In this series, we’ve looked at how the flood of exercise information has had little effect on the drought of exercise motivation. Fitness marketers know that consistency builds trust. They rely on the fact that when our brain hears and sees the same thing over and over, it is more believable. When we repeatedly hear and see similar messages about exercise and motivation (like the messages I talked about here), our brain is convinced it is the way to go. The whispers of truth in the research journals are drowned out by the noise of popular fitness media.
Listening to those messages often leads to going back and forth between two mindsets—looking for something that will get you motivated or doing a program that you hope will help you stay motivated. Over time, this viscous cycle can lead to the conclusion “I am just not an exerciser” and wipe out your motivation for exercise.
The fact is, if you are struggling to get and stay motivated, it’s because of our typical approach to exercise, not your genetic traits or a personal shortcoming. How do we get out of this struggle? By tuning out the noise and listening to what science tells us about how the brain and body work. The information we need most is not found out there. The answers have been inside you the whole time:
- Exercise motivation stems from what you value, not what you “should” do.
- You are in charge of your motivation, it can’t be outsourced.
- Kindness motivates. Criticism de-motivates.
- When exercise leaves you feeling better each time, you want to keep coming back for more.
- You are already whole. You don’t need to achieve a fitness goal to prove that.
- Your body is a miracle to be cared for, not a problem to be fixed.
Shifting our cultural mindset about exercise will take some time. Shifting your own mindset only takes a moment when you know t
hat the source of lasting motivation is right inside you. It starts with trusting your body and yourself.