Vigilance & Awareness: Part 3 – Motivation
Cognition of Motivation
Have you ever stopped to think why you workout? Why continue working out? Have you ever lost sight of your rhyme or reason? It’s easy to overlook underlying rationale and struggle when the going gets tough, but that is when we come into our own. Those who are able to persevere are stronger for it while those who succumb to pressure are unlikely to succeed.
Whatever your reason for working out it’s important to never lose sight of your motivation, to always remember your rationale. It’s your principles that have taken your physique to the state they are now and it is your principles that will determine if your physique improves or worsens.
There are a number of reasons to be motivated; some with shallow value and some with deeper value. Surface level motivation includes wanting to look good for swimsuit season; wearing some, brand spanking, new workout clothes; being jacked and tan; trying to win the break-up like Ted in How I Met Your Mother; or wanting to impress the opposite sex, same sex, or in the case of My Strange Addiction a Ferris Wheel, wall or car. Deep-sea motivation includes wanting to feel good about yourself; trying to keep up with your children; the sheer enjoyment of exercise and amelioration of your physical stature; perhaps you are in the midst of triumph in a 30-day challenge; or trying to prove your, Million Dollar Baby, worth.
I use these examples to express my point, and by no means are they all encompassing. Regardless of your motivation to exercise it’s pertinent to never lose sight of it. Over time your initial reasoning may change; for instance, at first you may start exercising for swimsuit season and that evolves and changes to finding enjoyment in exercise and leading a healthy and active lifestyle. If you don’t recognize these changes then you can lose sight of your motivation; and moving onwards may get increasingly difficult (i.e. when swimsuit season is over). So whenever you get to a point and you have to ask, why do I continue to workout? Where did my initial motivation run off to? How do I get my mojo back from Dr. Evil?
What do you do?
Tips to Stay Motivated
In the case of your missing mojo here are a few things you can do to get back in the groove, kicking ass and taking names:
- Keep your exercise equipment and clothes in plain sight: Visual cues are like a light-bulbs going off in your brain. It ties related things together and gives your mind a worthy kick start. Keeping exercise in the forefront of your mind. For instance, keep your workout clothes and shoes right by your keys and phone as you are likely to need both at some point during the day.
- Set a schedule: Get in the groove of your workout routine. Set a routine and stick to it; make sure your routine fits your schedule and sets you up for success. For example, don’t workout in the morning if you aren’t a morning person and take 30 minutes to roll out of bed. Personally, I like to workout early in the day because I tend to have a lot more responsibilities in the evenings.
- Be flexible with a busy routine: Things get busy from time-to-time. It’s at this point you want to be flexible with your workout schedule. Just cause your workout schedule can’t accommodate your busy life schedule doesn’t mean you need to stop cold turkey. Reassess your available time and modify your workouts to fit your busy schedule.
- Set a goal, both small and large: Set milestones for yourself. Make sure you have short term achievable goals and long term goals. For instance, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds set that as your long-term goal and set your short term goal to lose 1 pound per week.
- Reward yourself: Be sure to reward yourself with something once you accomplish your goals. What good is progress if you are constantly focused on getting to the next milestone. Have some chocolate, go on a hike, eat some FroYo!
- Log your workouts: See where you’ve come and where you are going. Keep a log of your workouts and look for small and big improvements made over times (i.e. running faster or lifting more weight)
- Make a contest of it: Recruit your friends and family to join you in your challenge. If your goal is to lose weight see who can lose the most weight over a period of time. If your goal is to do more of an exercise see who can do more squats and pushups over time. Group contests can turn a mundane solitary task into a fun group competition.
- Make it fun: No matter what you do make sure that you enjoy it. Find pleasure in your fitness and wellness routine and discover things you do and don’t like. Don’t force yourself to lift heavy things and put them back down if you won’t be happy to maintain it long term. Do something else, dance, play soccer, go hiking, do something you enjoy that makes you happy.
Regardless of the depth of your motivation it’s important to keep it going strong; persevere and work towards your goals, regardless of their size and magnitude they should encompass what you want out of life. Embody the lifestyle you want, the rest will come over time; don’t wait for tomorrow to roll around for things to magically fix themselves.
In spite of all that is happening in your life never lose sight of your fitness motivation. If you do, take a step back and reassess your rationale then hold on to it dearly.
Pursue something you have a resounding passion for and make sure that you can uphold the values you have set for yourself. It’s up to you to take the next step in life. Is your next step going in the right direction?