EXCUSES MAY HOLD US BACK
It seems to me that very few people would argue against the value of motivation in workouts – or in anything else that we may want to do.
Very Well Fit tells us that motivation is what drives us to maintain or achieve our goals. Also, it is a form of desire.
Some of us enjoy working out, but many think of it as a means to an end, such as:
- Weight loss
- A better appearance
- Feeling better
- Being healthy
Maybe we want to look good for a high school reunion or for a beach trip. These are considered extrinsic motivations. This is not a bad thing, since it may keep us inspired as we think about possible future results during the times that we may feel lazy. But our results may not be apparent soon enough for us and we may begin to suspect that we are incapable of making changes. We may feel that workouts are our obligations, not resources of beneficial change.
Intrinsic motivations generally give us more staying power. We find ourselves enjoying our routines in the moment and not in terms of what may result in the future. We may get a runner’s high or maybe a means to reduce stress. The best example of intrinsic motivation for me was playing tennis or basketball – or any other sport. I never thought of sports activity as a way to lose weight or to enhance my health. It was all about being competitive. Fitness was a secondary consideration.
Excuses have always held us back, most likely more than anything else. Here are a few:
- “I lack the necessary energy”. Exercise is a source of energy. Just get started. An easy pace is better than nothing and usually gives us the momentum for greater challenges.
- “It’s not working for me”. Write down specific short term goals. Don’t think in terms of losing 30 pounds. Rather, think about starting and finishing a 30-minute workout routine 3 times per week. Then do it and change your routine or workout frequency as you see fit.
- I don’t have the time”. You do. It’s only a matter of prioritizing the same time that everyone has. If nothing else, do a 15-minute workout before you leave for work and another 15 minutes later in the day.
- “My goals are so far in the distance that I see no way to attain them”. Break down your goals into very small parts. Try to lose one pound in a week, for example. Maybe you could shoot for 500 more steps per day.
- “My routine is becoming boring”. An easy solution. Make changes. Personally, this has always worked for me. Work the same body parts with different equipment or with different movements. Or change the workout to stress different body parts, while resting some of those now being stressed.
- I can’t get to the gym because of inclement weather”. Have a back-up plan with home workout items.
We generally agree that exercise is good and that motivation is critical toward that end. Finding and maintaining the motivation can be challenging. Here are a few tips:
- Begin with reasonable goals. “Curb your enthusiasm” and start with about 20 minutes per day for 3 times per week. Achieve these goals and reassess later.
- Keep records of your activity and progress. See my prior post, “Keeping Fitness Records”.
- Prepare for missteps. You will miss some days. Don’t feel guilty
- Don’t be concerned about how others are doing. Some may move ahead of you, some may lag behind. Your competition is with yourself.
- Seek encouragement from others. Surround yourself with supporters
- Have fun with your exercise program. Play a sport that you enjoy. Choose a routine that you like, though it may be demanding.
- Segment your day. If you have a busy work schedule, break up your routine. Early mornings and late afternoons may work for you.
- Reward yourself. When you reach goals, give yourself a treat. I can remember getting massages after I lost 10 pounds and later after a 5 pound loss, as I got closer to my goal.
EXPERIMENT WITH NEW EQUIPMENT
I have always received a jolt of enthusiasm by adding new items to my home workout space. Most of these are smaller tools that can be used and then put away. One exception is my treadmill, which I consider a necessary part of any home “gym”.
In my opinion, Dick’s Sporting Goods has the best selection of cardio machines. I use my Nordic Track every day. Fitness deals at DSG are shown here. Also, check for other sporting goods items. They are staging a huge winter clearance sale right now.
Amazon is a dependable source for workout tools of all kinds. A few are shown below. (As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn from qualifying purchases): Scroll around from the links to see other choices.
- Resistance bands – complete set
- Adjustable dumbbells
- Push-up board – I have used this for several years
- Crunch device – I also use this to support my back and neck when I do abdominal exercises
Bullworker fitness products are high quality workout tools that provide both isotonic and isometric modes. They feature spring-loaded tools that may be compressed or pulled. They are relatively small in size and yet challenging to anyone, since there are several springs of different resistances. The Bullworker Bow Classic is shown below.
There is very little doubt – motivation is the key to a productive workout routine and to just about everything else as well. The trick is to maintain our motivation well past the beginning stages – when we feel like lying on our couch, when we become bored with our routines, when we are not seeing satisfactory results and when we feel less than energetic.
Motivation can be fleeting. We know that an exercise routine is in our best interest. We know that motivation will propel us in that direction. Yet we must be vigilant, so that our motivation remains fresh and vibrant.
So, let’s get started, let’s stay on our paths to fitness and yet let’s be prepared for obstacles and plateaus. They will inevitably come, but they need not be anything more than minor impediments.
Please leave me any comments or questions in the “Comments” section below. Or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.