Choosing your motivation

When considering making a positive and healthy change to our lifestyles, whether that be through exercise, diet or even change of career. Whatever the decision may be, it’s worth considering what your motivation is, as it is primarily this factor that will be driving you to both your short-term and long-term success.

Health clubs are rife with new members full of great intentions in January and yet come February or March their enthusiasm and frequency of visits are likely to have tailed off somewhat. In many ways I can fully appreciate why this happens and in my experience, it is all down to understanding your own motivation.

Blog -Choosing -your -motivationIf you’re starting an exercise and diet regime purely to ease the guilt of overindulgence during the Christmas period it is unlikely to last. Generally what happens is a realisation of the effort and commitment required to achieve the overall goal and this in turn often results in a loss of motivation. Likewise, if you are looking to get fit and / or lose weight for an occasion (holiday, wedding etc), you are likely to stop the regime soon after the event has occurred. What I’m describing here is typical of the “yo yo” exerciser or dieter looking for quick easy results in little time and effort. It is at this point that I must apologise to anyone’s illusion I may shatter with the next statement – exercise and healthy living has to be a way of life, part of a weekly routine consistently practiced. You will feel instantly better, but long-term consistency is the key.

So that said, what can we do to make activity and exercise as well as healthy eating become part of our daily / weekly routine?

Here are just a few ideas, you’ve no doubt heard them before many times:

1. Walk, cycle or run to work everyday.
2. Monitor your portion control for each meal.
3. Remove added sugar to your breakfast or hot drinks.
4. Use the stairs wherever possible.

I’m sure you know what it is you need to change, but going back to the original title, the fundamental ingredient to your success is identifying your reasons why you want to change in the first place – highlighting your drive, your motivation!

Even some small changes are going to require an element of motivation to help you stick to them, so here are some considerations to make before getting started:

1. Decide on how you’re going to measure progress. This should help you to stay motivated.
2. Choose a routine that will cause as little disruption to your current daily routine. View it as another daily necessity such as work, eating, sleeping etc instead of it being an option only if you feel like it.
3. Drip feed changes into your lifestyle over a period of time. This way you are more likely to stick to them.
4. Decide how you’re going to make these changes sustainable for the long-term.
5. Are your reasons for change enough to keep you on track?
6. Can you exercise with a friend, coach, trainer. Include your friends and family into your decisions to gain their support.
7. What exercise / activity do you enjoy?
8. List your barriers to change and decide on a strategy to overcome them.
9. Set SMART goals for short, medium and long terms and reward yourself for each goal achieved no matter how big or small.
10. Be honest and realistic about what you able to fit into your schedule and do not over commit. Anything is better than nothing at all but if there are too many projects going on in your life at the moment then this may end up being pushed to the bottom of the priority list.

We have all heard the age-old phrase “if you don’t change what you do, then you can’t expect anything to be different”. I’d like to take this a step further by saying “without motivation and drive, you can’t expect to consistently stick to any positive changes you make”

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Author – Mark Durnford, Lifetime Tutor

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