Top Tips for Boosting Motivation on Your Daily Commute

See also: Mindfulness

Commuting can seem like a drag as it is a significant amount of wasted time at the start and end of each day when the mind is largely focused on work. However, this time can be easily turned into a valuable segment of the day where you can develop new skills, practice healthy eating or get some exercise - all while being on time and in good shape for the start of the working day.

On average, commuters in the UK spend 54 minutes commuting to work – so double that for the journey both ways – which is a significant segment of every working day that needs to be used for something. The figure for the US is slightly less, clocking in at 24 minutes, yet this is still a useful chunk of time that could be optimised to include a mindful, motivational purpose.

This post, courtesy of the outdoor and cycling experts at Start Fitness, will run through some innovative ideas that can revolutionise your commute.

After reading this, you’ll never see your morning journey in the same way again, and you’ll be galvanised for both the day ahead and your general personal development.

Tube commute.

Breakfast on the Go: Try Superfoods

If you tend to charge out of the house in the morning with a half-buttered slice of toast in your hand, then chances are you’re probably not getting the nutrients you need to kick-start the day.

With a little extra thought and prep time the evening before, you could box up some superfoods such as blueberries or Brazil nuts to snack on during your commute. Blueberries contain Vitamin C and antioxidants, while Brazil nuts are a strong source of protein - important if you’re planning to go to the gym later in the day.

If your morning journey isn’t complete without a caffeine infusion, consider swapping milky coffee for green tea - you’ll get a more toned down caffeine hit, which is useful for concentration, as you don’t want to overstimulate yourself. Its antioxidant and zen-like relaxation properties will leave you motivated for the day’s challenges ahead.

Take time to read (and put the phone away!)

Burying your nose in a novel is an excellent way to pass the time on a commute, and can leave you relaxed and motivated for the day ahead after a little bit of ‘me time’ in the morning. Whether it’s fantasy, crime or some horizon-expanding non-fiction, bringing a book along for the commute in lieu of aimlessly scrolling on your phone will help your concentration levels, while also fielding the urge to check work emails before you reach the office.

Taking time to read also has other proven benefits, from increasing your vocabulary to reducing brain aging, so even a guilty-pleasure, murder mystery can have a positive effect on your overall well-being and, by extension, your motivation and work performance.

Bike commuter

Incorporate Exercise

Have a think. Do you really need to take the train today? Is the bus your best bet? Have you looked at a potential walking or cycling route to work?

If you want to add more exercise to your day, then switching your public transport or car commute for a journey under your own power is a smart option. It negates the need for a gym membership and means you’ll get a good amount of your daily exercise from simply going to and from your workplace. If you don’t particularly enjoy the gym, then this is definitely a bonus.

As for the motivational benefits? Well, a morning workout incorporated into your commute is proven to:

  • Improve mental wellbeing
  • Help you build muscle
  • Boost your brain power
  • Help you lose weight

All of those points are sure to keep you motivated throughout the day as the sense of accomplishment of having already done your morning workout is quite significant. Also, if you don’t fancy commuting on two wheels, then running to work is a beneficial option well worth considering - just make sure that your work clothes are well stored in a backpack and the office has a shower to help you cool down afterwards!

See: The Importance of Exercise for more information.

Change your route!

If you’re a little bit sick of taking the same route every single day, then you shouldn’t be afraid to mix it up a touch.

Adapting your route to take in some interesting sights or a pleasant park will keep you sharp in the mornings, as a well-worn routine tends to devolve into somewhat of an autopilot situation after a while, meaning that you’re not really awake until you get to your desk.

Even if it means spending a bit more time getting to work, taking a detour through a park or along a quieter street gives you agency over your commute, helping you feel a little more energised for the day ahead.

Learn a language

With apps such as Duolingo on the market, you can learn a new language on the move, often with an easy learning curve that will make you feel rewarded with only a few minutes’ tuition every morning.

If you keep your discipline, over time you’ll have learned at least a good grounding in a new language just through using time that was previously wasted staring into space or scrolling through social media platforms.

Of course, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a language you’re learning, as there are plenty of informative podcasts out there on a huge array of subjects from history to science and beyond.

Subway commute.

The Skills You Need Guide to Personal Development

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Personal Development

Learn how to set yourself effective personal goals and find the motivation you need to achieve them. This is the essence of personal development, a set of skills designed to help you reach your full potential, at work, in study and in your personal life.

The second edition of or bestselling eBook is ideal for anyone who wants to improve their skills and learning potential, and it is full of easy-to-follow, practical information.

A daily dose of knowledge can help you feel empowered on your morning commute, therefore increasing motivation for the day ahead. All of these tips have this effect in some way or another, so the best thing for you is to choose which ones fit your commute best and start your journey towards a calmer, more energised commute that gets you on the ball from the very start of the day.

About the Author

Alex Jones is a features writer for Start Fitness - providers of running, cycling, gym, football and outdoor products.