I recently enjoyed the ramblings and musings of Dan John, a well known strength coach, speaker and author, on the topic of motivation during this podcast. I love his idea regarding 'prepositions' and I now include that in my answer when someone asks me how to get more motivated... It never fails. I'm at some sort of gathering with people I don't know when the topic of fitness inevitably comes up. After introducing myself as a Fitness Professional the reactions come hard and fast.
“Oh I workout! I LOVE my pilates (or prancercise) dvd!”
“I wish I had more time to workout”
“Oh, I could never be a runner, my knees are terrible”
“So can you get rid of my belly?”
And most commonly,
“I know I should workout, but... how can I get more motivated?”
My response has always been, “I'm not sure. Why should you workout?”
I could give you 1001 reasons to workout that you've probably already heard before, but that would do exactly zero good. That's because it doesn't matter one bit what I think.
It matters what YOU think.
Why is it important to you?
What concerns you about your current state of fitness (or lack thereof)?
What's going to happen if you keep going in the direction you're going?
I love these types of questions as they get someone to think about their current situation and how life could be different. Most importantly, they are the one who is coming up with the answer to their problem.
But there's something else to consider.
What Are Your Prepositions?
As you may recall (or not) from grade school, a preposition usually indicates where something is in space. As in:
“My 16 pairs of running shoes are strewn all over the house.” (Got a problem with that?)
Anyway, when I meet someone who isn't motivated I am meeting someone who's life is out of balance. So I ask...
Who are you under?
Who are you over?
Who are you around?
Who are you next to?
Who are you hanging out with?
You get the point. Who you spend your time with matters. A lot.
Spend it with out of shape people who don't value being healthy and guess what happens? You'll be outta shape, right?
So what's the key to life long health and fitness?
Quite simply, it could be who you spend your time with!
Who's gonna be more successful- the person with the headphones on, walking on the dreadmill, watching Dr. Phil or the person who meets up with other like-minded enthusiasts to share in some movement challenges?
As this super beautiful drawing above indicates, finding something you enjoy is huge. You don't have to run, but perhaps you may love rowing or dancing, or climbing?
It's Not All About You, Anyway
Another thing is, if you're lacking motivation, do something for someone else. Just get out into the community and pitch in.
I think you'll find that, more often than not, by helping others, YOU are the one who is rewarded.
In my experience most people are so focused on themselves that they never stop to consider how they are influencing those around them.
When you choose the matinee instead of a hike or a TV show over some time prepping food what are the consequences? Not just for yourself. How about your kids or loved ones? How about the sick health care system?
The foods you choose. The waste you generate. The stuff you consume...
Think about how you're currently living. What's one thing you could do today to help someone else – or help make the world a little better place?
You have one life in which to make a difference.
I think that by getting outside yourself a little whether it's getting a reliable training partner, joining a workout group, volunteering in the community, spending more time with those who value health and fitness, or just considering how you're living actually affects health of the planet you'll find you've actually got enough motivation for a lifetime.
If you are currently training consistently now but weren't previously, what changed for you? How have you been able to keep it up? Comment, please!