Are you tired of talking about getting moving again and not doing it? Or setting your New Year’s resolutions and goals to start working out and continue putting it off? How do you change from being dormant to wanting to move and exercise again? Although this is far from easy, and there are thousands of reasons we can find why not to, I would like to share my five actionable tips to help make this process seem manageable and motivating!
No matter how difficult and out of reach your health and fitness goals seem, these techniques will provide you with the motivation and courage to get your health and fitness back on track! Let’s focus on the areas we have neglected and now need to be adjusted after the pandemic.
The below quote is one of my favourite’s and is an excellent reminder that we have the power, and no one can do this for you.
Words by Dr Wayne Dyer, the “Father of Motivation” himself, “Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.”
Firstly, one needs to understand that humans have the unique and incredible capacity to experience a wide range of emotions. But if you let your feelings dictate your life experience without pinpointing why you feel a particular way, your emotions control you. Over time, this affects how you think and act every single day. If a sense of well-being fuels you, you’ll exude happiness and calm. If you’re bogged down by negativity, those around you will sense your unhappiness and fear.
How can you avoid the latter? The truth is that you are entirely in charge of how you feel, including whether you feel motivated or not. Once you understand that your feelings are within your control, you’re well on your way to understanding how to control them and use them to your advantage.
Motivation is not something people are born with – it’s something you must create. Building motivation creates the feeling of courage and certainty that you can accomplish what you set out to do. Motivation is like any other emotion. It is something you feel, and you can train yourself to access it instantly.
Learning how to get your motivation back in the face of fear, stress and anxiety take practice and persistence. Think of it as learning a new skill. Once you’ve mastered it, it can be extremely liberating. Similarly, being brave and having courage when the situation calls for it can also be cultivated. Remember that life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it.
Below are five ways to create motivation within yourself, no matter how much you don’t want to or believe that it’s not possible.
1. Use the “5 Second Rule” by Mel Robbins and do it now.
The 5-second rule is simple. If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within five seconds, or your brain will kill it. Hesitation is the kiss of death. You might hesitate for just a nanosecond, but that’s all it takes. That one slight hesitation triggers a mental system that’s designed to stop you. And it happens in less than, you guessed it, five seconds. Next time your alarm goes off to get up and go to the gym or do your morning exercise, count down in your head 5,4,3,2,1 and immediately push yourself out of bed.
The truth is, you’re never going to feel like it, so remember that and be the one that pushes through the mental barrier and start moving! It’s been shown in studies at Harvard University that you’re 87% more likely to go and do what you set out to for the day if you just push through that initial sticking point. This simple technique can be used to start training again and can also be used to overcome depression, follow it exactly, and it just works.
This same type of principle is quoted in the movie, We Bought a Zoo, Matt Damon’s character tells his son, who’s struggling to share his feelings with a girl he likes, “You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”Fear can seem overwhelming if you think you’re going to have to experience it for days or hours. But everyone can face their fear for just 20 seconds. Or even less. Often, you just have to take one simple action, knock down the first domino, which sets the whole course of things in motion. The die is cast! You force your own hand; you burn the bridge behind you; you have no choice but to engage with what follows next.
2. Acknowledge your lack of motivation or fear of getting started and confront it!
“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse,” Jim Rohn. Acknowledge the fear that you aren’t moving enough and could be taking years off your life or that you won’t feel confident in a bathing suit at the beach or pool this summer. While you’re lying in bed and that same hesitation comes up that has been for the last two years and the feeling of not wanting to get up arises, grab on to those parts of your body that you’re feeling the least happy about, your love handles, your stomach, whatever it may be and squeeze them. Allow yourself to feel into that uncomfortable feeling and guilt and use it for good as ammunition to get yourself out of bed and start exercising. Pain is our greatest motivator of all, so don’t be afraid to use it!
3. The “DO SOMETHING” principle by Mark Manson.
Doing something towards your health and fitness goals will provide motivation and the courage to keep moving and stay motivated. The conclusion is that if you lack the motivation to make an important change in your life, then do something, anything really, and then harness the reaction to that action to begin motivating yourself. “Action isn’t just the effect of motivation, but also the cause of it.” (Your actions create further emotional reactions and inspirations and move on to motivate your future) Action → Inspiration → Motivation. With action, you will gain inspiration and eventually be motivated to continue to train due to just starting on one small thing like going for your first long walk or doing some push-ups in your home. Pretty soon, you’ll be doing an entire workout routine with ease, without any thought of difficulty.
If you require the courage and confidence to go into a gym? Do reconnaissance to remove aspects of the unknown. Go in and check it out, meet the coaches and see where you are going into. Or you may want to just start by doing a form of mindfulness, such as downloading 1 Giant Mind or the Calm app to begin meditating or practice breathwork and box breathing. Whatever it is, just start by doing, and this will roll into inspired motivation. Remember that perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races, one after the other.
4. Find motivation in numbers.
It’s much easier to act in the company of even one other person who feels the way you do. The hardest thing in the world is to dissent solo. Sometimes, you’ll have to go it alone, of course. But often, this isn’t necessary. Find a coach, personal trainer or mentor that resonates with you, speaks your language and one you believe you would want to spend time with. That in itself can sometimes be the motivation that you require.
5. Reward yourself every step of the way.
Reinforce your successes by giving yourself a reward when dealing with what is holding you back or your fear of getting started. This could be a physical treat, like a nice bottle of wine, or a mental treat, like taking a break from training or human interaction and binge-watching a show on Netflix. By rewarding yourself and celebrating the small wins, you reinforce your motivation to take more inspired action and keep going. Don’t forget that it’s about the process, not the destination.
You are now psychologically and emotionally equipped to go out and start moving again. The only thing to do next is to decide what steps you will take today to challenge yourself and others to hit your health and fitness goals this year.