How to Get Motivated To Exercise

Motivated to exercise

Motivation – That pesky elusive Friend

By Coach Jimmy Hays Nelson


Wouldn’t life be so much easier if we were always motivated to do the things we know we need to do.  Cleaning the garage, preparing taxes, and, of course, exercising!  Why is it that we don’t need a Coach to motivate us to do things like take a vacation, meet buddies to watch the game, or watch the season premiere of our favorite TV show?  Wouldn’t life be sweet if getting up 45 minutes earlier than normal was as easy as giving in to the dessert tray?  Ahhhh, let’s take a moment and dream of that magical land.

So what IS motivation?  I’m not a big word geek, but the root word is motive.  Motive is a noun that is defined as: something that causes a person to act in a certain way, do a certain thing, etc.; incentive.
 
The word that jumps out at me in that definition is ACT.  You may think you have a deep desire to exercise and eat better, but you keep telling yourself you will act on that ‘when you find the motivation’.
According to the definition, your motive is something that CAUSES you to ACT.  So maybe the better place to start is asking yourself: ‘WHY do I want to exercise?’
 
Common answers that often come up are:
  • To lose weight
  • To feel better
  • To get a six pack
  • To drop a pants size
These are ok answers to start with, but if that has been your answer and you still haven’t taken action because you lack motivation then obviously those reasons aren’t a real motive that ‘causes a person to act’.
But what if we start with one of those standard answers and dug a little deeper?  We can start with a simple answer like “I want to drop a pant size”, but if we ask a few more questions we might find out the real reason someone wants to exercise is because they lost their Dad to heart failure. They are wanting to start a family of their own. And they want to be a parent that sets a healthy fit example for their children.  Well THAT answer is much more likely to get someone off the couch than just the generic “I want to lose weight, if I could find the motivation”.

The pattern that keeps popping up as we really dig deep to find out why we want to exercise is that usually if we dig deep enough we discover it really isn’t about us.  Exercising, eating well, looking and feeling better is not a selfish endeavor.  I shared the following story in a previous blog post, but I thought it fit with today’s topic as well.

I was in Orlando last weekend talking with a friend of a friend. This guy just finished medical school and managed to find some extra weight along the way. He shared with me how he started P90X because a buddy of his was also doing it. But he didn’t feel like he was totally committed to it or if he could complete the whole program. So I asked him why he started in the first place. What was his goal in tackling P90X? He said he thought it would be something positive to pursue now that he finished medical school, and that he would like to lose an extra 15-20 pounds.
Most people would have stopped there and thought that was a good solid goal.… Not Coach Jimmy!
I told him I thought that was admirable. But then I asked a follow up question: 
“What would be different in your world if you actually lost that 15-20 pounds?”
He stopped dead in his tracks and thought about it for a little while. As he continued to share it became obvious very quickly that his wanting to lose 20 pounds wasn’t about him at all! He was concerned for the health of his aging parents! He said if he could do something positive and see some real results, maybe they would be inspired to take some small step towards improving their health. Even if that was just going for an evening walk, or replacing one meal a day with something like Shakeology.
He said he never really thought about it before. But now that I asked, his desire to improve his health stemmed from wanting to encourage his parents to do the same so they would be around to see him start a family.
WOW! That’s a much deeper motivation than just wanting to drop a few pounds before swimsuit season!
 
Once we find our WHY story, that doesn’t mean we are going to spring out of bed every morning excited about our workout. But if we keep the end in mind it makes it easier. I run thoughts thru my head like:
  • I can’t wait for my results to inspire my family to take care of their own health
  • I want to be able to keep up with my kids
  • What am I going to do for ME today?
I invite you to stop by my Facebook page and let me know what motivates you to exercise even when you don’t feel like.

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