iStock-473791648.jpgWhy do most people who start an exercise program quit within the first six months? The popularity of fitness challenges provides some insights about ingredients we are seeking for exercise motivation:

  • Energy: Let’s face it, exercise can get boring. Since we are hardwired to compete, whether it is against an individual, team, or electronic device, it keeps things interesting. Once that competition ends, though, the energy fades quickly.
  • A finish line: When we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, we can push through  drudgery and discomfort. The goal of being healthy and well has no finish line. Even if we reach a goal, such as weight loss, sustaining it is the real challenge.
  • Clear objectives: Training regimens and rules create boundaries.  Boundaries boost focus and channel our energy.  However, when faced with conflicting recommendations for exercise, we can lose confidence in our goals, get distracted, and our energy drains.

Yet relying on challenges for lasting motivation lacks sustainability. We are the owners of our own health and well-being!  Let’s learn from how successful companies and their leaders sustain inspiration for lasting success.

Inspire: To fill with the urge or ability to do something

Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action highlights “people don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it.” Check out his TED talk for compelling examples in leadership and business.

He uses The Golden Circle (see image) to illustrate how the successful companies and their leaders are the ones who create clarity and keep the focus on “why” the company does what it does. This is because the “what and how” comes from the part of our brain that understands logically, but does not insgolden-circlepire. We all know why we should exercise. Yet these logical reasons keep us living in the should and do not inspire long-term. To be inspired, we need to connect with the deep personal reason of why we want those benefits.  This comes from the limbic brain, the part where all human behavior and decison making comes from, where feelings of trust and loyalty are created. It has no capacity for language, only feeling. Inspiration is the feeling, not the thought, that keeps us loyal to our own goals.

Fitness challenges and competitions, re-boots, cleansing, etc. are missing this important factor for sustainability. They focus on the “what and how” based on someone else’s “why!” What is missing is the deeply personal why that only we can discover for ourselves. Our fitness test from the last blog is a way to start basing your exercise plan on what is most important to you, sparking the energy, clarity and focus we need to sustain inspired motivation.

Bottom line: Your deeply personal why provides inspiration for sustainable motivational  fuel for your true success. This why helps us find the energy for exercise by connecting it to what is really important to us personally.

Be Well Now,