Motivation is our fuel for doing something, and the quality of our motivation impacts how long it lasts. Research shows that our primary reason for initiating a change determines whether we experience high or low quality motivation. Outside pressure, or the belief that we “should” do something, leads to low-quality motivation that does not drive long-term behavior change for most. In contrast, when we initiate a behavior out of our daily needs, values, and sense of identity — but because we truly want this change — the result is high-quality, stable motivation: the kind that can fuel us for life.
Evaluate your priorities:
• Is your health one of your top priorities? If not, this could keep you from starting and sticking with fitness. Until you place a high value on health and the many benefits of a physically active lifestyle, your efforts will probably fall short. People make time for things that are important to them. Be honest. Where do health and a physically active lifestyle fit into your value system?
• If fitness feels like one more thing on the to-do list, it is time to reframe your thinking. By thinking of fitness as a “get to do” instead of a “have to do” the inner voice is messaging a positive experience. If you find yourself saying “I have to exercise” and it seems like drudgery imagine if you start telling yourself “I get to exercise”. The inner voice is powerful. What is yours saying?
• Plan ahead by marking your workout time on your calendar. Find some time at lunch or plan to get up 30 minutes earlier a few days a week. Treat fitness like any other appointment. Rate the importance of last minute schedule changes. If you wouldn’t miss work or break plans with a friend then you shouldn’t change your plans to work out.
•Whether we give ourselves permission to put self-care among our top priorities is a very subtle, even sensitive issue that we rarely think about when we create our fitness goals and start. But when we don’t give ourselves permission to prioritize our own self-care (because we feel others should come first, or we just have too much to do), we are unlikely to consistently put regular exercise or eating a healthy diet high on our “must do” lists. Our schedules are so packed that we only have time for things that we feel are truly relevant to our daily lives and compelling enough justify our attention. In order to consider self-care as a top priority once we get a few weeks beyond starting, we need to truly believe that it is essential to our daily well-being and success.
Know the benefits:
• Most results of fitness are not instantaneous, so set realistic expectations. It can take several weeks before seeing improvements in strength, endurance and weight loss. Don’t use the scale as your only measure of progress. Embrace the idea that fitness is about more than losing weight and changing physique. Fitness can help you in many ways more than what is seen from the outside. Fitness can help improve physical function, mental health and can help reduce chronic disease risk for conditions like cardiovascular disease and cancer. Widen your perception to all the health benefits of physical activity.
• Immediate results from Fitness include positive mental outlook. Even short bouts of activity can reduce stress and improve mood through the release of endorphins in the brain. Compare how you feel mentally before and after physical activity. When you connect fitness with these positive feelings you start to realize a more immediate benefit. In addition, long term physical activity can cut your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Embrace your successes:
• Have you tried fitness in the past but fell short by not meeting your goals? While we tend to focus on failures, think about what went well and your successes. If your goal was to exercise five days a week and you consistently made it three days, identify what went right to make that happen. It is also important to spend some time deciding if past fitness goals were too ambitious. You may need to scale back expectations to meet other demands in your life.
• People keep exercising because they have found something they enjoy about it. Maybe it’s the sense of achievement or the comradery. Are you looking forward to your next workout or do you dread it? Or maybe it’s the comfort in knowing that you took time to invest in yourself. Finding the joy in physical activity instead of viewing it as one more thing on the to-do list will keep you motivated.
Track your progress and get connected:
• Setting goals can help you focus and set a clear direction for what you intend to accomplish. Be specific about your fitness plan when you are writing down your goals. “Getting in shape” is vague compared to “I will lift Monday, Wednesday, Friday for 45 minutes before dinner.” This lays out an intentional plan for what the exercise is, when it will take place and for how long. Those that write down goals and record their exercise do better with long-term behavior change.
• Use a fitness app or some other tracking device. Apps can be used for a number of health and fitness things these days. Track your food intake or Track your steps. These apps allow your to connect with other like minded people. Aren’t into apps? join a health and fitness Facebook group or find like minded people on Instagram. Aren’t into the whole digital thing all together? Keep a journal to log your progress. This helps track your workouts, set new personal records and helps with accountability. Getting socially connected and tracking your progress can keep you going, especially if you appreciate healthy competition.
and journals can also be powerful motivators. Check your progress throughout the day and week to week and if you fall short of your goal, then work in
extra hard to get there.
• Recruit an exercise buddy or get a coach. Companionship and coaches creates accountability. Incorporating the social aspects of fitness can keep you stay engaged. Letting a friend down may be harder than letting yourself down. Group training sessions or walking the neighborhood can be great times to reconnect with friends and to become fit at the same time.
Stop trying to be perfect
But how do you sustain this lifestyle for so long, let along forever? I Know you must be thinking the answer is to have strong will power and to be strict on yourself. Yes is does take some building up of your will power and it does take some mental discipline. This naturally comes as you build momentum. But most people burn out because they have the idea they need to be perfect with their plans. Believing in the idea that your health and fitness plan has to be perfect is a set-up for complete failure.
Strategies for sustainability
Whether you thrive on rigid schedules or feel oppressed by them, understanding what works for you is crucial to designing lasting resolutions. Strategies for sustainability help you negotiate the unexpected and ever-changing needs of your days so you can stick with your resolutions, despite the curveballs life throws at our plans. The ability to be nimble and flexible with our plans, always looking for creative ways to move or eat well, helps us maintain consistency on most days, even when we can’t hit the bulls-eye we hoped for.
I strongly encourage you to start building your strategy toolkit now–shrinking your goals, starting small and slow, and learning to adapt your plans on the fly. Also, rather than critical, try being compassionate with yourself when you missed a planned exercise session or eat something you regret – research shows this is a more motivational strategy. Instead focus on overall consistency.
Staying Active Pays Off!
Those who are physically active tend to live longer, healthier lives. Research shows that just moderate physical activity—such as 30 minutes a day of brisk walking—significantly contributes to longevity. Even a person with risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes or even a smoking habit can gain real benefits from incorporating regular physical activity into their dailylife.
As many dieters have found, fitness can help you stay on a diet and lose weight. What’s more – regular exercise can help lower blood pressure, control blood
sugar, improve cholesterol levels and build stronger, denser bones.
Fitness Motivation is fleeting
So don’t rely on it and willpower alone Because because these are feeling’s that have be proven to deplete over and over again with time. Start small and build your momentum up, as the momentum grows motivation will follow more and more with time. You will soon develop you’re own rhythm, many refer to this rhythm as your positive feed back loop. I simply call it a lifestyle.
Nobody ever said reaching your fitness goals, losing fat, or building muscle was going to be easy, but trust me it’ll be worth it.
For Complete Strength Build Programs Check our True Will Programs. Designed specifically for building new goals consistently, fueling your drive.
Apply for 1-on-1 Coaching and Let’s Talk