase. Or make one up. As long as it helps you do the thing you want. Because sometimes, what looks like a pointless, shitty day might be the best day ever in disguise. And even if it’s not, you’ll have done something, which is better than nothing.
What word or phrase do you use to motivate yourself?
Tell me in the comments, because I’m sure I’ll get tired of “Ughhh, fuck it” after a while. Here are some others that I brainstormed:
- (Sigh) Sure. I guess. Why not?
- OK, but I’m drinking a beer immediately afterward.
- Just go run for two minutes, and if it’s that bad, you can walk the rest of the way.
- If there were a tidal wave chasing you right now, you could run easily.
- If there were spiders chasing you right now, you could run easily.
- You’ll run past apartments of people who decided to sleep in, and you will instantly be scientifically better than those people.
Again, share yours in the comments.