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There is something very interesting about exercise. With most things in life, although we are in an information age, there is a lack of widely accessible information. For instance, most of us wouldn’t easily access accurate information on how to install satellite television or how to read a financial statement.
When it comes to exercise things are different though, there is information everywhere and everyone knows in some way how to exercise. The lack of motivation towards exercise shows that we do not do what we know. We do not do what we want either because most of us genuinely want to exercise but we don’t always do it. Clearly in order to exercise we need to do, not just what we know or want but what we are motivated to do. In this article, I want to share with you a few strategies that will help you become motivated to exercise.
(I) Have a vision about your self-image
The truth is most of us have a certain picture of how we would like to look. Some people were born skinny, they picture themselves skinny and have accepted that self-image. Some people were born with a bit of weight, they picture themselves that way and even buy clothes that suite that image. Most of the time this is something that we are not always conscious about.
I remember a time when my wife had spent 3 months without looking into her body in a mirror. Women can’t live without mirrors, she did use a facial mirror but not a full body mirror during that period for some reason. We went shopping. She saw herself in a full body mirror to discover that her body shape had changed because she gained weight. She freaked out and screamed “Wow I am fat”. Surely, I must have not been honest to her at home in answering her most frequent question “Do I look fat?”
It was true that my wife had gained weight. But what really disturbed her was that her body was different from her ideal body shape or body weight. This disturbed her and motivated her enough to exercise and lose extra fat within two weeks.
Without vision of our ideal body shape or weight we are doomed to just pump food into our bodies and not make an effort to lose weight. I am telling you this because I would like to urge you to examine your vision of your ideal body weight before implementing the rest of the strategies that I will advise you to use from this article.
Some people wish to be skinny but in reality have a fat body image that holds them back. These people buy clothes that fit this image and accept how they look. Subconsciously they sabotage their efforts to lose weight. If you wan’t to be skinny, it would help you to think yourself skinny. If you think yourself fat, you might struggle to achieve weight loss. I am not saying you should not accept yourself the way you are. I am saying even thought you might, have a vision about your healthy self-image. Just accepting yourself the way you are might mean you do wish to change your self-image when it comes to being fit or weight loss. This is great for your emotional well-being but it will also not really help you towards achieving your fitness goals. If you accept yourself with a tummy, why would you want a flat stomach?
(II) Care less about your body comfort
The main reason people do not exercise is because they prefer bodily comfort over the pain of exercising. Bodily comfort is harmful in a long-term because it leads to a sedentary lifestyle. So the more you careless about your bodily comfort the more you will subject your body to the physical strain of exercise.
Ironically, what you will find is that once you start exercising you begin to find pleasure in exercising even though your body gets strained during exercise. People who have overcome their need for bodily comfort and pushed themselves to exercise begin to feel awkward when they have not exercised for a couple of days. The feel unacceptable strange when they have not gone for their run or have not cycled or have not lifted weights.
The first hurdle to overcome however before getting the level where exercise becomes a “must” and not a “should” is to let go of bodily comfort. Constantly, in your mind, argue against your body when it seeks for comfort. Naturally your body will seek comfort. Your task is to push against your body and subject yourself to the physical strain of exercising. Do not consider your mind and body as a unit. Your body will seek comfort but argue through your mind and remember your exercise goals.
(III) Assign an hour of exercise everyday
If nothing is labelled for exercise on your day then you will most probably never exercise. To exercise you need to have an hour in your day that you set out to exercise no matter what happens. Clear the hour of exercise and do not let anything disturb it. If you planned to run and it rains, the hour of exercise should not be spent watching a series on TV, it should be spent doing home exercises. Do not allow anything to stand between you and the hour of exercise.
(IV) Forget fitness rules, do what you like
As I have said before, there is too much information about exercise. It is easy to get trapped into what many experts think what exercise should be. What I have learnt in life is that things do not get done because of fixated rules. Things get done when we have fun and are excited.
Forget what other people think exercise should be. What are you exactly into? Are you into running, walking or cycling or are you into kick boxing. Whatever you are into, let that be your exercise.
Once you pick momentum and move away from a sedentary lifestyle then you can beef things up a bit and put formalities into place. The reason most of us learnt to successfully ride a bicycle when we were young even though falling was painful was because we did what we liked. Do what you like when it comes to exercise to overcome what you perceive as pain in exercising.
(V) Do not eat for taste
To keep motivated to exercise you need to see results. Muscle gain or weight loss or toned body. If you do not see results, you are likely to give up.
To see results you need to eat well. Remember if you want to lose weight or gain muscle 80% of exercise results depend on your diet and 20% depend on your physical effort.
I have set you up to become motivated enough to exert effort. Do not let diet undo what you have done.
Most people fail when it comes to diet because they eat for taste. When it comes to taste, most of us would agree that KFC beats a dish of steam cooked vegetables. So when we eat for taste we set ourselves up for failure because most healthy food doesn’t taste as good as junk. Unless your wife is a great cook or you have a professional chef in the house.
To see results from your exercise, eat for nutrition in your body. Tolerate the bitter taste of veges or whatever your vegetarian diet is. Diet plans fail when we eat for taste because soon we find ourselves failing to resist the taste of a birthday cake. Commit to eat differently, for nutrition rather taste. occasionally you can thank yourself with a small piece of your favourite tasty food.
Remember to remain inspired, to remove all obstacles standing in your way of success and do not dare give up on yourself or your dreams.
Phillip Ramphisa is the most sought after South African Motivational Speaker and Philanthropist. He helps people and organisations achieve their goals faster than they thought possible. His life mission is to end suffering and help people thrive in their lives. Phillip speak in conferences and events. To contact him please visit http://www.phillipramphisa.com