by Coach Tommy
Let’s build some momentum to our week by talking about motivation. Specifically, let’s talk about motivation towards our health & wellness goals.
Do you find it hard to get started with a routine when it comes to working out? Don’t worry, everyone does.
We all know what we “need to be doing” in terms of living a healthy life. The hard part is formulating a clear game plan on how to incorporate those daily habits into our overall life.
The starting point for us wanting to accomplish something comes down to getting very clear on what our motivation is for wanting to do so.
Exercise is effortful. It takes a diligent approach to want to apply health stress to the body every single day.
It is unnatural to WANT to do something like that everyday. But then why do million of Americans seem to want to engage in the activity?
The answer is because exercise is a means to and end.
Look good! Feel good! Think with high levels of mental acuity! Be full of energy that allows us to be incredibly productive and conquer those goals we set out for ourselves.
These are called extrinsic motivators.
Extrinsic motivators come from the rational part of our brain. It is outcomes based.
The problem with solely relying on extrinsic motivators for our health goals is that they are typically short-lived for our long-term fitness adherence.
In a 2020 study conducted by C. Gjestvang, et al entitled, “Motives and barriers to initiation and sustained exercise adherence in a fitness club setting,” researchers found that people are more likely to stick with a new exercise routine when they list their motives as more autonomous (intrinsic motivations) like “enjoyment” or “consistent with ambitions in life.”
In other words, wanting to “look good” or “feel good” or “lose those last pounds” are not strong enough motivators for you to adopt fitness for a lifetime.
Intrinsic motivators, on the other hands, come from within. You have a drive or passion to do something.
It the same concept as finding your “dream job” where you don’t necessarily care what the compensation is because you absolutely enjoy doing it so much
So how do we develop intrinsic motivation to workout?
Step 1: Have a clear purpose for what your “why” is for wanting to be healthy. Simon Sinek is famous for his Ted Talk on “Starting with Why,” but he is right. As humans, the “Why” speaks to the primal part of our brain where emotion is processed. When we have an emotional attachment to something, there is a stronger drive to want to do it.
Most people who come into District H say their “why” is “because I want to lose weight.” That is a good start, but I want you to dig deeper. What does losing weight do for you in terms of your relationships, your work, your confidence, your self-actualization?
Step 2: Cultivate competence in your training program. People are naturally more motivated by the things they are good at, so finding a routine where you can understand the meaning and purpose behind it will help feel more fulfilled with your routine.
Step 3: Track your progress. We don’t leave things to chance when it comes to our personal finances, our careers, or our relationships. Don’t do it with your fitness routine. Track your progress so you know if you are moving in the right direction. It will help you highlight your results, which will further motivate you as you see progress, even in the smallest of increments.
Step 4: Set goals with a growth mindset. It shouldn’t be about the end result (i.e. extrinsic motivators). It needs to be about the process or journey you are on (i.e. intrinsic motivators). Set goals with those in mind.
Step 5: Find connection. Humans are tribal in nature. We want to belong to a group where we feel included and share the same values. Find a community of people that are on the same journey as you. At District H, we strive to create a culture of like-minded people who are incredibly nice, constantly looking to improve, and supportive of others who are trying to do the same.
Tomorrow, I will delve into Step 1 in finding our “why” for wanting to be strong and healthy.