Raise your hand if you feel like 2020 combined with the holidays has you in a bit of an exercise slump… If we were in person, you’d see me raising my hand and I bet a lot of you are too. I was in an exercise slump as of a week ago but I got out of it using these three motivation tips and you can too. I have had to pick myself out of slumps now and then, it’s okay – it’s the human in us, but with my motivation tips you can get movin’ and groovin’ again in no time.
So what is motivation and why is it so hard to find it:
According to most accepted psychology theories, motivation is the basic impulse to 1) optimize well-being, 2) minimize physical pain, and 3) maximize pleasure. Motivation is actually impossible to find because the strongest type of motivation is actually inside of us vs outside of us, it’s called intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivations come from things like personal pride, autonomy, self-worth, values, mastery, life purpose, etc. There is also extrinsic motivation which comes from rewards outside of yourself like compensation, praise, another’s view of your success, acceptance, societal norms, etc. These are often less powerful in the long term but can be tied to emotions that make them motivating in the short-run.
Okay, so we have a few key terms laid out:
Motivation is an impulse to
- optimize well-being
- minimize physical pain
- maximize pleasure
There are two main types of motivation
- Internal (stronger in the long run)
- External (often tied to emotion which can be powerful to drive action now)
Next, let’s chat about how you can use these things to become more motivated to exercise and stick to your routine. Just like I did to get myself out of my slump, follow these steps and I am sure you’ll be moving in the right direction.
Write down the most minimal or basic routine and equipment you need to exercise (For most of us, it’s just a yoga mat or a pair of good sneakers)
- Now ask yourself, “can I do the most minimal basic routine?” And “do I have the equipment available?” If no, then go get those resources (if you are being honest with the “most basic”, then it shouldn’t take more than a day or so to set up and cost less than $100) If yes, then tell yourself “I will do this!”. Set a goal to complete the routine at a set time and day as soon as possible. Don’t wait more than 72 hours.
Let’s get motivated:
Now that we have our routine, equipment and set ourselves up for success, we need to deal with our motivations.
- Write down an internal and external motivator for each of these three drivers
- Optimize well-being
- Minimize physical pain
- Maximize pleasure
To give you a personal example, in the table, I listed the motivators I used to get out of my recent slump.
|Drivers||Intrinsic motivation||Extrinsic motivation|
|Optimize well-being||When I exercise, I am healthier now and in the future.||I want to exercise so that people see me as a strong and well woman.|
|Minimize physical pain||When I exercise, my joints are stronger and I am able to do the things I love.||When I exercise, I can keep up with other friends when I adventure outdoors.|
|Maximize pleasure||When I exercise, I am happier and I get a feel-good high of endorphins.||When I exercise, I look good in my clothes and people can see my hard work paying off.|
Tell someone about your goals:
This final step is absolutely critical. This ties into the motivation for the here and now. Telling someone about your goal allows you to commit since there is something on the line. Inherently, we don’t want to disappoint others so telling someone (or even better, tell a couple people) kicks up the emotion. Remember, emotions are powerful so use them to your advantage.
I know it might not seem like a magic easy button, but the sure way to get out of a slump is for you to get yourself out of it. You have everything you need and it’ll be worth it.
Sarah is the Shaklee Pure Performance Team dietitian/nutritionist. She is also a two-time competitor for the USA in the Summer Games, participating in the 10-meter Air Rifle event in 2012 and 2016. Her experience as an elite athlete and her status as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and Licensed Nutritionist (LN), make her perfectly suited to consult with Shaklee athletes on their nutritional needs. Sarah graduated from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas with a BS in Nutrition in 2013, and then earned an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Healthcare Management. She specializes in weight loss, improved sport performance, diabetes prevention, heart health, healthy aging, smoking cessation, and performance goals. Her hobbies include church ministries, mountaineering, physical fitness, and gardening.