If you haven’t used this past year to learn a new instrument, start baking or get into the best shape of you life, don’t worry. A global pandemic is something most of us have never experienced before, so we shouldn’t set unrealistic expectations when our main goal should be to keep mentally fit. Being in a positive mental state allows you to push yourself that bit further. But with poor mental health it’s no wonder you have gained weight, lost fitness and that instrument is just gathering dust in the corner. But all is not lost! Read on to find out how you can use this time in a more productive way.
Action leads to motivation, not the other way around. Flick through your social media and it will be full of ‘motivational quotes’ but do these really help? I don’t know about you, but an ‘influencer’ flaunting their new fitness plans whilst topping up their tan in Dubai isn’t that motivating. This brings me to me point of intrinsic vs extrinsic motivators.
If you are doing something to gain a return or to avoid something you dislike, you are being motivated extrinsically. If you hate exercising but you know you need to lose weight, try a different kind of exercise! It doesn’t matter that is walking, weight lifting, running, CrossFit, dancing etc because if you enjoy it, you will do it consistently for longer, which will contribute to better results.
Performing tasks that you don’t need motivating for are the intrinsically motivating ones. These fill you with joy, give you a sense of achievement and you look forward to doing them. You won’t have many sick days or excuses not to do them as they fulfil you internally. The more of these tasks you do, the happier you will be.
I never make my clients do anything they genuinely dislike. Hate running? Don’t run. There isn’t one form of exercise that will get you to your goal. You just need to find the right process for you. This might be different to your friends and families methods, but that’s ok!
Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that you will always be motivated to do the things you enjoy. However you will tend to find a way to pick them back up much easier than if they were only motivating you extrinsically.
In my experience, the best way to start is by asking yourself why you want to do X, Y or Z. Everyone has a reason for making a change in their life which on the surface usually sounds like “I want to lose weight”. But this isn’t the real reason for changing. The real reason has a level of emotional attached to it, such as “I want to lose weight so I can fit into my clothes, as this will make me feel confident at work. This confidence will show through my work and will push me towards a promotion which I have been working towards. This means I can save up the extra money to move my family to a bigger home etc.” Ask yourself, what is your real reason for change?
Once you identify the real reason, it will become more important and when challenges arise that could de-rail your progress, the emotion behind the change encourages you to stick with it.
Remember the hardest part of exercise is usually turning up. Once you’ve turned up, the healthy chain reaction follows.
If you need help starting your health and fitness journey for the first time, or the 20th time, I can help! Contact me at email@example.com and let’s start your process.