We all struggle to fit in new tasks in the day. i.e. Tasks that will help us to get into shape. We all have our own personal circumstances and struggles and although this can be a big distraction the main thing that helped me the most was when I specifically focused on finding the real reasons why I could not get myself to exercise. I went through this process over and over again and eventually came to the conclusion that it was all to do with my state of mind. It was not my physical state that was stopping me from getting into shape, it was my mental state.
For me, staying motivated is a combination of a lot of things. They are very simple to grasp but may take some time to actually implement depending on your personal state of mind.
What Motivates Me?
I am motivated by our ability to visualize and articulate positive messages to ourselves, regardless of our environment. Good health motivates me. Nature motivates me as well as being around people that have a positive outlook in life.
Trying To Understand What Drives Me
I remember buying new writing books and on the first few pages my handwriting was always neat, but gradually it began to get untidy and this pattern would always emerge with every new writing book. Why did that happen? Well, I personally know that it was a feeling of starting something new, the excitement of a brand new book, the need to keep it looking new and neat. We tend to look after or keep an eye on things that are new, but when do we decide that it has become old? Is it when it has had its’ first smudge, spelling mistake, crossing out or scribble?
It’s a bit like motivation isn’t it? The early days of doing something new carries high levels of motivation and enthusiasm. We might get brilliant new running shoes and we conjure up all sorts of great images in our mind of running, training and keeping fit. This is all great for visualizing but it’s like that brand new writing book. We start running and our chest starts burning, we struggle to breathe and we begin to feel like we’re going to collapse then suddenly the running shoes aren’t so exciting any more. When reality sets in, the effort of running is like that first smudge or spelling mistake, the point at which the ‘new’ becomes the ‘old’ and suddenly getting into shape is not so exciting anymore. It’s just old now so why try and keep it looking new right?
With material things, we know that they’ll break and eventually we will buy something new and everything will be alright again. But what happens when we do not look after our own sense of drive, enthusiasm or excitement to get healthy? What happens when we start looking upon those things as old? Seriously, what do we do? Are they the beginnings of giving up? Our only option is to find ways of renewing this sense of drive, enthusiasm and excitement. We can only do this is in our own mind with our own effort by understanding what it is that motivates and drives us.
Now look I don’t want to make things seem dumb, but our excitement for something new can completely overwhelm our real sense of purpose. in other words don’t lose yourself in excitement, just get on with it. People will work long hours just to get hold of something new, travel the planet to see something new, visit theme parks to experience a new ride. Everything is geared towards something new while being oblivious to the fact that it is not the material things that carry the value, it is our continual hunger or sense of feeling renewed as a person.
Staying Motivated Requires A Real Sense Of Honesty
There are questions that you need to answer with complete honesty, I mean real honesty, not where you feel the need to discuss or prove to those around you, but the type of raw honesty where thoughts on the subject remain only with yourself, after all, that’s all you have when you exercise isn’t it? Yourself, your mind and the world or if you’re like me, then God too !!
Remember no one can provide physical strength for you. They will not lift your legs for you to help you run and even if somehow they did, your muscles will still not have been trained. They can only be trained with your effort, they can only be strengthened if you want them strengthened. No one can improve your mindset by climbing inside your brain, turning some switches and putting you in a state of positivity. As I have mentioned in one of my earlier articles, you have got to to want to do all this yourself.
You have got to realise that even in a group training session, although you might feel more enthusiastic, you are still carrying out the exercises yourself.
I have been guilty of some of these at some point in my life. Maybe I wanted to get into shape but also wanted to see results immediately and without too much effort. It might be worth considering whether you have ever felt like this and why.
Start Exercising And Stop Leading Up To It
The desire to get into shape is fine but getting discouraged after a few weeks totally defeats the object of exercising. I know it can be difficult but one great way that kept me motivated was to stop doing those little things that apparently ‘lead up’ to training. You know that sort of things I’m talking about like buying exercise equipment, gadgets and accessories and not and not using them.
When we exercise we are mentally chasing after something, a goal of some sort. A new look, a new feeling of confidence, a new personal record or a new feeling of strength. Whatever it is, these things lead to some sort of new sense of fulfillment.
We want things immediately but because we are aware that getting in shape is not immediate and it requires hard work, we tend to step down from this higher goal, reach for the next best immediate thing to get into shape. The next best things are the exercise equipment, gadgets and accessories I mentioned. All this to convince ourselves that we leading up to getting into shape.
Realistically, what do you need to try your first few push-ups? A mat? Push-up bars? A Gym? A personal trainer? You do not need any of those things. What you need to do for your fir attempts of push-ups is to get on the floor and try it.
I train in my local park and the last time I bought an exercise mat, I ended up using it for a picnic. There’s nothing wrong with buying the equipment but just use it …….. please !!
So what has all this talk of material things and exercise equipment got to do with staying motivated?
Motivation involves real honesty. The buying of exercise equipment is just an example of how easy it is to convince ourselves that we are taking a step towards getting into shape when really all we are doing is buying exercise equipment. This fooling ourselves part is usually a result of being unaware about how honest we need to be to get into shape. In other words when we say to ourselves, “I’m going to get into shape” we should just do it.
So how do I stay motivated? I stay motivated by being honest to myself about what it is I want to achieve and then taking the right steps to achieve them. I concentrate on developing a habit of consciously finding a solution instead of an excuse. In this way I am able to creatively manipulate any negative feelings with positive ones.
I exercise to produce results that I can see and feel which in turn renews my levels of enthusiasm, excitement and drive to stay healthy and in shape.
Final thoughts: You know as well as I do that deep down in your heart you have a massive amount of inner strength. So use it, it’s your gift to you and it’s free.