Motivational Mind-Games – Trick yourself into Working Out
So you’ve had a taste of working out – you like the way it makes you feel and you like the subtle differences that you’re already starting to see in your body, but despite the fact that you are already looking and feeling better, you still struggle to find the motivation to get off of your butt everyday and get moving.
Lots of people, even those of us that have been on the “healthy lifestyle” bandwagon for years, can still occasionally have problems finding the proper motivation for getting a good workout accomplished – maybe we had a long night, are recovering from a head cold, are under a lot of stress at work or having a relationship problem, etc., etc. In all seriousness, we could develop a million excuses to not get up and get moving, but if you are serious about wanting a better, healthier body you’ve got to fight those excuses by whatever means necessary in order to complete your scheduled workouts.
If you’re finding it more and more difficult to get motivated and you’ve already missed a few workouts, it may be time for you to use something outside of the realm of regularity to get you going – something that will practically force you to train unless you’re willing to look like a fool or failure… Sign up to compete in an event.
The event selection is entirely up to you, it doesn’t necessarily have to be anything outrageous (like a marathon or full triathlon), it can be something as simple as a 5K fun run or walk – the event itself doesn’t necessarily matter, what matters is your commitment to it. This is a method that won’t work halfway though, you can’t ponder the thought of possibly sometime signing up for an athletic endeavor of some sort in the future – you need to go right now, pick out an event and register to participate in said event if you want to receive the full benefits of this type of motivation.
Picking out an event to participate in is incredibly easy as well – you can simply jump onto Active.com (www.active.com) and immediately begin to search for athletic events of all varieties in your area. The search function on the main page allows you to perform as broad or narrow a search as you’d like: picking from such criteria as the type of activity, the location and the time frame for which you’d like to compete. You will almost instantly have access to many of the competitive (and friendly) sporting events in a given area during a particular time period – most of which you’ll be able to get the full details of and register for without even navigating away from Active.com’s website.
You’ll be surprised by just how much motivation you can get by simply signing up for even a small local event. A combination of your pride, coupled with the potential for the thrill involved in a little friendly competition will provide an enormous boost in your attitude toward your training. In many cases people whose results have begun to stagnate can explode through the plateaus that they’ve reached by simply getting involved in some preparation for an upcoming competition.
Don’t set your sights too high right at the outset though, because you don’t want this approach to backfire – you want the success of having competed and done well in your chosen event, not the disappointment of an unfinished race – so don’t sign up for a half marathon next month if your longest run to date has only been two miles. Pick an event that is within your realm of capabilities and set it far enough ahead of time that you’ve got adequate time for preparation, but not so far ahead that you’ll forget about it.
If you are reasonably new to a regular fitness routine, pick something on the short side – a 5K run/walk or a 5-10 mile bike event and give yourself a good 6-12 weeks of prep time depending on your current level of fitness. If you are at ground zero in terms of training, but still feel that you need this great motivator in order to get your rear end off of the couch you can get some great (and free) training advice on race prep on Active.com (www.active.com), Cool Running (www.coolrunning.com) and Jeff Galloway’s website (www.jeffgalloway.com).
Don’t think that simply registering for an event will do it for you; why not take it up a notch and register to participate in a charity event. Few things can provide you with motivation like the idea that potentially thousands and thousands of people are in need and depending on you to come through with your promise. If you register for a 5K fun run and don’t end up competing – you’ll lose the twenty dollar entry fee and most likely feel a little guilty and disappointed in yourself; if you register to participate in a charity event and pledge to a group of hardworking organizers that you’ll not only contribute your entry fee, but generate donations as well, there is a lot more at stake than just a little guilt.
Competing in any event can be fun; you’ll get out and meet new people – many of whom are probably in the very same boat in terms of health and fitness goals as you are. You may find that signing up and participating in just one small race ignites and new passion in training and in the possibility of future competitions. You also might find some training partners at the event that will train with you and help keep you motivated for more events in the future, which will keep your workouts fresh and get you in better shape than you probably ever thought possible.
About Jeff Wilson Jeff Wilson has been involved in some form of sports and athletic training for more than two decades: as an athlete, a trainer and a writer.