Getting motivated and staying motivated to exercise can be challenging for everyone from the average exerciser to the competitive athlete. Since most people fall into the latter category, it seems that motivation is blocked by any number of excuses.
After much exhaustive research (I asked some people at the gym), I heard the same thing over and over again: “I’m just not motivated.” Furthermore, lack of motivation is encouraged as we create our own excuses to avoid physical activity. “I can’t possibly exercise when my closet is such a mess!”
So where do we find that motivation? We have all heard “dig deep” in reference to motivation, or set a goal, or find a friend to work out with, etc., and these are all wonderful ways to find motivation.
But, what do you do when you are still more inclined to be sedentary than to be active? I reference the tortoise in this circumstance, “slow and steady wins the race,” but this is a race to a better lifestyle and that definitely takes some time.
- Walk out into the sun, that’s it, just go outside. The warm sun actually makes you feel energized when you find yourself trapped in your office or in your laundry room all afternoon.
- Write down why you should be motivated and post it on the refrigerator, on your computer or wherever you will see it every day.
- Go ahead and ask yourself what your motivation is to do every other thing in your life. You may find the answers are universal and range anywhere from love to necessity. It IS necessary to LOVE yourself enough to be healthy.
If you decide to start with nutrition and eating better, then stick with that for at least six weeks, long enough for it to become routine in your life. The same is true for regular exercise. You have to give it time; remember slow and steady.
As you begin to create new habits, your motivation will change. Would you like to enter a race? Motivate yourself by actually sending in the registration fee. Do you want to learn how to weight train? Find a teacher and be motivated by watching your muscles work. A teacher can be your super-fit friend or fitness professional.
Motivation to exercise should be something that exists in the here and now. Instead of saying “I am motivated to lose 50 pounds,” think “I am motivated to walk a mile, to run up Sixth Street, to swim 10 laps, to hike Mt. Woodson.” These are attainable and real and that is what motivation is about, visualizing your success that may only be days away. Each time you achieve a new small goal, the larger ones don’t seem so hard to attain.
So, what can you do right now? Wherever you are reading right now, take 30 seconds to breathe deeply, tighten up your center and sit up tall. I bet you feel better already!
More tips and everyday encouragement can be found on my Web site, www.mackzfitness.com.
Victoria Mac Kenzie, the group fitness coordinator for Ramona Fitness Center, has been a fitness instructor and personal trainer for 10 years.