How-To: Motivation for Getting in Shape

Let’s face it, we all have those days where we just don’t feel like doing anything.

I didn’t get enough sleep, it’s freezing out, I’m starving, my boss pissed me off, my girlfriend’s crazy, whatever. It’s days like these where you find yourself curled up on the couch eating a tub of ice cream and watching The Notebook.

While I’m sure this is no surprise to you, these are the moments when it’s most important for you to stay on track. Stop allowing yourself to take the easy way out. Teach yourself how to be consistent and push through the shitty days.

In order to dial down into the inner realms of the human psyche, one must first become inspired. What is it you are trying to achieve? What is it going to take to get you off the couch, or push you past your limits? Motivation. Motivation is a must when it comes to achieving anything in life, and exercise is no exception.

Likewise, understanding the physical and mental benefits of exercise—including reduced risks of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, colon cancer and all-cause mortality as well as increased energy, improved fitness, reduced depression and anxiety levels, enhanced mood, improved confidence and self-esteem—can also be potential motivators.

The following subsections can assist in constructing an overall health and fitness approach that will not only achieve your fitness desires, but will also stimulate your way of life.   

Set a goal and clearly specify how you are going to achieve it. Create a realistic action plan to align with that goal. Write tasks out like how many calories your aiming to eat that day, or which exercise plan you intend to execute. This agenda personally holds you more accountable in reaching those specific goals, while also arranging your plan in a more organized and logical fashion.

Use environmental cues. Pack your gym bag the night before and place it by the door so you remember to take it to work the next day. Jot your workouts or meals into your calendar or set electronic reminders so you don’t forget or become distracted.

Convenience is key. Exercise at home if you don’t have time to drive to the gym, or plan your day out the night before.

Record your progress. Remember, you can’t measure something that you can’t see.

Build a social support network. Talk with people you come into contact with on a daily basis to ensure you remain on track.

Reward yourself. While enjoyable, cheat meals can be strategic in nature often accelerating your metabolism, and therefore, increasing your fat burning ratio (if done right).

Be persistent. Stay determined. Reassess your original action plan on a weekly basis to not only remind yourself of the initial goal, but to learn from it.

As you begin to use these behavioral and cognitive strategies to promote a regular and successful relationship with exercise, you’ll experience an increase in self-efficacy, physical ability and overall happiness. – Three months from now you’ll be thanking yourself.

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