Motivation is what gets us into the gym January 1st, makes us lace up those running shoes with a promise of a daily walk. I have a phone full of motivational memes to do just that; I am sure you have heard these ones before. “Champions never quit”, “3 months from know you’ll thank yourself”, “stop wishing, start doing” …blah, blah, blah. Now don’t get me wrong motivation is a great tool. Reading these quotes right now, I feel myself nodding and agreeing with the message they are portraying, my mind thinking about my next workout.
What happens when we choose to scroll quickly by those messages? When that friend who was always asking to join her at the gym, stops? Or that wedding we had to lose 10 pounds for has come and gone? It is cold and rainy out? What happens when the outside motivation is gone?
We then revert back to our old habits. These habits that have been ingrained in our minds from years and years of repetition
Hmmm…..repetition, regularly completing a task or routine over a period of time. Habits.
What happens if you use that motivation that convinced you to take the first step and turn it into a habit?
Let’s use the daily walk as an example.
The Plan: Walk every day for 20 minutes.
Motivation starts off strong, walking every day for the first 5 days and then something comes up or it’s too cold or looks like it may rain or you are too tired in the morning but promise yourself to go in the afternoon. This pattern continues until eventually the daily walk is long forgotten.
How could the daily walk become habit instead of just fuelled by motivation?
Pick the same time every day to take your walk. Pick a time that will not be easily cancelled by other activities or commitments. Every day put your walking clothes on and lace up the runners. Walk out the door. If it’s too cold or rainy or any other excuse comes to mind, acknowledge it, turn around, go back inside, change your clothes.
Yep you read that right.
The next day, put on your walking clothes, lace up your runners and walk out the door. Don’t feel like walking? Go back inside, change your clothes.
The next day, put on walking clothes, lace up runners, walk out the door. “Well I am dressed, might was well take a quick walk around the block”.
EVERY DAY, same time, put on walking clothes, lace up runners and open the front door until it becomes HABIT. If you want to walk, go, if not, take the shoes off, change your clothes and go back to whatever it is that you would rather do. I guarantee starting with the habit of dressing for the activity will eventually turn into taking that walk every day.
Take a moment to think about the healthy habits you want to create and the steps you can implement to get yourself there.
Remember motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you coming back!
By Arlene Goode. Arlene is a Certified Personal Trainer at Body Design. Body Design offers Personal Training, Athletic Therapy & Yoga to assist individuals achieve their fitness and weight loss goals.