Addiction, Self development

Motivation or Habit?

Listen to me

Why do we lose focus? What stops us achieving our goals?

It’s time to take a look at what stops us in maintaining change and making new habits part of our lives. We will also look at what drives our motivation to change. Firstly, we need to be sure that we are doing this for us, we will never be able to change if we are doing this because other people want us to change. It’s so important to want to make changes because WE want to do this, life can seem super competitive.  Be slimmer, worry less, be smarter, eat healthier, be fitter, etc., if you have read Have Want More Want More you will already have a handle on this. It comes back to that need for safety and forever chasing things outside of ourselves to make us feel safe and secure. Let’s have a look at getting fit as an example today for motivational change, but as ever you can change this into whatever you need to motivate yourself in.

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Making changes in your life is important to do because you want to and not because you feel you should.  In this life we are constantly bombarded with choices, but which is the best approach to change and get fit?  Do we hit the gym, do the couch to 5k, bike, Zumba, swim, walk?  I bet you can think of another 20 things we could choose to do, to hit our goal of getting fit. Ok let’s check this out in a bit more detail, firstly did you know that you may be quitting certain types of exercise due to your genes? Don’t stop reading here and think that’s why I don’t keep up with my fitness routine. That would-be denial!

Researches in Iowa State University have suggested that your ability to withstand pain and exertion from exercise could be influenced by our genetics. The findings were that people with lower pain thresholds when their breathing becomes laboured, found it harder to push themselves and would quit more easily.  So, if that’s the case for you don’t keep trying to push yourself to do the couch to 5K or that insanity class, why not accept that type of exercise doesn’t work for you and choose something else? How about walking, swimming or whatever feels fun for you, choosing what suits you instead. Don’t go with the trend, go with what works for you. Making personal choices in anything your trying to achieve will make a massive difference in not just doing something for a while, but having the motivation to do it as a lifelong lifestyle.

The 2017 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report reveals that the UK health and fitness industry is continuing to grow. There are now over 9.7 million fitness members in the UK which is about 1 in every 7 people in the UK is a member of a gym. More people sign up in January than any other month of the year, and many people quit before there contract has even expired so guess who’s winning? You would have thought we would have learnt from this, some studies show that 80% of the members don’t use their membership. Even worse than the waste of money, is that you have added another failure to your list, your motivation to achieve your goals will have reduced too.

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Lesson one, do it for you not for someone else, it will never last and you will waste your time and money.

The next thing is to make it more fun, it can be simple things that can make exercise much more fun and again more sustainable. An interesting study carried out in 2013, that found that people allowed to listen to audio books in the gym, but were banned from listening to them elsewhere visited the gym 51% more than the control group.  We can use technology to help motivate us to stick with our exercise routine and make it a lifestyle.  Maybe talking books aren’t for you, but you love EastEnders, Netflix or a good movie, how about setting yourself up in the gym with your tablet and enjoy a great episode or even a movie if you feel super motivated?  Most gyms have Wi-Fi and how much more will we be motivated to get back into the gym to get that next episode and to keep working out for longer too.  If we prefer home gyms again do the same, ban watching one of your favourite programs unless you’re on the exercise bike.  If you love something, guess what your associating all that love and pleasure with exercise, how great is that? Over time you will think about EastEnders and your mind will also think about exercise.

Maybe you want something new. How about giving yourself an exercise goal to motivate you, every hour earns you money towards the new item you want to buy?  Don’t set the goal to high or in fact too easy, make it achievable in a few weeks and see how it helps push you to do more to reach your goal.  All those extra minutes will help you achieve your fitness goals, making you into your own exercise motivational coach.

There are lots of different things you can use but remember the first rule-do it for what works for you and add this second rule to make it more positive for you. Those new associations will motivate you and keep you going for longer, when before you may have given up.

pexels-photo-791085.jpegAnother good motivator is a training partner, it can be more fun training with someone and it’s much harder to let someone else down then it is to let ourselves down. Over time making these fitness habits into long term habits, that healthy life style you have been searching for. If you do slip remember stop the rewards, it will be much easier to get back to into those good habits.

Ok next step after making a choice for you and making it more fun, now it’s time to start forming long term habits. A good rule to follow is the 3 R’s:

Reminder looking forward to the next chapter of the book or series, set an alert on your phone, put it on repeat in your diary.  This will help to trigger and initiate your new behaviour.

Routine, set a regular routine to follow, it enables your mind to start embedding the behaviour into your everyday actions.

Reward, set those positive achievement rewards to associate all those positive feelings with the new habits your creating.

All good habits start in the mind, seeing is believing, creating that new mind set is the key to long term change. Make the plan one that is yours, which has pleasure, rewards and is achievable for you, making it fun and easy to succeed.

Habits always win over motivation, as motivation is like a reservoir it has limited levels to it and it can dry up.  Imagine each time you say I will do it in a bit, you use more of the water in the reservoir and if you keep going with the excuses the motivation just keeps draining away.  Before you know it there’s no water, you have drained all the motivation away.

Thanks for dropping by,

Sara

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