Getting off the Couch - Motivation and Results
If motivation is the driving force and the fuel which gets us into gear, then undertaking an understanding of what motivates us may be the key to harboring it. After all, getting off the couch and getting fit takes more than just equipment and videos, it takes a deep seated desire to drive us day in and day out.
Like Zig Ziglar once said "People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily." So, understanding what can re-motivate us daily to reach our goals is the lasting key to driving us in getting off the couch and getting fit.
What Drives YOU?
The response to stimuli that directs and fuels our behavior is called motivation. What stimulates you away from unhealthy behaviors (sitting on the couch) and drives you towards healthy ones (eating less, eating healthy and getting DAILY exercise).
1. Behavioral Motivation - This theory holds that motivation is fueled by biological motivation. Thus, achieving a fit and healthy body is a direct result of reaffirming how we feel biologically when we achieve that goal.
2. Cognitive Motivation - In this classic theory motivation stems from external and sometimes internal forces that makes us feel it is within our control or beyond our control. A classic type of this theory within the fitness realm is a tough coach (you or a trainer) pushing you beyond your self-limiting beliefs and thus, the perceived limitations of success or failure.
3. Humanistic Motivation - This theory is also known as Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and states that motivation stems directly from achieving basic humanistic needs that are intrinsic to life. Meaning that we are driven for the need to survive and must meet these needs before we can work towards and achieve our highest potential.
What Are You Looking to Achieve?
Determining what motivates you is the key to unlocking your potential and realizing your goals. So what motivates you?
- Behavior? Does a biological need to be fit, have energy, and be healthy fuel your daily desire towards fitness?
- Cognitive? Do you need to hire a coach, trainer, or use a video to get you fired up each morning to work out?
- Humanistic? Does being out of shape make you feel like you are dying inside and fuel your desire to achieve that feeling alive and in-control of your life feeling that will pull you towards fitness?
Quite possibly it is a little of each of these that pulls you out of bed each morning and onto your routine. Knowing what, when, why, and how these forms of motivation can drive you on a daily basis is half the battle of realizing your fitness goals.
Calculating the Risk of Getting Healthy
Life in itself is a risk, a gamble. Many do not realize that, by eating junk food and not getting exercise they are actually gambling more with their life than those who take calculated risks in business or just stepping out of bed in the morning.
The obesity rates in this country (USA) are staggering, over 50% of the population is in the obese or morbidly obese categories. While the risks of getting into shape (sports injuries, bumps, scrapes, bruises from biking, hiking, or running) seem to demotivate most, the very real risk of developing an obesity related disease (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, liver disease... the list is endless) doesn't seem to drive them past the fear of a pulled muscle or scraped knee.
Motivating Your Fitness By Calculating the Risks
By giving very careful thought to how we will look, feel, and our overall health in 5, 10, 15, 20 years and beyond IF we don't exercise, was can truly see the scope of the issue at hand. If imagining yourself in chemotherapy or in a horpital bed with a major illness doesn't motivate you to get off the couch and throw away the junk food, then what will? Try this simple exercise and sit down with a piece of paper, a pen, and your computer:
1. Write down all the illnesses and diseases you are at risk for through inheritance. Cross reference which of these is also related to an unhealthy or overweight lifestyle.
2. Cross off every disease or illness that can be overcome through eating a high-quality healthy diet and/or exercising and losing weight.
3. Write down the minor illnesses or injuries that are the very real effects of eating healthy and getting exercise daily.
4. Write down how much it will cost medically if you were to develop any of the above diseases as a result of an unhealthy lifestyle.
5. Write down how much it will cost you to eat healthy and get exercise, including the price of equipment and minus the cost of the junk food you once bought but are now swapping out with healthy foods.
Now that you have calculated the risks of remaining unhealthy and the benefits of achieving health, does it motivate you to take very real action?
Action Plan for Motivation
Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. - Jim Rohn
A theory circulates our modern culture that it takes 21 days of repeating something day-in and day-out to create a habit. So, take your list of motivating factors above and post them on your fridge or bathroom mirror, in a conspicuous place you will see them every day. Then, take a calendar and for the next 21 days, lay out a very realistic action plan that will motivate you towards at least two of your fitness goals.
Put a note on the 22nd day to follow up and come up with step-two o this action plan and revisit these same motivating factors. For instance, your plan can make a daily goal of removing one unhealthy food and replacing it with a healthy one each day for the 21 days and starting an exercise routine that incorporates something new every day that slowly increases your activity levels.
Most of all, being accountable to someone is a great motivating factor. Keep a journal about what you did and how you felt physically or mentally, listing your unique challenges. Also, tell a friend, someone whom you respect and trust who will ask you how you are doing towards your goals, really listen to you and re-motivate you back on your path daily.
Walking your talk is a great way to motivate yourself. No one likes to live a lie. Be honest with yourself, and you will find the motivation to do what you advise others to do. - Anonymous