There has been a lot of talk at bootcamp this week about lack of motivation. Maybe it's our great Norn Iron weather, I don't know, but there is definitely a sluggish feeling in the air.
Whatever the reason for this lack of motivation, most people would agree that it's the hardest part about getting started. And unfortunately for some, the thought of that first step forward is just too huge, and after a while they actually find themselves starting to walk backwards.
So how do we kick that sluggish feeling, get out of the rut, become motivated and make sure we take steps in the right direction?
I suppose we first need to understand what motivation is.
Well, in my opinion, motivation is a mixture of feeling and action. It is not just one thing. It is a complex combination of emotions, experiences and physical state. But it requires that special something, that X-factor that pushes us from thinking about exercising, to actually doing it.
Many people think that motivation will come to them, so they choose to put off exercise because they don't 'have' the motivation. It is important however, to realise that you could be waiting a very long time for motivation to arrive on your doorstep, because it won't be sent to you. Motivation is something we choose, something we create.
So how do we create our motivation?
Goal - Your goal may be to lose weight, become stronger, look better, improve mental health, recover after an illness or injury, or just to be as healthy as you can be, so you can enjoy a long and active life. Whatever it is, you have to have a goal. This is the motivational seed being planted. Your motivation cannot grow if you do not have a goal.
Plan - once you decide what you want to achieve, make a plan. It doesn't need to be a detailed plan, but it does often help if you jot down a rough idea. It makes you more focused when you can actually see your plan staring you in the face. Put it somewhere you can see it every day.
It's harder to ignore it then. Your overall plan is made up of smaller goals, such as what type of exercise you want to do that week/day, how long you are going to exercise for, when you are going to do it, who you are going to do it with etc. Also try and make it as easy as possible for you to be able to do it. Make it achievable. So don't aim to do a 30 min jog before work, if you hate jogging and you're always in a rush in the mornings - because the exercise plan will likely be dropped! And quickly.
Be Flexible - accept from the beginning that sometimes life takes over and your best plans don't follow through. Instead of ditching the exercise all together, plan in different ways you can exercise instead. It doesn't need to be as long or intense as your original plan, but doing something will be better than doing nothing at all. And it will keep your momentum up so you'll be less likely to give up altogether.
Stick with it - make a promise to yourself that you will stick with it. Not to stick to a ridged plan, but to stick with exercising. Remember you have CHOSEN to exercise because of your goal that you want to achieve. Remember that and go with the flow of life, weaving in exercise as and when you can.
Enjoy it - if you don't enjoy exercise, you may not stick with it. Choose a form of activity that you really enjoy doing. If you have fun you will want to do it again and again and again - this will breed your motivation.
Without a doubt, motivation can be tough, even for the elite athlete. So, think of your goal, get a plan together, then CHOOSE to get started. Choose to create your motivation. Once you're underway you'll probably wonder why you waiting so long!
Don't be fooled though, because maintaining motivation can be tough too. But don't worry, in the next blog we'll look at a few top tips on how to keep that motivation bubbling so you don't let your exercise regime slip away.
After all, it's a lifestyle choice, not just a hobby for the odd sunny weekend.