Motivation is something we all struggle with when it comes to exercise! Exercise is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves on a regular basis. Finding what motivates you is a great tool to increase consistency. As a personal trainer, I have found the following to work for myself and my clients.
1. Visualize your goals. Whether it is toning up before a special event or losing weight before swimsuit season let the power of your mental image allow you to stay committed to what you would like to achieve.
2. Stop putting limitations on yourself. We are all guilty of this one! Too old, too overweight, too weak, too tired, don’t have enough time…. We quit before we even start! Try pushing past your perceived limitations to see what your body is really capable of.
3. Pain doesn’t last forever. Yes, it may be painful. I guess that’s why it’s called a ‘workout’ but in the grand scheme of things it is a short period of time…..1 hour of work gives you 23 hours of accomplishment.
4. Set realistic goals. Without something to shoot towards, it’s easy to get discouraged and give up. It’s hard enough to make changes in our life and accomplish what we desire – if your goal is unrealistic, or not well defined, then you’re starting out with an immediate handicap. Start with simple health goals and expand them as your confidence and commitment grows.
5. Reward yourself. Having an extrinsic reward is so powerful because your brain can latch on to it and make the link that the behavior is worthwhile. Over time, the motivation becomes intrinsic, as the brain begins to associate sweat and pain with the surge of endorphins — those feel-good chemicals released in the brain that are responsible for that “I-feel-freaking-amazing” rush you get after a great gym session. Once you’ve trained your brain to recognize that the workout itself is the reward, you won’t even want the treat but in the meantime, reward yourself with those new workout pants or a small frozen yogurt.
No matter how you get there, you know you’ve succeeded once the day arrives when you can’t imagine skipping your workout. You can call it an addiction, a pleasure or an escape. But the important thing is that you’re doing it on a regular basis, and that you’re doing it for you. Always remember there is no such thing as a bad workout!