Motivation Is Half the Exercise
A regular workout requires sacrifice and commitment. Each time you decide to be consistent with your exercising schedule and stick to it, you are walking a fine line between success and failure. It’s easy to give up and think short-term.
The key thing is to learn how to negotiate with yourself. You can’t only drastically change your lifestyle and punish yourself if you don’t stay consistent. We can all relate to the story of having a strong desire to get into shape and losing the willpower to keep going after just a few weeks. However, this doesn’t mean you are a failure.
Motivation is not about punishment and self-doubt. It’s about finding the most reasonable and stimulating way to keep you going. Listen to your inner voice if you want to motivate yourself to work out properly.
First, you need to put yourself in the right mindset. We can all get riled up about our lazy lifestyle and the desire to make some change. We can even get through the planning phase – which includes applying for membership at the gym or a fitness program, buying fitness clothes and equipment, and creating a schedule. However, once the time comes to go out and actually start working out finally, we will most likely think of an excuse to postpone it.
You should be honest with yourself and admit there is no “tomorrow” when it comes to exercising. Unless something drastic happens, today is the perfect time to start. It’s a small change in your mindset, but it can lead to great changes in your life.
When you get out of bed every morning, stand in front of the mirror and say the affirmative phrases such as “I will” and “I can” to your own face. The cumulative effect of this will leave you more confident and willing to push through muscle soreness and laziness until you achieve the desired musculature.
There’s also another thing you can do in front of the mirror – accepting yourself. Being negative about the way you look won’t motivate you to work out. In fact, it will have the opposite effect. It will drain you. You have to stop saying “I need to change” and set the goal with the positive affirmation in mind. It is not about losing weight, it is about building up your endurance, your energy, and your strength.
Goals and schedules
Before you challenge yourself with big goals that will take a lot of time to achieve, start with simple goals. If you are too ambitious when it comes to fitness, you are bound to fail. Instead, gradually build your workout intensity towards more ambitious targets.
For example, if you haven’t exercised in a while (or haven’t exercised at all for that matter), your short-term goal would be to walk every night for a fixed amount of time. This is where the issue of schedule comes in.
Sticking to the schedule is the cornerstone of a successful fitness regime. Take some time out of a weekend night and, instead of watching an episode of a sitcom, go to your work desk and write your schedule down.
It’s important not to write beyond your immediate goal. If it’s walking every night between 9PM and 10PM for two weeks, you should stop there. Take a piece of paper with your schedule and hang it on a fridge or a corkboard. It should always be somewhere in your sight to remind you of your commitment consistently.
If you end up not sticking to your schedule, scraping it is not a good idea. Instead, “take it from the top” once again and work towards a goal. This is not a particularly harsh punishment, but it should motivate you to try harder.
Keeping a workout diary can help, too. Buy a small notebook and write in it every night. The goal is to keep detailed records of what you’ve done during each exercise session and how you felt afterward. This can help you keep track of your progress, which can serve as a reliable motivator.
Once you hit a previously set benchmark with your fitness schedule, you can reward yourself with a new piece of equipment. This can serve both as a form of reward and a motivator to commit to your workout with more zeal. Something like an appealing pair of weightlifting shoes is an excellent addition to people who are in the advanced stage of their exercises. This type of footwear is made with a raised heel, which allows you to squat into a deeper position.
You can also reward yourself with a day at the spa or a massage, however, don’t go too big. For example, buying a treadmill for your home as a form of reward for overcoming a workout goal can be a true overkill. Additionally, it becomes hard to top such ambitions and to lavish rewards, which is not okay for your motivation.
Some people recommend a kind of a reward after every successful exercise. Rewards of this sort can range from a piece of candy to a movie night out. However, this system of frequent rewards isn’t very advisable nor sustainable.
It will lessen the impact of the compensation over time, and you’ll end up gorging yourself with the candy that has created a problem in the first place. We tend to lack inhibitions when it comes to things we love, and constant rewarding can quickly spiral down into indulgence before you can blink. This brings you back to square one.
As it was mentioned before, you need to think about the things that give you pleasure. Fitness is an especially sensitive lifestyle change regarding “falling from grace, ” and you need to be aware of that at all times. Rewards are meaningful when they are scarcer and after you’ve achieved a significant goal.
Your motivation to workout is just like any other muscle in your body. You have to work on it diligently and find a way to stay consistent without losing the sight of your final goal.
This is the last trick you need to know about motivation – once you’ve achieved the set goal, it’s not about “retiring and going home.” Instead, you find a new target and motivate yourself to work out until you’ve achieved that one too, and the cycle continues. There is no end to self-improvement.
by Diana Smith