Motivation for getting active
When talking with my clients I often hear them say they wish they had more will power or if only they could commit to a plan then they would be fine. My answer to them is always the same – it’s not your fault and it’s not will power that will get you across the finish line.
One of the reasons is that we mistakenly believe that our inability to follow through or commit to things is because we are weak or lazy or too busy. When in fact it is more about your reasons for choosing to do something in the first place. I call this your ‘CORE’ or compelling reason – the desire at the very heart of things. If we don’t choose something that gets us tingling with excitement or is something we are totally invested in then 99.9% of the time we will find ourselves lacking motivation and commitment and not following through and ending up back on the couch again wishing we were doing something.
The other reason for not being able to complete our goals or programmes we have started is that it is too much too soon. Yes, there are some people who are all or nothing people but many of us have so many things happening in our lives that even the best-laid plans get pushed to one side as soon as ‘life happens’. So what can we do about these things?
FIND YOUR CORE
Choosing an event or date is a fantastic way to create commitment and focus – you have a deadline and something tangible to work towards. It also means what you are doing is not forever which allows us a little more drive than what we may normally have. The key is to find one that speaks to you and you alone. Don’t choose an event your friends want to do (unless you are super excited about it) or you think you should do, choose something you would love to accomplish or a date that is important to you – your birthday, a wedding where you want to wear an amazing dress, a 5km run, a challenge at your local gym or online. It does not matter how big or small it is, what is important is that it’s your desire and your driver. This is what is going to get you out of bed on a cold morning or to follow through with a workout that means missing an outing with friends. If your compelling reason to achieve something is strong enough then it will keep you on track, keep you focused and help you make the right choices to achieve your goals.
Take some time to think about what would really drive you to follow through, what you would enjoy, what would make you feel great and then have a look around at local events, online challenges, special occasions in your diary and create your ‘CORE’.
KEEP IT SMALL
Starting out on a 6-day-a-week routine and programme sounds good in theory, but many of us simply don’t have that time. Nor do we actually need to do that much to achieve most of the health and fitness goals out there – quality over quantity is always the winner in my book. This is actually a hard one for many people as we have this built-in thought pattern that we must do lots of training to achieve our goals and in reality, this sets many of us up to fail as it is simply too much. Starting on a programme or plan that has structure and routine is key to create motivation and consistency but it must build up and help you create great habits at the same time if it is going to work optimally for you.
Look for guides that have levels such as beginner, intermediate and advanced or choose programmes that advance as you do. There are some great online options that allow you to programme in where you want to start and how many days you want to train – these are excellent as they allow you to customise and create your bespoke exercise routine that fits with your life. Check out Freeletics or Body Blue Print as a good starting point. To start creating your routine, schedule in three days a week and make them happen. I always like to schedule my number of days and plan on a backup day at the same time so I have a ‘spare’ if anything happens. You are the sum of what you do consistently, not what you do occasionally, so make sure whatever you plan you can keep doing.
The key to success and staying motivated in movement is ensuring it makes you happy, it fits into your life and you have a compelling reason to keep going when life throws you a curveball - this will happen, so being prepared for it is paramount.
Lee-Anne Wann is a fitness specialist, nutritionist, presenter and author. She currently runs a health and fitness consultancy business providing companies and organisations with health, nutrition and wellness solutions and content, she also runs a private nutrition practice and was a television host for TVNZ’s ‘Kiwi Living’.