Motivation to get fit. Ugh!! The very phrase brings images of a hyper-enthusiastic, highly irritating keep-fit fanatic bouncing around in lycra – but bear with me. Let’s look at what motivation actually is. Why? It’s vital. It’s what makes you do something, anything and stick at it.
I’ve done courses on the subject and studied the psychology of it, but the important stuff is quite simple and well worth a few moments of your time considering.
Whenever you start to do anything different it’s because you were motivated to do so. It’s what made you get out of bed this morning (assuming that you did of course!!;-)) . It happens all day every day. We do what we do because we are subconsciously weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of both doing and of not doing ‘it’. Most of the time it’s a normal part of or daily life, a habit and we’re barely aware our brain is almost continually making these decisions. Ultimately, that’s what we’re aiming for here, to develop a new habit.
It’s only when we’re faced with a big dilemma that motivation becomes more obvious. Motivation is the emotion we get when we imagine how we would feel if we did or did not do ‘it’. So, what we’re talking about is trying to find a good enough reason to take action, right? Well, partly.
Whenever you are considering change, what you are actually searching for is your primary, specific and key ‘driver’ to both start and to keep at it. It must be personal, to come from you. If you’re just doing it to please someone else or because everyone else is doing it, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll stick at it even if you do get started. It also needs to be specific, nothing too general. “I want to be fit enough to keep up with my children” isn’t enough (but a very common one I hear).
Take some time to have a serious think
You need to get an image in your mind that pricks your emotions. Here are two proven ways to find it.
Firstly, write down the advantages and then the disadvantages of doing ‘it’. Now do the same for not doing ‘it’. Take a look at what you wrote as advantages for doing and compare to disadvantages of not doing. Notice anything? This is your key driver. Your motivation.
Next, on a scale of 1-10 where 10 is highly beneficial, how beneficial would it be for you to do ‘it’? Why did you give it this score? Why didn’t you give it a 2? Got your answer? Something along the lines of;
“It’s because I don’t want…..” or
“It’s because I want…..”.
Write it down or even better, get an image and stick it in places you’ll see it repeatedly throughout your day. This will work on a subconscious level.
After you have taken action and started doing ‘it’, try to work it into a regular part of your daily or weekly routine until it becomes a habit, something you just do. Your key driving motivation will most likely remain but should become bolstered as you progressively discover new benefits, making the the desire to keep at it even stronger.
Why all this? Because there will be times when you really will need a good reason to do it or you may be finding it hard to get to it back if you’ve slackened off (which is normal and to be expected).
Taking some time to think deeply about your motivation for, let’s say starting personal training(!) is the key to your long-term success.