Being a coach for nearly a decade has allowed me to come across a lot of people. As a rule of thumb, if I do a seminar in front of 100 people, 10 might stick around and ask questions. Of those 10, one might grab a business card. If only 1% of the population wants to work out, then I guess it’s safe to say that motivation isn’t always there. For most, exercise tends to be a seasonal thing, with the joy of the Holiday season, the return of Fall, and the arrival of Summer causing trends in when people workout. What I’m saying is that the likely hood of someone sticking with an exercise program is about the same as Zach Morris shows up for homeroom (that’s a Saved by the Bell reference kids…..if you’ve never seen an episode, you’re missing out).
Research tells us that half the people who start a training program will quit within 6 months(1). Sadly, many people drop out of an exercise program because of poor body image and low esteem. Furthermore, individuals often worry about what others perceive of their fitness levels and ability to exercise, thus feeling inadequate in the gym and avoiding it all together.
Which begs the question: how to motivate yourself? Well, here are a few things to keep you motivated. Remember, getting in shape isn’t always a smooth road, so keep these things in the back of your head:
- It takes 6 weeks for your nervous system to “wake up.” After that, your metabolism should start making adjustments.
- Most strength coaches will tell you that it takes 66 days to form a habit. If you workout 3 days a week, that’s nearly 6 months
- Your body loses all kinds of weight – water, fat, and possible muscle (let’s hope not). So stepping on the scale without understanding the number can create madness.
In order to stay motivated, sport psychologists talk about the importance of attribution. This means that you reflect back on past failures and attribute a reason for falling short. If the reasons were out of your control and not stable (meaning whatever happened won’t last forever) then you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Just set a small goal and you should reach success in no time. The more success you experience should lead to higher levels of motivation down the road.
1. Huberty, J.L., Ransdell, L.B., Sigman, C., et al. “Explaining Long-Term Exercise Adherence in Women Who Complete a Structured Exercise Program.”(2008) Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport 79(3): 373-384