Starting exercise? Where do you start? The reasons are already known about the benefits of exercising. Losing weight, to look good, it’s good for your heart, good for your bones, keeps you young, the list goes on of the benefits. We all KNOW this because we’ve seen it on TV, articles, websites, doctor visits, etc. However, with all these information out there, WHY aren’t more people consistent with it? The answer can rely on the “WHY.”
To lose weight isn’t enough motivation.
First, make your reason specific. Let’s take a look at how people start exercising. The common one is, “I want to lose weight.” If you dive into this, you can see how vague that is. Let’s make this more specific. “I want to lose 10 pounds by 3 months so I can fit into my dress I’ve been wanting to wear.” The big difference is, you have a timetable. Most importantly, its a reasonable one. This allows a mindset to stay focused for that time period. For example, getting ready for a wedding.
From my experience, those that have prepared for a wedding have had the highest exercise frequency and diligence. To me, the reason relies on the importance of the “WHY” they are exercising. Weddings are one of the most important event in a person’s life and of course you want to look your best. Also, a wedding is a event that IS happening. When people say they want to lose weight, there’s no event, its just a process that will or will not happen. Giving yourself the timetable of the weight loss will allow more accountability. If you don’t achieve it, then you have to assess what went wrong and change your plan.
Use emotion to your advantage.
Majority of the reason why I exercise is because of how it makes me feel. My body feels much better after exercising. The world is stressful enough and catered towards NOT moving around because we are constantly on our computer, television, cellphone, and tablet. On the weekends, I watch a lot of Netflix and I am NOT moving at all. So I force myself to run early on a Sunday because I know that couch is calling my name. To me, exercise = body feeling better.
Also, if you had a negative experience with your body, it constantly reminds you to exercise. For example, I dislocated my shoulder and needed surgery to repair it. My rehab took one year for the shoulder to feel better. Fifteen years later, I continue to exercise because I don’t ever want to feel the pain I did during my rehab. The “sadness” I felt of how weak I was during the process and gaining “trust” in exercising of getting stronger is what I experienced during the recovery process. My experience went from negative to a positive emotion because of exercise, so I always associate exercise with positive.
We are emotional creatures and if something is associated with being positive, then you are more likely to do that particular activity. If you are dreading exercise, that is a negative emotion. “Ah man, I hate exercising, but I know it’ll be good for me.” That is a negative emotion and you won’t put as much effort into it. Something like, “I exercise to relieve stress,” is much more positive. You have a negative (work stress) and exercise (positive) is the catalyst to correct that. These two examples may look the same, but the second example doesn’t state that the activity (exercise) is negative.
In conclusion, clarifying the “why” you are starting exercise is key. Having specific reasons and goals (short-term and long-term) are key factors in holding yourself accountable and it doesn’t have to be something drastic. Keep it simple. In addition, using emotion to your advantage is critical to keeping up with exercising. If exercise is associated with a positive emotion, then chances are higher you will keep it up. New York Times featured a good article on this topic. I have attached a link below if you are interested in reading it. Hope you enjoyed this week’s blog. Stay tuned for more next Wed……………..Kei