Motivation for the Nation

Posted by in January's Magazine

Normally I’m a girly swot submitting my Leither articles well before deadline. I find writing about fitness in Leith a pretty straightforward topic to tackle. Not so this month, for I had decided to write about motivation. That’s it. Motivation. The thing that many people lack when it comes to getting in shape and also keeping new year resolutions.

Having decided to write about motivation, I found myself procrastinating, pondering and putting off writing the article you see before you. In fact, it is the day before deadline and I have finally decided that it’s time to write the blasted piece. And you know, sitting down to type this, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. I wonder why I was putting it off?


So you may be wondering why I have left the above thought process in the final draft. Since you ask, it is to illustrate that even ‘highly motivated’ self-employed personal trainers possess the capability to put off, procrastinate or, put plainly, be lazy. The main difference is what one procrastinates about. If EVERY year you promise yourself that THIS is the year that you are finally going to get fit, get healthy and feel fabulous, perhaps you understand a little of the scenario outlined above. Your intentions may be there, but your actions aren’t. How can this be?

There are many reasons why things don’t happen. My other half insists on his ‘planning stage’ (that’s the long period of time before action a.k.a. putting things off). Personally unless I have something on a list, it rarely gets done.

If exercise is not currently a priority in your life, i.e. not something you see as an essential part of your daily routine, then it’s unlikely it will get done. Here are a few easy-peasy tried and tested methods for getting motivated, keeping motivated and having momentum to boot;

Would you like to complete a 5km run in 2010? Or even longer? Well, now is the time to start training for it. Start small and add mileage each week as the weather improves. By spring you will be a dynamo. Having something to work towards gives you a goal. Alternatively your goal might be to look fabulous in a strappy summer dress (or similar) for a forthcoming occasion. Start now and build up closer to the date. A long term plan will get long term results. I find the easiest thing goal wise is to work out the goal date and work backwards… If I want to do a brilliant half marathon in April, I work out what my final mileage needs to be and work backward. The longer the time frame, the more effective the exercise programme.

Use your imagination
I am assuming you have found something you enjoy doing. Hate gyms? Don’t go! Not keen on pounding the pavement? No one’s making you. There’s loads of other ways to get fit, and most importantly, enjoy it! Lots of people want to learn how to run, however there are also lots of other cardio exercises you can do. Personally my favourite is cycling, but some people really love swimming, others dancing… or you could use your imagination.

Work out what exercise you like to do, and put it in your diary. For instance, if you enjoy swimming, you need to have your swimming kit ready by the door before you head off for the day. Organise it in advance, and put it in your diary / phone / handheld high-tech device so it is a tangible appointment. It’s too easy to say, “I’m too busy today, I’ll go tomorrow.” Tomorrow becomes the next day and so on and so on, so by the end of the week, you’ve not even been once and are in a panic about how lazy you are and it all becomes a little bit more impossible. An easy way to stick to exercise ‘appointments’ is to rope in a mate. Most people find they’re more likely to keep an appointment if they have a social obligation. Plus it makes it more fun.

Chart your progress. Making positive progress is a fab way to keep yourself interested. If you’re doing weights at a gym, you, or a trainer, should be reviewing your programme at least every six weeks. Varying your exercise programme is also another way to keep interested. Try different exercises and use different muscle groups. Always run in the same direction around the Links? Reverse your run and suddenly it looks different!

Eilidh, the life coach I run boot camps with told me that it takes three weeks to develop a new habit. Plan in advance, stick to your plan, plan to succeed and 2010 can be the year YOU DID IT!

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