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Motivation can be defined as "what drives us to maintain or achieve goals." It could even be considered a form of desire. Things change a little when you look at it that way, at least for many of us.
There are a lot of thoughts and ideas that go into creating a consistent exercise routine. Often a good recipe for creating a plan is a well thought out goal big or small, preparation, discipline, and commitment. But one of the most important, and sometimes most elusive, is motivation.
We frequently wait for motivation to exercise, believing that it will appear when we wake up. However, for many of us, the desire to exercise is best during the planning period, because most of us are working toward a future objective, such as losing weight.
Consider that for a moment. You're in a completely different mindset when you're planning a future workout. You're probably comfortable, refreshed, and in a good mood, perhaps imagining yourself completing a workout and succeeding.
What happens, though, when the alarm clock goes off at 5 a.m.? Or when you're driving home from a long day at work? That spark of inspiration has vanished. Understanding motivation is a difficult task but understanding just what it is and how to use it to your advantage can help you harness its power.
Well, what is motivation? Motivation can be defined as "what drives us to maintain or achieve goals." It could even be considered a form of desire.
Things change a little when you look at it that way, at least for many of us. Yes, you should exercise, you need to exercise, and you want to want to exercise, but do you want to exercise?
Maybe for some people—they enjoy the way it feels to exercise. However, for many of us, exercise is thought to have a single end goal—helping you lose weight, look better, get stronger, feel better, be healthy, avoid diabetes, and so on.
That's not the same as wanting to exercise, which is why so many of us hit a brick wall. We set goals, make plans, and perhaps even stick to those plans for a little bit. However, we may find that our motivation eventually starts to wane and wonder what we're doing wrong and why we can't be consistently motivated.
We must understand motivation is going to look different for everyone. It is also crucial to know where your motivation comes from and that differently types of motivation exist. There are external things that motivate you which are extrinsic motivators and then there are internal desires that drive you which are intrinsic motivators.
Extrinsic motivators are the kind of motivation most people usually rely on when it comes to exercising. Simply put, you exercise for external outcomes such as getting fitter, improving appearance, weight loss or 'toning up'. Other extrinsic motivators would be things like, looking good in a bathing suit, losing weight for your up coming high school reunion, losing weight for your planned vacation, wanting to fit into that old pair of jeans, wanting to look good for your significant other.
When you have that kind of motivation, you're not necessarily exercising because you enjoy it or even like to. You're exercising because it's going to give you what you want in a short period of time which usually lacks true value.
This is not always a bad thing because you still set goals to achieve and most likely pushed yourself to get to them and stayed consistent even when you did not want to. The key is being able to transfer the same fundamental reasons to other goals that are not short lived.
On the other side of that, intrinsic motivation comes from things that drive you from within. This is something that is important to you with no future goals attached to it. Examples of intrinsic motivation would be, exercising because it makes you feel good, running because you enjoy the runners high, working out because it relieves stress, enjoying getting stronger, exercising because it is time to yourself, etc.
Both types of motivation are essential for staying on track. Intrinsic motivation is what propels you, whereas extrinsic motivation acts as a supplement to what drives you from within. You can tap into both whenever you're faced with the decision of whether to work out or sleep.
Now that we understand the difference in motivation, now the question is why are some people motivated to exercise?
There are a lot of factors as to why you might not be motivated to work out or why you aren’t as motivated as you used to be. Sometimes it’s the barriers of being stuck where you are. What I mean by this is, if you sit at a desk all day at work, you will get used to sitting and it is harder to get your body moving. If you are overweight, it is so much harder to exercise when you aren’t used to it. Honestly, starting out you will most likely experience joint pain because it takes more and it’s harder to move a heavier body. Not to mention how you may already feel about your own body imagine. This can make it very difficult to and often intimidating to start exercising. We also have life in general, people are busy and the busier you get the easier it can be to make an excuse not to go. While exercise is intended to reduce stress, it also places stress on the body. Working out may be the last thing on your mind if you're stressed, even though it's probably the best thing for you. What we are saying is, the world we live in makes it difficult to exercise, and we can sometimes blame our surroundings for making it more difficult to exercise. However, there are more fitness options than ever before.
There are also internal barriers we set up without even realizing it are other things going on that keep us from exercising. These include fear, confusion, pain and suffering, laziness, frustration, etc. All these things make it more difficult to find your motivation to go work out. If you are scared, it’s easy to not go because you think you can hurt yourself or look weird. If you are confused on what to do, it is easy to save the intimidation and thought of looking like an idiot by not going at all. It’s hard to work out if you have pain you are working through. If you have been working out without seeing results, of course it is easy to quit because you don’t see the immediate result and lastly, if you don’t like working out to begin with why start?
That is a good question, how do you find your motivation to get going? How do you stay motivated? If you want to boost your motivation, you can take several steps. Many researchers claim to have discovered that moving slowly helps you achieve your goals more quickly. It is more effective to approach each step, such as developing one habit at a time, rather than attempting to accommodate multiple customs. This reduces cognitive load, allowing your brain to learn habits and motivate you.
In layman's terms, when your brain has less to process, it's easier to eat more vegetables or go to the gym on a regular basis.
What's interesting about motivation is that it can shift daily. Maybe yesterday you were motivated to exercise simply because it's what you normally do first thing in the morning. That doesn't work the next day since you're fatigued. So, what's next?
You might have to look a little harder for a cause to get out of bed. Perhaps you require a motivator, such as "If I complete my workout this morning, I will be able to get Starbucks." Whatever it is, you may need to try a few different options until you find something that works for you.
Furthermore, you must make some adjustments for motivation to work for you. If there are too many barriers, you will simply give up.
When you create great tasks, your brain relies on precedents (I will lose about 20 lbs.). So, unless you've previously been successful, there's a chance your brain will subconsciously remind you of past failures, leading to learned helplessness. You will come to expect failure if you fail frequently enough.
Instead, let us try focusing on small, attainable goals. Find ways to explain why they are important, and set intentions, and you will have created an environment that promotes good habits, reduced stress, and increased motivation.
Here are a few options to consider:
You must keep working hard, putting in the effort, and being consistent. However, by making your goal simple, clear, and easy to achieve, you reinforce a process that increases the likelihood of success.
It may appear simple, if not absurd. However, you will no longer be concerned about a lack of motivation in a short period of time. Motivation is just one part of becoming an exerciser. It’s something many people struggle with but rather than letting your motivation faded, think about what you want and why you started outside of your short-term success. People who consistently exercise look for a reason to go it because they understand the core value of how it makes life better. What makes your life better? How does it relate to fitness? Can you help others by them seeing your journey? This are things that will help you find what keeps you motivated.