You’re in the driver seat. Your level of motivation is all up to you, which is precisely the problem. Your well of motivation depends on a single critical component—emotions. It’s unavoidable. You can accomplish any number of tactical feats, but until you address how you feel about it, your chances of success are diminished. Think about any difficulty that you have ever had to overcome in your life. What got you to the other side? What gave you inner strength? For most humans, we are purely motivated by what feels right in the moment. It’s a gut reaction that motivates us to action. So, let’s discuss how emotion works with other factors to help you harness the power of motivation.
Engage in Positive Thinking
Optimism can be a powerful tool and people engaging in positive thinking know it. Positive thinkers are healthier, more productive, and have a higher success rate of achieving their goals. Why? Because they wholly believe that what they are doing is worthwhile. Believe in what you’re doing and you tap into the reward center of your brain that releases dopamine and rewards you for that behavior. Now, when you’re first starting out, eating right and exercising every day feels like the biggest chore. It can be difficult to see a finish line or even define what it might look like when you’ve got such a long way to go. That difficulty is something that your mind grabs onto, and to overcome it, you have to work at it. Focus on the positives of getting fit: improved heart health and blood pressure, fitter waistline, better health checkup results, decreased risk of illness, positive body image. Now, imagine getting what you want the most. Define the path you will take to get there, set your mind to it, and take the first step. Then take the next one. Continue to stair-step your achievements until they become easier and easier to overcome. Most importantly, celebrate every step you take as a win, because it is.
Set Up a Rewards System
Positive thinking sets you up for the mental reward, but the physical reward is just as important. It’s a simple concept. Rewards make you feel good for accomplishing something, while penalties make you want to avoid whatever behavior got you the penalty. Get the idea? Let’s put it to work. Both short- and long-term rewards promote motivation in the brain. To start out, stick with short-term rewards. For example, you reach your goal of running three miles, three times a week. For accomplishing that goal, you reward yourself with that new shirt you’ve been wanting. You can also try the penalty approach, if your brain is of the extra-stubborn variety. If you don’t reach your goal, you have to return the shirt, cancel the massage, whatever disappoints your brain enough to avoid the behavior (or lack thereof) that caused the penalty. Humans may be relatively complex, but our brains are surprisingly easy to hack into doing what we want.
Recruit a Buddy System
There is no bigger motivator to step up your game than an audience, am I right? When someone is watching, you can suddenly conjure up all kinds of energy that you didn’t know you had. The competitive spirit is an easy one to tap into. Recruit a friend or two in your quest for a new you and turn it into a healthy competition. You can even incorporate the penalty system and pay your friends when you don’t achieve your goal. Talk about motivating! Another way to achieve this same hack is to join a fitness class or visit a fitness camp. When you’re around other people who are actively working on their health, you are motivated to do the same. Same goes for the company you keep outside of the gym, whether at home, school, or work. Surround yourself with like-minded people who are also working to achieve their goals and you will inspire motivation in each other.
Controlling your perception and mindset is paramount to cultivating and maintaining the motivation within you. Put these three principles to work and see how far you will go. Or, just visit us a Fit Farm. We’ve got motivation for days upon days.