Staying motivated to exercise

This is probably not the post you think it’s going to be… I’m not going to give you all sorts of ideas or methods on how to be motivated to stick with your fitness plan.

Honestly, it doesn’t work like that.

The number one way to stay motivated in your workout is:

You must have a compelling, deeply personal reason to stick to it.

That’s it. That’s how you stay motivated.

My compelling reason? Depression.

Depression literally sucked the life out of me. In the height of my depression, I had no energy, I never felt happy, and I was constantly self-conscious.

When I made the decision to start a regular fitness routine again, it was so that I never had to feel that way again. Weight loss, looking good – that was all a distant second to not wanting to feel like I was always in a dark abyss.

How do you find a compelling reason?

Here’s an exercise that can help you find a deeply personal reason to stick to your plan. Open a blank Word Document, grab a pen and paper, or take out the  markers and poster board and let’s explore this. Ask yourself these questions:

1. Why do you think regular fitness is so important for YOU?

I’ll give you a hint: “because I need to lose weight…” or “I want to look good in a bikini…” are most likely NOT the REAL reasons you want to workout regularly.

If you come up with an answer like that – dig deeper. WHY do you want to look hot in a bikini, or WHY is losing weight so important to you?

You’re looking for a reason that is deeply personal and likely has very little to do with your appearance.

2. What, so far, has stopped you from making fitness a regular part of your routine?

We are all busy – so being busy isn’t a REAL reason. I’m busy – I work 40+ hours a week, I have a busy 10 year old daughter, my job isn’t 9 to 5… I know busy.  I STILL make time to for fitness.

There is a huge psychological component to fitness. I’m willing to guess that the reasons you don’t stick to it have more to do with feeling insecure in some way, or uncovering a fearful emotion, than a busy schedule.

So if the initial reason is, “I get busy…” Dig deeper… there’s something else to it.

3. Can you actually picture yourself as the person who achieves the goals they say they want to achieve?

At first, the only thing I knew was, I wanted to work through the depression without the use of antidepressants. After 6 weeks of regular fitness, I knew that was going to work.

However, actually shedding my depressed self was scary as hell. After all, I had been that person for 34 years… she was the only person I knew how to be. And when I started working out regularly and eating better… well… the depressed habits didn’t work any longer.

I had to change.

I had to think about who I was without the depression/weight/feeling horrible about myself.

Once I started to be able to picture what life would be like without all of that, it propelled me forward.

These are powerful questions. They are meant to give you insight into what fitness means to you, and what you need to know to make fitness a regular part of your routine. You may not land on answers right away. That’s ok. Take your time – take a day, a week… just let them marinate.

By all means, if you need someone to talk to them about, comment here, or join us on Facebook. Please share your thoughts!

Comments

  1. Jane Carroll Cowart says

    Jenn,

    This is one of the best articles I have ever read. You hit so many nails on the head!

    Thank you!
    Jane Carroll

  2. says

    Oh my gosh Jane – thank you. I so appreciate that feedback!

    For the past few weeks, I’ve been nudged to start speaking about fitness in a different way. I had actually started this business to speak about fitness like this, but insecurity and fear got the best of me and I ignored it.

    There is this whole inner psychology that goes on with fitness… it’s the biggest piece, I think. Fitness helps us get reconnected to who we are… it helps us get out of our head and find our truth.

    And, that can be REALLY scary. Like I talk about above – when I started to shed that depressed person – it was stressful and frightening.

    These are the things I want to talk about in relation to fitness… the more introspective side of things…

    So, I really appreciate your feedback because it’s a little scary for me to be stepping into this truth…