Updated: Sep 25, 2021
Motivation to exercise is one of the most sought after items! Yes, we all know that exercise is good for us - we get motivated by inspirational people on social media, and we look forward to getting “fit”. We know it is going to be great! But then another week passes by and we still have not started….sound familiar?
You are not alone. It is something that I think is even more difficult since lockdown, when we have been used to our own company and staying at home, maybe still feeing a bit nervous about being in a crowd etc. But motivation to exercise is well researched – and mainly because, as humans, we need to have a “drive” to do something.
Our “Drive Desire” kicks in when we have something to push us – for example a holiday, a wedding, a breakup, a competition, a charity event, a health scare, or even a full-length mirror….whatever the kick is, it switches on a light in our brain that gives us the extra impetus to get up and get going. So, how can we do this when there are none of those drivers there for us?
1. The examples above are all “goals” – which are often motivational for humans, so plan a goal of your own. It has to have an “end date” and a “goal” – e.g., in August I will walk 50,000 steps a week. You can sign up online for these types of goals and even get a medal! Or make your own prize. E.g. I can have **** as a reward for doing this.
2. Much like “Dry January” – signing up, making it public etc, makes you accountable. And science shows us that we are more likely to stick at something if we do not want to let another person down. So, joining with a friend, or doing a charity event, is more likely to make you stick to your exercise – this sounds a bit eye-rollingly boring, but it has been proven time and time again.
3. Fun is essential – so don’t try to do something you hate, or find a huge challenge. Start with the things you like doing – and if you are so fed up you can’t even think of anything you like doing….then start doing all of the things you hate, so go for a run, go to class, and discover what brings you “joy” – by the process of elimination.
4. Time is often cited as a reason to put things off. What I discovered with doing the Café online was that even 20 minutes was a great way to start the day. Setting aside an hour can sometimes be a challenge, so find some little 15 minutes and just do something – lift weights, sit ups, press-ups, stretch, Pilates etc. Don’t even worry about being in sports kit. Grab the time - it all adds up.
5. Finally, find the joy in being happy in your own skin. Try not to use exercise as a way to beat yourself up about your “failings” but more as a way to love yourself. Exercise brings us so many health benefits – both the physical, and mental, and once you start to do things, the change in your anxiety towards more relaxed state is the best motivator going xx
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