Motivation

The art of fitness motivation

Tiredness, complacency and excuses; these words rest heavy in the cannon of any fitness provocateur. We have all had days were we have lacked motivation. Instead of lifting weights we lift the remote control. If you are suddenly feeling indifferent to your fitness routine, there is no need to worry. We have gathered together leading psychologists and economists to discuss the best methods to increase your motivation and engage with fitness. These methods don’t just apply to fitness, they can also be applied to other tasks. Without these incentives you will clinging to the frame of your door when dragged out of your house.

Start increasing your fitness motivation by assessing your perception of fitness. Is it a positive perception?

This could be the reason you are lacking motivation. Many professional athletes have spoke about the benefits of visualization and psychologists believe visualisation has a direct correlation with motivation. This visualisation can be something rather simple like the warmth of the sun on your face as you prepare for your run at 5am. Visualisation can also be extravagant. For example, you could visualise receiving sporting accolades or your beach body on a summer holiday. This method is purely psychological but also very effective.

Dr Gabriele Oettingen, a psychologist from New York University and author of ‘Rethinking Positive: Inside the Science of Motivation’ believes that visualisation is effective but only when it is accompanied along side realistic problem solving. Oettingen believes in a technique called ‘Mental Constraining’. This technique enables you to realise what is holding you back and not just what you want to achieve. In one of the books studies, 51 female subjects were claimed they wanted to eat more healthy foods. Researchers asked each woman to imagine the benefits of nibbling on better foods. Those who began to use this trigger found it more difficult to eat healthier snacks. On the other hand, woman who made a plan to stop eating unhealthy snacks found it much more effective.

If you are still lacking the motivation to engage in exercise then why don’t you turn to what motivates you to work, cold hard cash. Dr Gary Charness is a behavioural economist from the University of California. He wanted to assess how monetary incentives effected a person’s motivation. Dr Charness found positive correlations between money and motivation. He went on record by saying that, “You just need to get people to keep doing an activity and paying them money was effective”.  In a monetary society, money talks and this makes clear sense.

One app that fully realises this motivational strategy is Pact. Pact is a community of fellow users who pay for you to stick to your workout routine. If you miss your sessions you can authorise payments to be taken from your host account. On the other hand, if you reach your goals you will gain money from a shared account that is funded by you and other pact breakers. This is a self-perpetual mode motivation that utilises the social concept of money. This can be of benefit to your fitness. Many people who want to keep fit but have no real motivation have become personal trainers. Personal trainers are constantly exercising and they are also enjoying a lucrative personal trainer salary.

The final method of motivation is simplistic but effective. People set themselves unfulfilling rewards that are more vague than rewarding. Some examples of theses include, ‘better health’ or ‘bigger arms’. These rewards are disruptive to your progress because there is no limit to how better your health could be or how bigger your arms could be. Instead of these rewards you could set a more attainable and final reward such as a smoothie or an episode of your favourite TV series.

Charles Duhigg is the author of “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business”. He believes that to inspire within yourself the motivation to exercise you have to create a ‘habit loop’ with your neurology. These habit loops implement cues that trigger new behaviours that will help you ascertain your reward. These extrinsic rewards link your behaviours and condition your mentality when understanding what and why you do during exercise. After so long, these habits become intrinsic and routine becomes habit.

These are just three different ways to increase your fitness motivation. They are taken from professional psychologists, neurologists and economists. If there is any advice that could collectively impact all aspects of your motivation, it would be this. It is better understand yourself than it is other people. Understanding your own triggers and desires can enable you to maximise your workouts and feel good in your own body.

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