When was the last time you jumped on a treadmill or went to a fitness class to prevent cancer?
While you probably know that regular exercise can prevent a host of diseases and conditions, that’s probably not what motivates you to lace up those sneakers.
More people are motivated by short-term benefits (like a boost of energy) than long-term disease prevention.
People like immediate gratification.
A study reported in the New York Times indicated that people will not commit to exercise if they see the benefits as distant.
So think about what you stand to gain if you workout today. Maybe it’s a sunnier disposition or the satisfaction in knowing you pushed your body. Maybe it’s the exhilaration of a body drenched in sweat or calories burned on your heart rate monitor.
What are those benefits for you?
Focus on healthy, not skinny.
Rather than an exclusively focus on weight loss, focus on the joys of exercise and movement instead. Take pride in your body getting stronger or being able to exercise longer. Think about the energy boost you get after a workout, or how you feel happier because of what you accomplished. Maybe it’s just the cool way your body feels after an intense workout.
What are your emotional hooks that get you to workout? Is it relieving stress? Ramping up your energy level? The pride you feel in a long bike ride or a challenging hike?
Consider what really connects you to exercise on an emotional level, and use it to motivate you.
Make exercise a social event.
When you workout with others, not only do you get the immediate benefits of exercise, you also get time with friends—a double deposit into your well-being. When you discover physical activities and forms of exercise you love, you develop a sense of camaraderie and community with others.
Maybe you can find that fun group fitness class, boot camp or dance class that can motivate you to exercise just for the sense of community and the friendships those classes provide. And if that’s what motivates you to show up to class on a consistent basis (when the thought of exercise alone doesn’t do it) your health and your well-being benefit!
Let me know what motivates you to exercise. What pushes you to go workout, even when you don’t feel like it?