Fitness Goal Series Part 2: Finding Motivation
You’ve identified your goal(s) in part one. Here are some tips for finding and maintaining the motivation necessary to succeed.
1) Identify what Motivates You
All of us can find motivation. Negative motivation, “I’m going to exercise, because I hate how I feel at supper if I haven’t” and positive, “I’m going to exercise, because I love the feel of the breeze blowing on my skin.” Both work. Positive motivation is probably healthier and more enjoyable, but I’ve found negative motivation to be helpful and superior to the depressing alternative: not doing anything. Some other ideas of motivators include: charities, people, age (ie: turning 50), personal hardship, prizes, waist sizes, eating chocolate, physical appearance, overall health, and the list can go on.
2) Look for Inspiring Media and Resources
Movies, books, blogs and podcasts offer no short supply of motivational tales, fictional and non. Subscribing to a few great blogs related to your area of interest is an easy way to stay motivated.
3 ) Reward Yourself, Celebrate
Fitness can be fun! Reward yourself along the journey to your goal and have a blowout when you go for it. My friend met me for a pizza pig out after my first marathon. The meal and the time celebrating the accomplishment is one of my sweetest memories.
4 ) Share/Blog/Journal
Writing can be fun. It’s a good way to chart your progress and, surprisingly, of interest to other people! Our efforts can and do inspire others, so share if you feel so inclined. When you become the next Tour de France winner, it will be fascinating to read the early posts on your blog when you had never heard of clip in pedals.
5 ) Have a Mantra
There are rough days and then there are soul crushing, gutter scraping black valley days (20 miles into a race at the bottom of a climb anyone… how about a Monday in January?). Prepare yourself for your fitness goal Dark Night of the Soul with a core motivational saying or mission statement. I read this tip years ago and thought it was bogus – it’s not.
Three “mantras” have rescued me numerous times from bitter bouts with discouragement and fatigue: a Bible verse, the phrase don’t quit, and the thought: one step at a time. Personally, these have been much more than cliches and represent greater life endeavors in a very real way.
Don’t quit speaks to many areas including relationships and integrity. Conjuring this thought in my darkest moments propels my mind to an intensely focused state, sturdy enough to overcome real suffering. [ This should be qualified by mentioning my personal dissection of suffering: vital, necessary suffering and stupid suffering. Each of us has to decide what constitutes a valley to be pushed through versus a foolhardy act.]
6 ) Explore New Areas
Cruising the same environs week in and week out can get boring. Make a habit of exploring new places.
7 ) Experiment
Fiddle around with your technique and equipment. If you run, consider minimalist style shoes. If you road bike, try mountain biking. If you wall climb, try bouldering.
8 ) Mix it Up, Try New Activities
Introduce some muscle confusion, mix in a day or more of cross-training each week. My outlets from running are basketball and swimming. Variety is fun and keeps our main hobbies fresh.