What is motivation?
The Merriam-Webster defines motivation as a force or influence that causes someone to do something. Or the condition of being eager to act or work. I will add to their definition by saying that motivation is a need to take action.
We are all motivated to do something but it’s discipline and the will to continue, in spite of all odds, that separates those who accomplish their goals from those who start and stop.
What gets you moving?
The secret to transforming your body from where you are now to what you want it look like in the future is to find out what motivates you to take action.
Most of us hate to get up in the mornings. You would rather lie in bed and pull the cover a little higher . . . especially if it’s raining or snowing. But you also know that the rent is due at the end of the month, along with a ton of other bills. You have to put food on the table every day. If you don’t get up and go to work you don’t get paid. You must take action.
Or maybe it’s the fear of acceptance – friends and family, an illness, the boss, spirituality – that causes you to take action. Or an eagerness to please someone – e.g. buying the best engagement ring.
Whatever it is that motivates, apply those same thought processes to starting and sticking to a workout routine.
Prevent pre-diabetes by taking action
It’s easy to come home and sit in front of the television or surf the net. But for the hour or more that you spend watching TV you could have finished your workout for the day. Heck, if the show is that important you can tape it. Or make time to exercise in the morning.
Point here is that if you don’t begin your exercise program now, you are losing out on a great opportunity to prevent pre-diabetes . . . or even begin reversing the condition if you have been recently diagnosed.
Don’t dig your graves with your teeth!
America is a country of convenience – all you have to do is pick up the phone and you can have any type of food delivered to you in minutes. This makes us lazy and complacent, as far as our diet is concerned.
If you want to eat healthy you will have to plan your meals accordingly. You must determine what force or influence to use to motivate you to upgrade your eating habits. Take a minute to think about that.
Make a list of the things you would like to accomplish by changing your diet. Is it to lose 10 pounds? Is it to feel stronger and more energetic? Is it to get rid of all the diabetic medications you are currently taking? Or maybe it’s to get rid of the pain and discomfort in your hands and feet. Or to look good in your summer outfit. Be specific.
Once you realize what it is that you wish to accomplish, design a plan of action to move towards your goals. This is the fun part. As you lay your plan out, start to visualize yourself reaching and surpassing your goals. This will help you find that something inside that will push you to accomplish great things . . . for you. Aren’t you worth it?
We will talk more about goal setting later but for now I would simply like you to think of the things you wish to accomplish. As Sylvester Stallone wrote… “Inside each of us is the person we want to be. Others might not realize but … it’s in there”. (See ref.)
Motivation comes from within you. It’s what drives you to accomplish something. It is not an emotion such as fear or anger but is a strong internal desire and determination that is set off by external circumstances.
If you want to quit smoking … something has to push you to do it. It is the same thing with starting and maintaining an exercise program. Certain outside influences come into play that will give you that kick in the butt to do it.
Here are some tips to get you going:
- Workout partner
At the top of the list of things that will motivate you to exercise is getting a good workout partner. A good workout partner is someone who is in similar physical condition as you. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to be diabetic; they should understand the condition and limitations it places on you. In some cases, it would be good if they were in better shape than you. That way you will have someone to compare your progress against.
They will encourage when you don’t feel like exercising. You can do meal plans together and discuss each other’s individual progress. They are a positive influence on you. Of course, the same holds true in reverse. You must be a motivator for your workout partner when they need encouraging.
Your partner will be a huge boost to your overall fitness program. They will help you get the most benefits out of your efforts. You can set short-term and long-term fitness goals together.
While you are exercising together, socialization should be kept to a minimum since this will distract you. You can always BS afterwards, but while you are exercising your focus should be on the task at hand.
If you are serious about reversing the complications of diabetes and improving your overall health, a partner is the one who will get you over the hump.
It’s easy to find a partner. After you have started you exercise program you will begin to notice other people who are on the same level as you. Just start talking to them – ask them to spot you on a particular exercise or to show you how to operate some of the machines. They can show you the best jogging paths in the neighborhood. Most people will be glad to accommodate.
Even if it’s just encouraging you to go to the gym or to do one more lap in the pool or to do five more sit-ups . . . a workout partner is an invaluable investment in your health.
I had two and sometimes three good partners who helped me to reach a level of fitness I would not have realized by myself. I urge you to get at least one.
- Goal setting
As mentioned earlier it’s important to set realistic fitness goals for yourself. They should be broken up into short and long-term commitments.
Your short-term goals should include things you can achieve in a short period of time. For example, if you want to reduce your body fat percentage by a certain amount in a month, then write that down and commit yourself to doing it. Or may-be you want to increase the distance you speed walk by two miles. You can add ½ mile to your distance every day until your reach your goal.
After you’ve reached your goals then set new ones. Challenge yourself and you will be pleasantly surprise. You can do this.
In addition to your short-term plans, you should set real long-term goals that will give you an incentive to work hard each week. You might want to enter the 10K race coming up in seven months or there may be a twenty-five-mile bike race coming up that you and your partner want to enter.
Be specific with your goals. Don’t make vague plans such as ‘I want to be stronger’ or ‘I want to lose weight’. Come up with real numbers; write them down and keep them posted in a prominent location.
Setting goals will help to motivate you by giving you an incentive to workout as often as is necessary to reach those objectives. Remain focused on your target and you will surprise yourself.
- Motivating music
One of the things that help put me in a good frame of mind when exercising is music. I find that certain types of music will make my workout flow that much smoother. When you go to your local fitness center you will see many members exercising with their music strapped on. Music can really help motivate you. You can shut out distractions and focus on what you are doing.
Some people get pumped up by listening to hip-hop, while others prefer something a little softer. Choose something that puts you in the mood. Sometimes I find, that when visiting with family and friends and I hear some of the music I listen to in the gym, it automatically triggers me to want to exercise.
You might even get some inspiration from watching certain movies. ‘Rocky’ comes to mind. I like Sci-Fi . . . and movies like the ‘Matrix’ does it for me.
- Buy yourself something new that’s exercise related
Believe it or not just wearing a new pair of running shoes will make you want to go running. Or buy a pair of workout gloves or a fancy jump rope. This will have a positive impact on you. It gives you something to look forward to the next time you exercise.
- Take before and after pictures
As you begin to see the positive results from all your hard work you will be encouraged to work even harder.
- Keep a journal
When I go to the gym and can consistently lift heavier weights than I did the week before this always give me a mental boost.
Each week as you make progress toward your goal of a healthier life style you will get that good feeling that will carry over to the next week.
I encourage you to choose a sport that you have always wanted to play or participate in and use this opportunity to become proficient in it. It can be tennis, golfing, swimming, skiing, cycling or whatever. You will be surprise to find that there are many people like yourself who are beginners and are taking up the sport for the first time.
This will help to motivate you to work harder mentally and physically. You will meet new people in the process and be encouraged as you make progress each time you participate.
Visit How to Prevent Pre-diabetes for a complete fitness program for beginners as well as seasoned exercisers. Or click on the image at the right of this page.
Men’s Fitness Magazine pp. 114 June/July 2005 – quoting S. Stallone’s book “ A Million to One Shot”.