We all know how important exercise is for our health and our appearance. If you want to look your best, then being toned and glowing with health is certainly a priority. Many people find it enjoyable and rewarding going to the gym or for a run, and for them, exercise has become a pleasurable as well as beneficial activity that they look forward to doing. Others struggle to find the motivation and commitment to exercise regularly, and although it is possible to be slim without being fit, you will never have the healthy glow of someone who has found joy in exercising. The good news is that if you are struggling, you can take action to discover that pleasure for yourself.
The fundamental difficulty with everything in life is finding your motivation. That something that will drive you to succeed to achieve and complete anything you undertake. Without motivation, your chances of success are slim because you will lack sufficient drive and determination to see things through. Being motivated is not a simple as just wanting to do something. If this were the case, you’d be able to quit smoking or lose twenty pounds just because that’s what you want to do. Motivation is that force that keeps you on track even when you find yourself craving a cigarette or a cream cake. The difficult part can be finding your motivation in the first place. It can be a bit it hit and miss at times because it is not always the most logical or obvious things that motivate you. For example, in the case of exercise, if you are failing to get into the habit of exercising even knowing how important it is for your health, then that knowledge is not sufficiently motivating. If, however, you have a close friend or relative suffering from a terminal illness and you could help them by doing a 5K run, suddenly you find this situation and caring about your loved one is the key to your motivation.
How do you find motivation?
There are several things you can try:
- Having a goal can be a big help with motivation. In this case, it wouldn’t be sufficient to have a goal that is not specific such as “I want to get fit.” You need to have something specific and measurable such as “I want to be able to run in the charity race in October,” or “I want to become a yellow belt in taekwondo.” With goals that are precise like this, you have a much better chance of success. You are more likely to feel motivated if you have a fixed point in the future and the feeling of accomplishment would make you very happy if you were to achieve it.
- Sometimes it is simply a matter of creating new habits; dispensing with old ones that weren’t doing you any good and getting into new routines that will help you achieve your goals. In other words, rather than trying to make big changes all at once make smaller adjustments to your routine until you are in a position to commence the exercise plan of your choice. This way, you will avoid the kind of extreme upheaval that results in a quick loss of motivation.
- Getting together with friends or family members who have similar goals can be a nice way of helping to motivate each other. When one of you lacks enthusiasm, the others can provide support and encouragement. It can also be a lot more fun exercising or playing sport with your friends.
- Try thinking outside the box. Instead of going for the obvious routes to fitness like the gym, consider what other activities are available in your location that you might enjoy more. Such things as horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, climbing, soccer, tennis, golf and many other sports and pastimes are ways of keeping fit and well-exercised while doing something you enjoy. Very often, even though you may be putting a lot of physical effort into your sport, because you are enjoying it so much you don’t notice your exertions.
You don’t have to go it alone
If you are not enjoying your exercising activities even though you are doing something you like, it could be that you would get more out of it if you joined a club or organization where you could be with like-minded enthusiasts and people who can help you get the most out of what you are doing. There are many groups in existence covering every activity you can think of, so there is bound to be one where you feel comfortable. Or perhaps you are struggling trying to do something like an exercise DVD at home when you would be better off going to a class, at least until you become more experienced. Sporting activities and exercise are great ways to socialize if you find the right group of people, so don’t feel you have to struggle along alone.
You will need a level of commitment to achieve your fitness goals. Finding your motivation is your main driver behind commitment, but there are other things you can do to help yourself stay on track. One important factor is your equipment and clothing. If for example you take up cycling and buy some cheap Lycra shorts, rather than higher quality padded Lycra cycling shorts, you will quickly end up feeling sore and uncomfortable and be unwilling and even unable to continue. Whatever activity or sport you choose, find out what you need and purchase the highest quality items you can. Use reputable suppliers who can show you the best shoes for indoor soccer, such as Shoe Guide; as well as the safest cycle helmets, and the most comfortable running gear.
Even if it takes you a while to zero in on the activity that resonates with you, don’t be disheartened. There are so many possibilities that it could indeed take some time to find where your passions lie, but making an effort will be well worth it both for your health and your happiness.