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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Motivation: Figure out what works for you

I've been talking to a lot of my friends over the past few days, and more often than not, the conversation takes a turn to fitness. I wanted to do a brief post, just to talk about some of the motivational strategies that have worked for them (and for me). The point is that this is a menu. Know yourself, and choose from the menu the things that will work to help motivate you.

  • Get inspired! Whether its a picture of a fit celebrity (Jessica Biel, whose picture I posted earlier this week, is my inspiration), or maybe just a picture of yourself from years ago, a visual of your goal can help keep you on track. Hang it somewhere visible, like on your mirror, in the pantry, or on the fridge. Another idea is to have a personalized goal picture created for you at a site like weightview.
  • Challenge yourself. Remember my neighbor who helped get me started with my fitness plan? Well, C., as we'll call her, had her baby back in February, and as soon as she was "cleared" for workouts by her doctor, she started a very aggressive and challenging program called P90x. While some people might get demotivated by such an intense and challenging program, C. knows that a challenge will make her fight back to prove she can't be beat! Maybe a challenging program, or a contest-based challenge like a Biggest Loser contest or body transformation contest (like the Turbulence Training Contest I entered) will keep you engaged and motivated. I should share that C. is doing great - not quite at her goals yet, but already fitting back into her size 8 clothes! YOU GO GIRL!
  • Engage a pro. This isn't for everyone, but for some people who feel overwhelmed by all of the information or options available to them at the gym, working one-on-one or in a small group setting with a personal trainer or coach can be just what they needed. As they gain confidence, they may be able to branch out on their own more often.
  • Be accountable. Telling people your goals can make it harder to stop pursuing them. Another neighbor, (we'll call her "L."), just told her friends that she is joining the local gym. She knows that we'll ask her about it, and that accountability will help her follow through. So tell people about your goals and your plans, and encourage them to check in with you to find out how it's going. Even better is to have a specific friend commit to following the same program, so that you can support and keep each other accountable.
  • Focus on your goals. Think about what you want out of life, and how a slimmer, more fit body will help you get it. Then write down your top 5 benefits of success on an index card. Make copies, and put them everywhere you might need them: in your purse, on your mirror, or at your desk at work. Pull them out and read them when you are tempted to venture off-plan.
  • Focus on the negatives. Sometimes, the scare that comes from our poor health can be what kicks us in the butt and gets us moving again. Maybe, like my DH, one of your parents died at a relatively young age because of poor health. Maybe it's your own health -- you've had a heart attack or stroke scare. Either way, focusing on what you don't want to become can often be what it takes to turn it around for people. So again, write it down, and put it somewhere you will see it and be reminded what you're doing and why!
  • Reward success. Although it's important not to sabotage your success with unhealthy food-based rewards, rewards can be a great motivator! Perhaps you'll get a pedicure after you lose 10 lbs. Or it could be that you only get your weekly "cheat" of an ice cream cone if you made all your workouts and ate on-plan during the week. It could even be a trip to the beach where you can show off your new beach-ready body when you meet your final goals! The trick is to choose a variety of goals, both short- and long-term, and a variety of rewards that will keep you engaged.
I hope you found something on this "menu of motivation" that will help keep you on plan. Is there something that motivates you that I didn't mention? Let me know in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. Good tips! I like to treat myself to a new Under Armour workout tank every so often. Keeps up the motivation! I like the pedicure idea :).