We're a few weeks into 2015 now. How many of us are struggling with motivating ourselves to stick with whatever resolutions or plans we made on NYE? Struggle or no, we could all use a reminder about motivation and where it comes from.
There are two types of motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic.
Extrinsic motivation: motivation that comes from external (outside of the self) rewards, such as material or social rewards
Fitness Example: Jillian Michaels in your face screaming at you to "KEEP GOING" or "DO THE WORK" or "UNLESS YOU FAINT, PUKE, OR DIE, KEEP GOING".
Effectiveness: great in the short term.
I don't know about you but if I made myself a promise that I could buy some new sneakers at the end of a 5 mile run... I might like running a lot more than I do. And I would have an amazing sneaker collection... and it would include the teal/lime leopard print Nike's I saw on another lady at the gym. Those were bitchin sneakers. Maybe I should go run 5 miles.
Intrinsic motivation: motivation that comes from internal states, such as enjoyment or personal satisfaction.
Effectiveness: great in the long term
Intrinsic motivation is what you'll rely on when the going gets really tough. I don't care who you are, there are going to be periods of time in your life when you don't want to do what you ought to be doing. Staying on the couch and binge-watching Netflix with a huge bowl of cheddar and caramel popcorn (just me?) is going to sound a hell of a lot better than doing anything active. Happens to me all the time, BUT I know the following will happen if I do something active:
- I will continue to get stronger.
- I will continue to remodel my body shape in a flattering way
- I will be doing something good for my heart
- I will be doing a lot of good for my asthma
- I will feel like a freakin superstar when I'm done.
Building intrinsic motivation is just like building muscle, start slow and constantly condition.
The idea is to start making goals for yourself. Your first goal should be one that you can definitely achieve, say walk half a mile. After you work toward and achieve that goal, you set another goal for a full mile. Then two, then three... and you just keep going!
Say you want to start exercising at a gym.
Let's take a break and be real for a second... the gym is not a super welcoming environment. It's loud, it's often dirty, it's full of smelly and sweaty people, it's loud (again), and everyone seems to be operating by some secret rule book that you never heard about when you signed up. Every single person in that gym felt the exact same way when they started, maybe they started a long time ago but they definitely felt overwhelmed their first visit there.
|my home away from home <3|
Back to the start going to a gym goal, start out by just going and hanging out on the treadmill until you're comfortable with the environment.
Once you're comfortable just being in the gym, inquire about free training sessions! Most gyms will give 1-3 sessions away to try and get you to sign up with a personal trainer. Take advantage of them. Have them give you a tour of the facilities, you may have forgotten where stuff was after taking the tour when you signed up. Ask questions! Never be afraid to ask them "what's that" if you see a weird looking machine.
Now that you know where everything is, you can start making use of more of the facilities. If you truly have no idea what you're doing, take advantage of any classes your gym might offer. I learned the basics of weightlifting from the amazing Body Pump instructors at 24 hr Fitness. Plus, the social energy and auto-pilot nature (meaning you're just following instructions, not making your own routine up) of the classes does wonders to reinforce your I-love-the-gym feelings which contribute to intrinsic motivation.
See how all that ties in together?
The idea is to turn "I want" into "I have" and "I think I can" into "I did".
Stay strong & stay motivated!