Written by Bob Amic
For those of you who have been reading my articles over the past years, you may have noticed that I seem to write an awful lot about the concept of motivation, especially as it relates to the health and fitness side of life. Throughout my career, I have become more and more fascinated by the human mind. What makes us tick? What causes one person to succeed and the other to fail? You see, I talk to people nearly every day who are seeking to improve their health and the common thread is getting and staying motivated and sticking to their fitness program.
Many of us start an exercise routine with a burst of enthusiasm only to see the initial momentum evaporate, causing us to throw in the towel prematurely. But before we let this happen, we need to understand the basic concepts of motivation.
Motivation first starts with a need or desire. It could be that we are confronted with a severe health issue and you are now “required” to exercise. Given that ultimatum, you now have some very powerful reasons to get moving. Or maybe you are just constantly fatigued and need a method to develop an energy boost. How about those that are going to the beach and want to shed some excess fat? Whatever the case, our need or desire is what propels us forward, gets us into the gym or on the trail and leads us to healthier eating and dietary habits.
Here are six basic rules of motivation, when practiced, will keep us on the path to achieving the level of health and fitness that we desire.
Set your goal and follow the path that leads you to it. Let’s say that you want to drop twenty pounds of fat in twenty weeks. If your goal was developed using the S.M.A.R.T method of goal setting (shame on you if you don’t know what that means by now), map out what it’s going to take to get you there. Once mapped out, follow that path!
If you start it, finish it. Getting part way there will no doubt leave you unfulfilled and give you thoughts of failure. Besides, quitting becomes a habit, just as accomplishing your goals becomes habitual. So develop the habit of finishing what you start.
Learn the art of learning. Waiting for someone to “teach” you takes the responsibility off of your shoulders and helps induce procrastination. But if you educate yourself, whether it is by reading some quality books, hiring the right personal trainer to guide you, or taking educational courses, you’ll create a sound knowledge base to keep you moving.
Do what you love and love what you do. We have personal preferences, so choose what you like. If you are a social person, maybe group fitness classes is what you’ll love. If you love being outdoors, then you can’t beat a bike ride or a brisk walk on the trail. Face it, if you don’t like it, you won’t do it for very long.
Make a circle. That is, a circle of support. Mutual support from others with similar goals and interests is extremely motivating. Positive attitudes create a great cycle of encouragement when your own may begin to falter.
Take a chance. We all have heard the saying, “nothing ventured, nothing gained”, so don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and try something different. If you’re bored with the same routine or your results have stagnated, break free! We in the business call this “cross training”. Mix it up a bit by varying your workouts, training times, train indoors and outdoors, and lose the fear of change.
As author Stephen R. Covey said, “Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly”.