I have words of inspiration I tell my students when they say they are “dying” in boot camp, or my personal training clients who say they can’t do one more rep. I shout out, “Come on, you can do anything for ten minutes, right?” That’s true in many of my past experiences. Those words of advice have saved me more times than I’d like to admit. I soon began to realize I could make that my mantra and apply it to many areas of my life.
This “brainstorm” idea came to me when I began training for my first half marathon. I’m quite certain it’s safe to assume that anyone who has trained for a marathon has hated running at some point in their training! When my training runs got over the ten-mile mark, I began to dread them and that’s when I became an expert at procrastinating. I began to put off my training runs until later and later in the day. Many times I would wait so late that I wouldn’t get them done. Afterwards, I would beat myself up mentally for not following my training schedule.
I distinctly remember one training run, right around mile 19, where I needed to go just one more mile. But I was miserable. I started counting during the last mile; anything to take my mind off the misery. I knew my slowest mile was in the range of ten minutes. I deduced that if I counted to (60) ten times, that last mile would be over. I figured if I could get through just ten minutes; I would be done. I told myself- I can do anything for ten minutes; just suck it up and get it done! I’ve given that advice over and over again to my students and clients. Shouldn’t I follow my own advice?
I finished that training run with a smile and followed that advice often during many more half marathons and ultimately my full marathon. I discovered that if I wanted to blow off training for a day, I could at the very least go to the gym, and just do ten minutes. I told myself if I didn’t want to continue after that, I would give myself permission to leave. What I discovered was that more often than not, after my warm-up, I usually felt pretty good. Sometimes those workouts I dreaded the most turned out to be some of the best, kick-butt workouts I’ve done.
I’ve even applied my “ten-minute rule” to many other areas of my life. For instance, if I’m putting off doing the dishes or even worse, cleaning the bathrooms, I simply tell myself to work on it for just 10 minutes, doesn’t matter if I finish- just give it 10 minutes. And over 90% of the time, I finish what I started. Well maybe not the bathrooms! I may not always complete every task, but I realize most of what I put off is really not that bad.