Long-term sustainable motivation is like the search for the Holy Grail for the health and fitness industry. Almost every health and fitness expert has searched for the formula to attain long-term sustainable motivation. Some search for it because they personally have a desire to attain it, and others search it out so they can profit from it by selling the next new exercise program or diet. I am not going to claim I have the one single answer to help you attain long-term sustainable motivation, but I am going to share my take on this matter. I think it all starts with the area right behind your eyes and the six inches in between your ears (your mind).
It is easy to convince ourselves to start exercising and eating healthier, but it is much harder to sustain the initial motivation that drove us to make the change. Statistics back up this argument. The second week of January is typically the busiest time of the year for new gym memberships (think New Year’s resolutions), but by the end of February it is estimated that 80% of the New Year’s sign-ups stop exercising. Even worse to know is that when gyms build their facilities and set their pricing they do so with the expectations that roughly 20% of the members will actually attend regularly and the other 80% will seldom attend but continue to pay monthly membership fees.
The data clearly shows that as a population we are great with getting that initial desire and drive to want to make a change, but few of us are able to maintain the healthier lifestyle. Does this historical trend mean that the vast majority of us are doomed to fail? It is easy to argue the answer is yes, but I am going to stay positive and say the historical trend does not necessarily reflect future results.
What has to change are the thoughts and inspiration that we use to convince ourselves to make the change to a healthier lifestyle. If the main drive to seek a healthier lifestyle is driven only out of shame you are almost guaranteed to fail. If, on the other hand, the thoughts and inspiration for a healthier lifestyle are coming from a place of love for yourself and for others then I believe the odds of you succeeding increase dramatically.
Here is an example of what I am trying to explain. Imagine yourself or someone you know looking at themselves in the mirror on December 31st and saying, “I look disgusting and I cannot believe I let myself get to this point.” Sure you or the person you know might be driven to sign-up for a gym membership the next day, but is that initial sense of shame and self-hate really going to be enough to keep you motivated? Now imagine the same situation with you or someone you know looking in the mirror on December 31st and saying, “I do not look my best right now and that is okay because I am going to be making some changes in my life. I love myself and I love my family, and I want to live a healthier life for myself and for them. I am worth it. I deserve to have 30 to 60 minutes four times a week to focus on me and my health journey.” Later when you feel like you are starting to get off track or you start to question your desire to exercise and eat healthier I think you will reflect back on that moment when you stood in front of the mirror. My hope would be you remember why you started in the first place and that you remember that you are worth it.
And if you debating at very this moment whether you want to start your healthier lifestyle journey I suggest you go stand in front of a mirror, take a moment verbally and internally love yourself and those you care about, and realize you do deserve it and you are worth it, because you are my friend.
Dollar Workout Club