So here I am at that point in the middle of winter where my hibernation tendencies may have peaked and I'm realizing I need to freshen up my motivation engine. We always have a big crush of deadlines right at the end of the year, coinciding with the holidays, and it throws getting to the gym regularly a little out of whack.
Anyway, as I was ellipsing on the elliptical machine at the gym today, I was thinking about how the biggest hurdle to fitness is, in fact, motivation. Not just like a one time "shot-in-the-arm" motivation, but steady, consistent motivation. The truth is that ANY motivation will lose its effect after some time and needs to be recharged. I think the trick is to recognize that this WILL happen and plan for it.
Here are a few ideas that come to mind:
Subscribe to fitness magazines. My favorite is Men's Health, second favorite is Women's Health (both published by Rodale). The thing about subscribing rather than just picking the magazine up at the store is that it will appear in your mailbox at regular intervals. These two magazines always inspire me to try out a new workout routine or new exercise that I hadn't thought of before and I subscribe to both of them.
Join a gym where there are lots of people exercising. Or do your walking or jogging in a place where other people are doing the same. Being around people who are active always makes me want to get up and exercise. In fact, as I was ellipsing on the elliptical machine today, I purposely chose a machine that faced the people who were lifting weights so that I would be eager to attack the dumbbells once I'd finished.
Of course, it is possible to keep yourself motivated without an external push. When I first started lifting weights (1984), I trained at home by myself. In fact, I entered the first three bodybuilding contests I was in after only training at home. I won one of those contests (Cleveland Novice) and did pretty well in the other two, but once I joined a gym, I could see how much more I could put into my workouts. I learned so much from the other lifters and always felt happy to be there.
Join a gym that you pay for. Someone once told me that Sigmund Freud said that paying for psychotherapy was a vital element in the success of the treatment. I don't know if he really said that, but it does make sense. We tend to want to get our money's worth when we've actually paid for something, so we'll be more likely to use the gym we join (hopefully!). Along that same line of thinking would be:
Sign up for classes that you pay for. They're regularly scheduled, social, AND you've paid for them! Perfect!
More ideas later.