Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How to Get Motivated to Exercise


In a recent post about relationship traps to weight loss success, I have received great comments and feedback. Partner training for couples can be challenging for both clients and the fitness trainer.

One big obstacle before getting the couple to work out together is often that one is more motivated than the other to exercise. It can be very frustrating for the motivated one. Nagging is usually not working well.

As a personal trainer and fitness coach consulting, coaching and training many couples over the years, I find myself almost like a psychologist, a profiler, or  a mentalist. I have to put my head into their heads and think what they think like.

As a personal trainer, the easy part is design a partner workout program for the couple. The tough part is to get them started  and do it together.

We have to dig bigger and deeper to understand why people are doing or not doing what they know they're supposed to be doing. What really motivates them?

Remember, you can only change yourself.

Think and answer these questions.

What is motivation?

How do you get motivated and stay motivated?

Why do you want or need to work out?

Do you have the power to change your habit and behavior?

Why don't you have the burning desire to achieve the body you've alway wanted?

What's stopping you from achieving your goal?

Let's take a look at human behavior and self-determination theory (SDT). The SDT goes by that the more self-determined we are, the more we're doing what we want to do and aren't forced to do; therefore the happier and more successful we tend to be. Sounds logic and reasonable?

How Motivated Are You?

Five levels of motivation and type are categorized in the following.

Level 1: You have no particular reason for working out.
Motivation Type: Amotivation
No external or internal factors influence your activity, so no activity occurs.

Level 2: You work out because other people like you better when you're in shape.
Motivation Type: External Regulation
The mind responds to outside stimulii, though no internal motivation exists.

Level 3: You work out because you would feel bad about yourself if you didn't.
Motivation Type: introjected Regulation
Internal motivation begin to form, but limited positive outcome occurs.

Level 4: You work out because you believe it's important and beneficial for health and lifestyle.
Motivation Type: Identified Regulation
Motivations become more positive, resulting in prolonged positive behavior.

Level 5: You work out because you simply enjoy it.
Motivation Type: Intrinsic Motivation
Positive activity is performed for extended periods because of pleasure response.

So what's your level of motivation?

The less intrinsic your motivation for exercising is, the more you're working out because you think you should and because you really enjoy it - the less likely you are to stick with it.

If you accept this behavorial model, the next question is how do you transcend to the next level, eventually to Level 5 and stay at it?

Find the Good Reasons to Drive You to Succeed

Anything you do, no matter how simple, has a number of good reasons behind it. Not all the tasks have the good reasons to do them seen at first sight, but if you take just a few moments to analyse them, you will easily spot something good. We also have many tasks which don’t need any reasoning at all - we’ve been doing them for so long that they feel natural.

But if you’re ever stuck with some task you hate and there seems to be no motivation to complete it whatsoever, here’s what you need to do: find your good reasons. This applied to working out and eating healthy. They may not be obvious, but stay at it until you see some. This will bring your motivation back and will help you finish the task.

Too many people have the quick-fix mentality partly due to inaccurate weight-loss infomercials. They quit exercising when they don't see results in two weeks, 21 days or 30 days.
Health and fitness is not a 12-week program. It's a lifelong commitment.
What's Really Driving You?

Material reward? This is quite often. You will get paid for doing something you normally don’t like doing at all. External rewards and punishments do influence our behavior.

Personal gain or pleasure? You will learn something new or will perhaps improve yourself in a certain way. When we're kids playing baseball or any games because it's fun, not because we can put on muscles or stay healthy. We're driven to do things simply for their own sake.

Sense of accomplishment? At least you’ll be able to walk away feeling great about finding the motivation and courage to complete such a tedious task.

A step closer to your bigger goal? Even the biggest accomplishments in history have started small and relied on simple and far less pleasant tasks than you might be working on. Every task you complete brings you closer to the ultimate goal, and acknowledging this always feels good.

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