In this century, there is no argument that mental health and physical health overlap one another. The World Health Organization has gone as far to say that “there is no health without mental health.” The truth is, mental health and physical health are entangled in one another. So when thinking about ways to encourage self-motivation, we must learn how to play on the psychology of the mind.
Finding the motivation to complete a workout or a task at work can be difficult. No matter how much motivation you have in the beginning, there will always be a tiny voice in your head trying to talk you out a workout. By focusing your attention on your own internal motivations, you are more likely to reach your goals. Here’s how to cultivate that awareness
1. Change Your Attitude Towards Exercise
Working out can quickly become a chore for those who do not enjoy it. By carving out a specific time of day to workout, you being to embed that action into your routine. This helps you to see exercise as a normal everyday activity. This helps to decrease the negative responses that can be associated with working out and can help you find the satisfaction that comes with working out.
Look at exercise as something you “choose” to do, rather than “have” to or “must” do. By seeing exercise as a requirement, it quickly creates a negative connotation. To make a workout more enjoyable, try listening to a motivational playlist while you workout, or attend a Zumba class to switch it up. Making exercise a fun choice can be incredibly empowering and motivating without being overwhelming.
2. Find the “Why”
It’s important to know what motivates you. So start by simply asking yourself “why.” This can be “Why am I working out?”; “Why do I want to complete this challenge?”; or “Why am I invested in this workout?” By figuring out the compelling purpose for your fitness regimen is, you remind yourself of the why that keeps you going. By knowing and acknowledging why you are invested in your workout, you’re bound to stay invested.
3. Set Attainable Goals
If you set unattainable goals for yourselves you are more likely to lose motivation early on in your workout. It’s not uncommon for people to want to go for the highest goal they can think of, but then they get overwhelmed and often quit.
Focus on creating SMARTER (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely, developed Enthusiastically, and attached to a Reward) goals. By coming up with a specific action plan, you are more likely to stick with them. By setting reasonable, achievable goals, like exercising 20 to 30 minutes two to three times a week, you keep the momentum of motivation going without burning yourself out. Pro tip: post their goals where you will see them every day. This is a great way to stay mindful of the goals and the progress you are making towards them.
4. Provide Incentives
Choose rewards like a facial, new shoes, new outfit, a massage, etc. that you can take advantage of when you reach a certain goal. Each time a goal is attained, check it off the list and reward yourself. It can be frustrating to work really hard on something only to have no acknowledgement of the work you’ve done and this approach avoids that feeling.
It’s proven that providing incentives in business setting promotes a better sense of health and wellness for the company. Apply this to your fitness goals to help you reach your objectives. By rewarding yourself, you show some self-love while hitting goals and making progress.
5. Acknowledge Strengths
Spending too much time focusing on weaknesses can wear you down. But spending time working on strengths and thinking about accomplishments can help renew your own energy and motivation. By acknowledging your strengths, you give yourself the best opportunity to grow. Find the things that you could do all day and enjoy, and find excuses throughout your week to do more of those things.
Shift your thinking to look at what tasks you can perform well. Say this out loud “I’m sure of my ability to achieve the goals I’ve set”; “I believe that if I work hard, I will be successful”; or “I can move in another direction to achieve my goal if an obstacle blocks my success.” By stating these types of mantras, you can see what you are capable of and start using your strengths to motivate you.
6. Allow For a Fresh Start
You do not have to wait until the new year to make a new commitment to yourself. You can give yourself a fresh start at any time. By allowing yourself a “do-over” you may even gain a burst of energy. A study by Wharton University found that these moments of starting over encourage people to disconnect from their past failures and to promote the big picture view of their goals.
If you become frustrated by your lack of abilities, gain perspective with a fresh start. Write down and remember the reasons for starting a workout regimen. Write down why you believe you have not succeeded so far. By acknowledging the obstacles you have experienced, while planning for a fresh start, you’re bound to be more fulfilled by your workout. Mind over matter. Remember, continuous motivation comes from within.