By Gabe Sanders PhD, NSCA-CSCS
If you are like many people who exercise; you may be counting down the time you have remaining on the elliptical asking yourself, “Why am I doing this?”
The question may seem simple to answer and most people are likely to respond rather quickly and say, “Because its healthy for me!”
That answer is correct. We all know that regular exercise is healthy for our bodies. However, there has to be more that is motivating you to exercise than just the health aspect? Many times, exercise without motivation leads to no exercise. Simply exercising only because you are telling yourself it is healthy is not a great motivator.
Why are you exercising?
Personally, I exercise almost every day because I feel better when I exercise. When I do not exercise, I have this feeling of laziness which leads me to feeling very “blah” and quite frankly, uncomfortable. I know that seems like a very typical answer, but it’s true, at least for me.
Digging a little deeper into my psyche, I know that my productivity is far greater when I am consistently exercising. I also know that my attitude and the way I perceive others is drastically better when I exercise and take care of myself.
What is your motivating factor?
Again, it’s important for me to be productive daily while having a positive attitude. My attitude affects everything for me from relationships with my colleagues to my family and friends, which is why it is so important for me to exercise and be active. If you notice, I was speaking for myself and myself only. I am very conscious about why I exercise because it is my motivating factor, far more motivating for me than simply doing it because it is healthy for me.
Now if your primary motivation is the health aspect, great! Keep that fire going let it motivate you moving forward on a daily, weekly, and yearly basis. If the health component is not your motivating factor, what is? Maybe you want to lose weight to fit into a pair of pants? That is great but what happens once you lose weight and fit into those pants, then what will motivate you?
I do not have answers for each person, but I do know that being aware and thinking about what motivates you, over time will improve your consistency.
More often than not, once you consistently engage in exercise you will begin to figure out why you do it. In my experience, people who finally become consistent exercisers discover an internal reason or motivation and they also understand their motivation may change over time. Every person is different and has their own reasons for living an active and healthy lifestyle. Be sure to find your reason!