Do you have those days when you drag yourself out of bed to head to the gym? Or spend enough time thinking up excuses about why your shouldn’t go to make yourself late?
Motivation is a tricky thing. There are people with mantras, who repeat their lines over and over to themselves as a reminder of why they decided to pursue this lifestyle, goal, etc. And you see enough of those flashy pictures on Pinterest or Instagram with quotes like “I regretted my workout this morning, said no one ever.” Usually there is some incredibly fit person doing something awesome that you’re sure you can never do.
What these cards say is that if only you try harder you will see results, if only you put in more effort, if only, if only, if only…. Research has shown that the “fitspo” we see these days doesn’t actually motivate us. It makes us feel worse about ourselves.
Then there’s people like me, who can’t seem to find a mantra that they like enough, much less remember to repeat it to myself when I’m not motivated to get moving. Which brings me to my point. White-knuckling, or holding on to dear life to an exercise habit isn’t sustainable. It makes pulling the covers over your head much easier, it’s probably why you might have issues staying active or aren’t seeing any results (even though you feel like you’re putting in so much effort)
So what do we do? What do we do to keep healthy? We know we need exercise, yet can’t always bring ourselves to do it.
We need to find what we like. We need to find that active thing that we look forward to, whether it be hiking, crossfit, waterskiing, mountain biking, road biking, snow skiing, volleyball, or golf.
Take running for example. Running is sport that has spread like wildfire. Registrations for half and full marathons has skyrocketed in the past few years. And why? It’s an easy sport that most anyone can participate in. It’s easy to make progress by improving your speed or reaching a new distance record. And its tangible. You can set a goal and see real progress to achieving that goal. It’s encouraging and motivating to keep going. Don’t get me wrong, beginning a running program can be like pulling teeth for the first few times out. But it gets easier fast.
So maybe running isn’t your thing, then find what is. Find a sport or activity that you like. And once you discover an active hobby, it’s easier to get up early to go for a bike ride or get in a game of basketball after work. Going to the gym occasionally to improve your skills won’t seem like a colonoscopy. Granted there will be times when you feel like you need rest, but that’s different than dreading your next workout.
To summarize, leading an active lifestyle doesn’t have to be painful. Take time to find an activity that is enjoyable and it will provide the motivation to stay active. Set goals to help improve your level of fitness and to encourage yourself to work hard.