Staying Motivated for the Long Haul
Having been in the health and fitness industry for over 10 years, I have come across a variety of reasons why people exercise. Here are just a few:
- New Year’s Resolution (come on, we’ve all been there!)
- Upcoming wedding (who doesn’t want to look good for their big day?!)
- New outlook on life after a health crisis or scare
- Better mental health
- I want a “six pack”
- Doctor’s recommendation
- I want to reinvent myself
I’m not going to lie, I will support and encourage anyone who is taking steps to grow, get stronger and better themselves, regardless of their motivation! At the same time, I have also come to see and believe that until our intentions become more holistic in nature (caring for the whole person), our motivation often wanes.
Value Centered Motivation
Often times when I am coaching people, the first thing I will ask them is “What do you value most in life?” I ask this question because it is usually the driving force to help us persevere and remain determined. For example, if being active with my kids is something I VALUE, when I am getting sick of exercising and tempted to fall “off the wagon”, I remind myself of that value. I remind myself that exercising consistently will help me stay healthy SO THAT I can remain active with my kids.
I contend that hope is one of the most powerful motivators in the human spirit. I also contend that we all have more potential than we realize and are capable of great growth. It is for this reason, that I will ask clients to describe for me “the best version of themselves.” I personally have done this several times in several areas of my life…best version of myself as a woman, mom, business woman, friend, wife, etc. Once I have established in my mind how that would look, I begin to work backwards, implementing small attainable goals that will eventually “get” me there. You know what? This process has filled me with hope, inspiration and excitement about unlocking my potential in any given area of my life.
Reality Fast Forward Motivation
The third form of motivation I have found effective both personally and with my clients is establishing where they are “at” in their current reality (health, fitness, family, mental health, emotional well-being, etc.) and then asking them to fast forward 20 years within that reality. This is a more obvious and extreme example, but if someone smokes 3 packs a day of cigarettes and continues that for 20 years, chances are they will suffer from cardiovascular disease (which may affect things in their life they value). I have generally found that this exercise helps people think about the long-term consequences a current reality can offer.
As I wrap up this post, I want to leave you with this: it doesn’t matter where you are at in the process (highly motivated for reasons that may not be sustainable, or completely unmotivated), we are all capable of forward motion, growth and change! All it takes is the courage to ask yourself just one of these three questions: What do I value? What is the best version of me? If I stay where I am now, what will my life be like in 20 years? Remember, you are brave, you are strong, you are smart and you matter…so live like it!