25 Oct Secrets of fitness motivation
If you want to improve your fitness motivation, you can use techniques that train your brain to help you get into a positive, effective mindset.
The most important thing to remember when working on your motivation is that you are not helpless. You can take control.
Train your brain to train your body
Researchers have found evidence that by actively resisting impulses in one area of your life you can improve motivation and impulse control in other areas.
For example, by sticking to a new diet you are improving your ability to resist the impulse to eat snacks and over-eat.
This impulse control can carry over into other activity, including your ability to start and continue exercise. It is rooted in the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which influences impulse control and is more active among highly motivated people.
Use evolving goals to boost fitness motivation
You are more likely to persist with an exercise regime if you are succeeding, and you can use this fact to keep you motivated.
Talk to your personal trainer and work out whether you can build in ways of ensuring you are getting positive results from your programme. A great way of doing this is using evolving goals which start low and move up steadily.
You can celebrate each small success then immediately shift your sights to a pre-determined new goal. The effectiveness of this type of goal setting is one of the reasons video games can be so addictive; you just want to get to the next level.
You don’t need to fear failure
You may find that you don’t want to exercise because you believe you will fail. This is a serious problem for a lot of people, but you can find ways to combat it.
One option is to focus on success, deliberately creating a positive image in your mind. This gives your brain positive feedback and is a great way to get started.
A second option is to try to ignore the possible outcome and focus instead on just the small steps in the process. This is a method used by many people to deal with pressure. This approach takes the focus away from eventual success or failure and puts it instead on smaller tasks along the way.
Mindfulness techniques can also help you to focus and be more comfortable with your environment.
Seek positive people and places
We are social creatures, and the approval and support of other people can be a big motivating factor. Exercising in a group can help, as you strive together and support each other. A good role model can also be valuable, whether it’s a successful friend or someone famous you admire.
The place where you exercise can also affect your motivation. Even if you can’t find the perfect venue, you should at least be aware of how a smelly gym or boring running route can hit your motivation.
Research and experience have shown that training your brain can improve fitness motivation. The more you enjoy your exercise, the fitter, healthier and happier you will be.