Okay, so you've made it to the gym. Congrats! You followed through with that New Years resolution, and you’re two feet down on that treadmill. Your Nike kicks are tied up tight, your headphones are in, your hair is tied back, and you’re ready. 10 minutes in, and you’re already bored AF, but stop before your mind goes somewhere it shouldn't. Before you remind yourself of the idolized body of your favorite model or how crappy you feel because you ate that cookie last night, remind yourself that is not why you’re here.

Way too often, we use distractions at the gym that probably aren't making us feel better. That’s why over the past several months, I have been exploring different ways to distract myself while running on the treadmill. Here's what I've come up with.

1. Imagine Your Weekend Plans

My favorite thing to do is to put myself in my upcoming social situations and imagine how they will go. Yes, you are basically daydreaming while running, so make sure you don’t get so distracted that you fall. This is the perfect way to take your mind off school or anything else in your life that is currently stressing you out. Plus, the more excited you get about your plans, the faster you will probably run.

2. Watch TV

beer, beef, meat, pizza, spam, coffee
Yubi Peterson

Sadly, watching TV is already a regular part of my daily routine, so considering the fact that I have made it to the gym, I might as make use of my time and combine both activities.

#SpoonTip: Watch a show that doesn’t make you laugh so hard you can’t breathe because you'll need all of the oxygen you can get. 

3. Learn a Rap

I'm not kidding, this is the perfect time to memorize the new Drake, Kanye, or Chance album. I’ve pretty much nailed G-Eazy’s "Some Kind of Drug" by this point, and I have no shame admitting that it is one of my proudest accomplishments.

4. Imagine Your Favorite Athlete Is Running Next to You

If these people at my local gym only knew the roles I’ve assigned them. Make that jacked 20-something the new Ryan Lochte or the girl running sprints next to you the next Serena Williams. If Ryan Lochte or Serena Williams were on the treadmill next to you, you would not be hopping off after 10 minutes. Let these imaginary figures train you. 

5. Put Your Life Goals Figuratively in Front of You

Like a mouse running toward cheese hanging off of a stick, I like to put all of my dreams and aspirations in front of me. Sometimes I simply can’t find that motivation to keep going, but when I put my biggest goals in front of me, I find it deep inside me to fight the pain.

It's a strategy many high school athletes have probably used while training. Now, instead of sprinting for the state title, you’re sprinting for that summer internship or an A on next week’s Econ midterm.  

6. Do it for Your Heart

By stepping on that treadmill, you are already making an effort to protect yourself against heart disease. Keep that in mind while running. If you consciously remind yourself that by doing this you are furthering your life expectancy, you will be way more motivated to keep going.

7. Schedule Your Day

We already take the time out of each day to think about everything we need to get done, therefore, the treadmill is the perfect place to clear your head and get organized. You can take some time here to weigh your options and build the most effective schedule without any distractions. 

8. Remember Gratitude

When is the last time you took a minute to count your blessings or remember what you are grateful for?Seriously, just the fact that you have the ability to be running on the treadmill is the first thing you can put on your list.

Use this time for introspection and to remember all of the positive things going on in your life. Sources say that taking five minutes out of your day to remember what you are grateful for actually makes you a happier and healthier individual. 

9. Practice Positive Body Image Thoughts

It's okay to think about your body and weight while running on the treadmill, but it’s not okay to do it so you can look like someone else. Distract yourself with positive ideas about body image while running on the treadmill. Exchange skinny with strong, fit with fast, and lean with "loving me."

Stepping on that treadmill isn’t going to change who you are, and you shouldn’t expect it to. You first need to love yourself, and when those Nike kicks hit that rubber platform, I hope you, too, are doing it to be your happier, stronger, and more secure self.

With its fixed location and rickety sound, it's no wonder most of us dread the treadmill. However, if we use these nine distractions, not only will we better our physical health, but our mental health, too. Stay positive on that treadmill, don’t compare yourself to anyone else, and do it for YOU.