Okay friends, prepare yourself for a telling statistic about exercise programs….
According to Rod K. Dishman, Ph.D., director of the Behavioral Fitness Laboratory at the University of Georgia, nearly 50 percent of people who begin an exercise program drop out within the first 6 months. The real question here is “Why?” What is it that makes it so hard to stick with the program? The same is often true about sticking with new eating plans or diets.
The answer? Motivation. Most people don’t want health and fitness badly enough to make it a priority. In general, when we want something badly enough, we’ll do whatever it takes to get it. If a million bucks were on the line, you can BET these same folks would PROBABLY stick with their program for as long as it took.
The biggest challenge in sticking with your health and/or fitness program is to find out what motivates you so you can unlock some staying power. (Of course you also need to choose a program that works for you (not someone else), for long term lasting results.)
What’s your motivation?
Some people are motivated by money, some are motivated by more extreme circumstances such as a major health scare. Some of you will be motivated in order to leave a legacy for your family, and some of you will be motivated for more “selfish” reasons.
The key is to know that you do not have to be part of that 50 percent who give up.
With the right program, you CAN stay committed and reach your health and fitness goals. You can even maintain these results for the long haul if you can figure out what motivates you on a deep level.
Consider the following possible motivators:
- For your overall health. Consistent exercise and healthy eating are the two very best things you can do to maintain your health. You will develop a strong, healthy heart, reduce your chances of many cancers, prevent diabetes, keep a sharp mind and resist dementia and avoid many of the common ailments that come with aging. It is even possible to age without going too far downhill too early, and the key to this is staying active and eating well. I mean, who doesn’t want to live a long time and live a healthy and vibrant life?
- So your clothes fit better. Appearance isn’t everything, but most of us care at least a little about how we look and how our clothes fit. A strong and healthy person looks good and exudes confidence. You will appear more energetic and confident because you will actually be more energetic and confident! Added bonus: you may even find the confidence to try new things you’d never considered trying before!
- For stress relief and extra energy. Exercising actually creates physical changes in your brain and nervous system that result in feelings of calmness and overall well-being. In fact, you may enjoy the mental/emotional benefits of exercise so much that you will come to crave it! When you’re exercising regularly and eating well you will feel more even-tempered overall and may even find that you can keep your cool even in some stressful situations. Added bonus: calm, happy people attract other calm, happy people and much happiness and joy into their life!
- To be strong. If you have never done any deliberate strength training, then you may not even realize the total transformation that you can feel after just a few short weeks. There is nothing like performing an everyday task that normally results in discomfort or even pain, only to find out that it is now as easy as a piece of pie! Added bonus: increasing your muscle strength will reduce your risk of age-related falls and fractures because you’ll have the strength and balance to keep yourself stable.
- To leave a legacy. This is the one I find most of my clients really care about when it comes right down to it. People want to leave a lasting impression on the world, to be the best that they can be, to impact the future generation or even just other people in the current generation. Added bonus: becoming a good role model, inspiring others to follow in your healthy footsteps, and leaving a deep impact as these actions create a ripple effect can be deeply rewarding. This can be even more rewarding when you see the little people you brought into this world following in your healthy footsteps!
It is definitely worth taking some time to discover the deep and powerful motivators for you personally. Don’t worry if you have to start out ‘bribing’ yourself: just do what it takes to get STARTED. Find out what makes sweating worth it. Find out what you want more than that pizza. Your health is at stake; in fact, your very life is at stake. It’s time to transform yourself. Once you’ve figured out your motivators, use them to drive a solid commitment to making it happen. We will often not “feel” motivated, but when we reflect back on our commitment to change based on our deep reasons why, we can get it done even when the feelings aren’t there.
Want more on this topic? Check out this blog post “Why should I Exercise?”
Ok, now I’m talking to those of you who already know what you “should” do but just can’t seem to get it done. You are NOT alone. It can truly be a struggle to make a big change on your own and we often need someone else to help us figure out the REAL deep meaning.
Hint: If you have already “figured out” your motivation and you’re STILL not where you want to be, maybe its not the REAL reason or perhaps your program needs to be modified to better meet your personal needs & goals!
This is where a coach like myself can come in and help you get from “should do” or “want to do” to actually “doing”. And I’m just a free coaching call away…