Creating a recipe for success will get you excited and motivated to exercise again.
You know those days where you wake up without your alarm; the coffee is already brewed; the kitchen was cleaned the night before, so there are no dishes in the sink; your breakfast is equally savoury and satisfying, and the right song comes on at the perfect time on your way to the gym?
Yeah, me neither.
I’m just kidding! There are days where everything hits just right and lines up perfectly, setting you up for success as you head to the gym to crush some iron; and then there’s every other day. So what are we supposed to do on days we just don’t feel like it inside, and our outside circumstances aren’t really helping to motivate us?
The myth of motivation
The vicious cycle that motivation creates is that while you are waiting to be motivated, motivation is waiting for you. And then once you get that “hit” of motivation, unless you figured out how and where it came from, and how to recreate it, you’re always going to be searching for your next hit or fix once it wears off.
Just like becoming dependent on a substance isn’t a good thing, becoming dependent on motivation isn’t helping you because it’s not teaching you a lesson.
Why am I telling you this? Because even though it sounds controversial, I really don’t believe in “getting” or “staying” motivated. I know motivation exists, but how we go about creating it is what matters.
How we create our own motivation
Commitment: This is where we go back to previous articles and theories about your “why” and your purpose. Why do you want to get in shape? Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to gain muscle? What’s your reason for wanting to go to the gym in the first place? Remind yourself about a) what your commitment is and b) why the commitment is there.
I read a great article in psychology today about “Valued actions.” Valued actions are actions that are consistent with your values in life. These are actions that are consistent with the type of person you want to be. I value being an active mom to set a good example for my boys, so I set a goal for myself to exercise, eat and clean for them (my “why”). My valued action is getting my butt up and lifting or doing some form of intense movement, regardless of whether I am in the mood or not. What is your valued action going to be?
Consistency: Having a valued action is one thing. Doing the valued action is another. Doing the valued action repeatedly over time is the pinnacle. We need to come up with a way to commit to the action. Is it that you create a morning (or evening) routine that includes movement, or is that you go straight to the gym after work instead of stopping at home? What routine will you create to be consistent?
Competency: Competence is the ability to do something successfully or efficiently. Guess what makes us typically feel motivated? Being successful! Being efficient! The more successfully we do things, the more likely we are to do it again … and again… and again. It’s a positive feedback loop and it’s awesome. How are you going to reward yourself (emotionally, physically, financially) for being competent?
The three C’s here can be thought of as a recipe. When someone asks you to make a chocolate cake, you need two things, right? The Ingredients and the directions. You wouldn’t just tell someone “Cocoa, flour, eggs, and some sugar.” You’d need to be a lot more specific.
Motivation has to be thought of like that: A process. What time do you leave the house, what do you listen to, for how long, what are you thinking about? What’s your body temperature going into a lift, how’s your breathing rate, what’s your pulse, what pre-workout (if any) do you use?
So what’s my answer for how to become excited and motivated to exercise again?
Forget about the word motivation. Create a “recipe” for the perfect workout, and just keep making it, over and over again!
If you enjoyed this article from Nichelle, check out her tips for quick workout exercises.