The Magic of Motivation
By Krista Elliott
"I really should..."
How many times have we started a sentence with that phrase? Whether it's organizing our closets, taking up a new hobby, learning something new, or changing how we eat, there seems to be no end of things that we should do, but we can't quite bring ourselves to actually get done. And the most common one of all? "I really should start exercising."
The benefits of exercise are far from a secret. We know that keeping active improves our cardiovascular health, our strength, our bone density. We know that it helps us sleep better, live longer, and have more energy for our everyday activities. We know that it helps reduce harmful fat buildup around our internal organs and improves our flexibility.
So why aren't we doing it?
The Magic of Motivation
Motivation is quite literally "the desire to do things." And when you want to do something, when you really want it with every fiber of your being, there isn't much that will stand in your way. Those people running in a rainstorm? They're motivated.
So how to become one of them? Well, motivation is a tricky beast. And while we talk about "finding" our motivation, we really should call it "making" our motivation. It's not a treasure chest that we mysteriously unearth. Instead, it's something that we build over time, and that we have to keep alive with our actions and our efforts.
How to Get Motivated
Building your motivation is something that has to be approached in a few different ways.
- Know Yourself: If you're an outdoorsy person, don't spend any more time at the gym than you have to. Instead, take a walk outside, or pump up your bike tires and go for a ride. If you're a couch potato who loves TV, then a treadmill or exercise bike will allow you to binge-watch Netflix while getting some fitness in. Social butterflies can join a running or walking group or a sports team, while introverts may enjoy swimming or hiking.
- Just Do It: This is the hard part, but it does get easier. A fitness habit doesn't start off as a habit. It starts off as a painful slog that you have to force yourself to do. So, force yourself to do it, just for one week. Don't drive yourself to the point of exhaustion or injury, but set an alarm and get off your butt to do some form of exercise every day, even if it's just for 15 minutes. The more you do it, the more it will start to feel like a part of your day.
- Keep at It: Motivation is a living thing, and needs to be renewed. So check in with yourself. If you're getting bored with your usual walk, it'll be easy to skip it. So try a change of locale, or download a fun walking app to turn it into a game.
Making the motivation to exercise isn't easy, but much like getting a rock rolling down a hill, you will soon find yourself carried away by the momentum you've created. And that's when you get to enjoy the ride.