Finding motivation when you just don't feel like it

It was dark and rainy outside.  I was cranky.  Almost 10 a.m, and I hadn't gotten anything done yet.  The CD I play to help me focus better (Bach's "Lute Suites") was on its second time through and still wasn't helping.  I was starting to feel guilty for being so unproductive. It was shaping up to be an ADHD kind of day. Exercise would help, but I didn't feel like it. 

What do you do when you know what you should do, but you just don't wanna?  It's sooooo hard to get started. I went over to the spot where I usually stretch and apathetically did a half sun salutation, my favorite yoga movement.   I stopped and looked out the window.  Still raining. Then I looked back at my computer, thinking about all the things that had to be done.

The phone rang.  It was a client, checking in.  She said she'd accomplished most of what she committed to and feels on track.  Then she commented offhandedly, "I went for a walk yesterday.  I think that's a big part of why I did so well."  I expressed full agreement, being a huge proponent of exercise, diet and sleep to keep ADHD symptoms in check.  She went on to say, "It's always hard for me to exercise.  I feel like I'm wasting time.  There are so many things I should be doing instead."  I asked her about her productivity before and after the walk.  "Oh, I got a lot more done after the walk.  It totally rejuvenated me."  "Mmm hmm," I replied.  "I'm not surprised.  Exercise is like that.  It's like medicine.  It helps you focus and stay on task."  I went on to help her reframe it as an investment.

As I helped my client make the connection between exercise and productivity, I immediately felt more motivated myself.  Sometimes what it takes to make you want to do something is to resonate with how great you will feel when it's done. Not just to think "I should", but to actually recall the clearheadedness, the limberness, the energy.

Although I still wasn't completely ready to exercise (did I mention it was dark and rainy out?), I was ready to take the next step.  I pulled out the yoga mat.  This is another one of my favorite anti-procrastination strategies: literally, physically touch the thing you are avoiding. I was in the right state of mind, the mat was out, and I got moving.  And sure enough, I was soon feeling better.  By 10:30 I was thinking, this is shaping up to be quite a productive day.