The basic premise of motivation is acting towards a desired goal; or another way to look at it is, motivation is the desire to do things.
Some motivations come without effort, when you’re hungry you’re motivated to feed yourself, when you’re tired you’re motivated to seek rest. However, what motivates a person to exercise?
Well, honestly it’s different for everybody.
It could be for improved health, to look better, to build muscle, to lose fat, to shape, to tone, to train for a specific event… the reasons are numerous. The one common factor behind exercising is, because one is motivated to affect their well being through the act of physical activity. There are many aspects to being committed to the exercise lifestyle, but I want to talk about motivation specifically as it relates fitness.
Many people will actually fall in love with the lifestyle and will become life long proponents of health and fitness. Most people can find their own motivation to get started, and an “intense desire” will get them through the first several weeks of a new program without any mental blocks. But what happens when the excitement (or novelty) of embarking on the journey fades, and the scheduled workouts become more of a chore than a reward? How do we stay motivated?
There are a variety of ways to keep motivated but for simplicity I am suggesting 5 things that have always helped me stay the course.
1) ONE GOAL – Pick one goal that is attainable and focus on ONLY that goal. Too many times we take on too much, try to accomplish too many goals at once. Pick one attainable target and you can maintain focus and energy on getting it!
2) FIND INSPIRATION – What inspires you? For me I am inspired by others who have achieved what I want to achieve, or who look the way I would like to look. I read blogs, books, magazines, FB posts or anything that implants that image (goal) in my mind. But remember to emulate…not imitate. Work with what you have.
3) POST YOUR GOAL – Print out your goal in large legible WRITTEN words. Make your goal just a few words long, like a mantra (“Exercise 15 minutes Daily”), and post it up on your wall or refrigerator. Post it at home and work. You may even want to post a picture of “what” you want to look like. Having your goal written out in concrete, tangible, readable “words” adds accountability.
4) BUILD ON SMALL SUCCESS – Again, if you start small and realistic (for a week at a time); you’re going to be successful. You can’t fail if you start with something ridiculously easy. Who can’t walk for 2km? Take that successful feeling and build on it, with another baby step, next week make it 3 km, the week after add 200mtr of jogging. You will be pleasantly surprised at how proud you will be of yourself.
5) DAILY MENTAL IMAGERY – This may sound silly, or maybe even overly simplistic, but take 15-20 minutes per day to be by yourself. Close your eyes and focus…REALLY FOCUS, on your goal. If your goal is to be 25lbs lighter, imagine yourself looking in the mirror and seeing the changes, imagine how it feels when your clothes fit different, imagine people complimenting (commenting) on your accomplishment. Really dig deep and feel the emotion coupled with the pride. But remember to do this everyday.
Motivation is different for everybody, but at its root it is nothing more than the want, need, desire, compulsion or aspiration to an end result. What motivates you? Go and get it! Don’t fight the awesome!