How do I stay motivated?

You are checking out a wellness website, so I assume you are motivated to be fit and healthy. Train, eat well, treat your body with respect.

For some people being healthy and staying in good shape is a priority and an enjoyable process. For some to exercise and follow a good diet is something that they “have to do” in order to look good and/or be healthy. They do it but not because they love it. Then there are those who know that they “should do something” for better fitness in general, but exercising and giving up certain foods daily is a struggle.
Whichever group you belong to, getting motivated and keeping that drive is not always easy (even if you are in the first group). Lifting heavy weights off the floor and into the air; walking up the hill and back; grabbing your big toe and holding it in a yoga pose… many times these seem pointless amidst more pleasurable things. We all know that the struggle is worth it in the long run but long term goals don’t always motivate us on a daily basis. We need something here and now to start and to carry on.

Here are a few things that you can think of when you’re just not feeling it. These thoughts are simple but powerful and in my experience they work:

1. Exercise makes you feel good: It can give you that very pleasant “I’ve done something” feeling. When you’re really not in the mood to do exercise or practice but you still manage to convince yourself to do it, the pressure of “I should do something” turns into the pleasure of “I’ve done something”. Believe me, this feeling will make your day!

2. Exercise gives relief: It has a positive effect on tension, anger, frustration, confusion… I’m sure you’ve experienced this before – you were about to burst from anger, or you were really sad, or you felt enormous pressure because you didn’t know what to do in a situation and then you went to do a workout (even if it was just a long walk) and suddenly you felt less anxiety. Exercise is not super glue. It doesn’t solve problems but it helps to clear your mind, relax your thoughts and give you a break from mental strain.

I don’t like running but it has saved me many times from making bad decisions or doing impulsive things driven by anger, disappointment, or a broken heart. I went to the gym and I ran, ran, ran on the treadmill until suddenly catching my breath and reaching the target time was more important than anything else. Did I feel entirely happy when I finished the workout? No. But I felt better. Whatever happened I could cope with it. I knew I could survive anything. If I felt down again the next day, it was back to the treadmill. Not because I wanted to run, but because the physical challenge helped me to deal with the problem and get through all my mental, moral, or emotional challenges.

3. Exercise helps you sleep well: Sleep affects our well-being big time. If we get good quality sleep our mood is elevated, we are less irritated and we’re more productive. I’m sure you’ve noticed! Exercise will calm you down or simply make your body tired enough that you can sleep well. If someone asks me the way to happiness, one of my answers is definitely good sleep.

There is no one type of exercise that does all these things above. Whatever exercise you love the most will give you the most positive effect on your mood. It doesn’t matter if it’s a brutal HIIT session or 15 minutes of handstand practice. The most important thing is to believe that your workout will do you good! Feeling better is a good prospect both short and long term, right?

Photo by @jody_wright1 Model @bellaonlybella
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