Motivating and the mind: Repositioning your relationship to your health
Do you attend the gym ‘properly’ for two weeks and then have a little holiday? What about your food intake – super healthy for a while until you have earnt yourself a cheat day/week?
Given the media and online perception of health and wellbeing, it’s easy to see why we all feel like there’s a bunch of things we should be doing. This might be cutting out sugar, eating clean and religiously following an exercise regime. But yet, when we think like this, exercise and health is psychologically positioned as a chore. This can set you up for failure because inevitably… life gets in the way.
If you on again-off-again diet or attend the gym, you may need to reframe how you feel about exercise and movement in general to address the ‘problem’ you have with motivation. However, you’re not alone! Humans are programmed to seek instant gratification. And modern technology also reinforces this. Willpower can be quite powerful but it is finite, so as we get busy, often our workouts and diets get depleted if they are seen as something we need to control.
Those who have struck a good balance, hold a very different meaning in their life for exercise. This is related to some complex psychology, but essentially means that exercise and being active is not about punishing yourself or ‘being good,’ but rather a means to increase the quality of your everyday life – through increased energy, strength and mobility and not only the long term, often abstract, goal down the track.
It’s tricky to shift your mind to truly believe ‘I get to run on the treadmill today,’ recasting exercise as a gift rather than a type of chore. So, instead, a good place to begin reconfiguring your relationship to fitness is to think about your goals. Ask yourself, why are you working out? Are your goals are high level and long term, such as ‘lose weight?’ If so, it’s time to break them down into more immediate and attainable steps that you can relate to your everyday. This can help to reframe how you feel about exercise and ultimately address the motivational issues you’ve been having.
Your trainer might suggest developing some SMART goals to specify easier (well easy-ish) steps to take in order increase your ability to accomplish your fitness goals. Short term goals define the behaviour you’ll need to undertake to get there in a simple format. Having support to change the way you think about exercise to be an opportunity rather than chore, has been shown to increase your likelihood of actually doing it. Which in turn ‘improves’ your motivation. This is especially true if you’re actively involved in a fitness community, like here at South Pacific. (Pun intended!)
8 Week Challenge
Boosting motivation while adjusting to this mindset might include rejuvenating your workout habits. Committing to an intensive schedule, like a fitness challenge program, kick-starts your regular routine. An 8-week challenge (8WC) helps you through the can’t-be-bothered phase that’s common when you train alone. 8WCs set out how many sessions per week you’ll attend and also provides you with extra support from your trainers. 8 weeks is also long enough to form new lifestyle changes that you can continue in the longer term. Many of our clients enjoy the camaraderie that comes with an 8WC, whether you attend our fitness club in St Kilda or are a member at our St Kilda gym. You’ll be amongst like-minded people who are also seeking to make changes to their normal training regime.
South Pacific’s next 8 week challenge starts 18th March, so chat to staff at your club for further info on what’s involved and how to sign up. We can help get you there, whether it’s becoming your ideal weight or achieving a fitness goal.