Motivation. Where is it when we need it most?
We all know that it’s the ultimate fuel for a successful workout and it drives us when it comes to starting and maintaining a fitness regimen. The psychology of fitness motivation has been well researched, and there are proven methods that you can use to get yourself going. Next time you’re going to go workout but can’t quite find the motivation, put these tips into practice, and you may find them to be highly effective.
Sport psychologists talk about visualization all the time, and athletes around the world use this technique for performance enhancement. The night before your workout, take 10 minutes to visualize your entire session in your mind. Imagine yourself getting up, working out (really go through the entire workout in your mind) and feeling energized and accomplished afterwards.
2. Have Fun
When it comes to exercise, people often underestimate the power of having fun. In fact, a recent study reveals that if you’re not having fun and perceive your workout as work, you’re more inclined to snack. Try dance classes or pick up a sport you used to love or have always wanted to try. Enjoying your workout improves the likelihood that you will be motivated for the long run.
It may be surprising to learn that taking a trip to the mall could have beneficial effects on your fitness motivation. A researcher coined the term “enclothed cognition,” which essentially means that what you wear affects your performance.
Study results show that you’ll perform better at a given task if you dress suitably for the task at hand. For example, dressing like a personal trainer or a professional cyclist (depending on what activity you choose) has the potential to greatly improve your exercise performance.
4. Focus on Strengths
It’s important that you remain positive. Reframe negative thoughts (e.g., I’m not going to make it through this workout) to more positive thoughts (e.g., I’ve gotten through workouts before, and I always feel better after).
Reframing is a cognitive-behavioral technique that can help people become higher functioning in all areas of life. Self-talk has a powerful effect on your ability and motivation to perform. Focus your thoughts on strengths, such as how you made time for your workout or how you exercised even though you didn’t feel like it.
5. Reward Yourself
Positive reinforcement can be an incredibly effective way to keep yourself on track. Frequent rewards throughout the process are well-deserved when starting and maintaining a fitness routine.
Give yourself rewards daily or weekly: Take a trip to the spa, use the steam room or get a massage to unwind. Short-term and long-term rewards are necessary. Plan a celebration one to three months in advance at which you can show off your results.
6. Be Consistent
We know from research that “feel good” chemicals such as dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin are released in the brain when you exercise. But when you exercise consistently, new dopamine receptors are created in the motivation centre of the brain. Exercising becomes a self-reinforcing behaviour!
Thanks to our friends at livestrong.com