The way to STAY motivated for exercise

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In the last blog we talked about how the excitement of working toward a goal can be motivating, but that it is likely temporary.  Using goal setting to get motivated just does not give you the skills to stay motivated, which leads to the common ‘all or nothing’ approach to exercise.  

The heating system in a home senses the temperature and adjusts what it’s doing to sustain a comfortable temperature inside, even as the  weather changes. It is set up to continually produce and maintain that, even as conditions change.  What makes it work is a built-in feedback loop designed to sense what is happening moment by moment.

Systems are designed for sustainability. Using a system, rather than goals to get motivated, means you will stay motivated,  even as conditions change in your life. Your feedback loop for an exercise system is mindfulness.  Present moment awareness gives you the power to sense what is happening in your mind and in your body, moment by moment. This gives you a feedback loop, so you know when you are getting off track. More importantly, the curiosity and kindness of mindfulness allow you to make the necessary adjustments so you keep getting what you really want from exercise, even when life starts to get in the way.  

Wouldn’t it be great for exercise to always leave you feeling and functioning better, now, instead of waiting until you reach your goal to feel better?  Wouldn’t it be great if you knew you were doing enough, instead of always feeling like you should be doing more?  A systems mindset lets you know how much is enough, moment by moment.   A systems mindset frees you from worrying about your ability to stick with changes, because you get the Real Results you want each time you exercise.

Even if you do have goals, things that you want to achieve with fixed endpoints, such as completing a 5K, a systems mindset will help to provide a foundation of motivation as you work toward those goals. Even more importantly, the system will be there when the goal is over, keeping you out of that all-or-noting approach to exercise.  

It is smart to wait to begin working toward a goal until the time is right. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure by working on a goal when you’re not ready.   But, when you want to feel and function better, now is a great time to start!  Remember, a system is built to adjust when outside conditions change, so you don’t have to wait until conditions are just right to start. 

You use systems all the time to keep your life functioning well.  Why not use one for  exercise, to keep you functioning well?

Whole-heartedly,

Janet

PS: Exercising WELL is is a coaching and membership program I designed to guide you through building your system for lasting exercise motivation.  Take advantage of the amazing introductory offer only available until January 31. For only $85 you get a coaching call with me, a 28 day online program, and personalized weekly email coaching for a month! Rates will never be this low again!  Click here for more information.

Move from breakable habits to lasting habits

Click here for the playlist for this audio series.  

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This post is part three of a blog series based on my FREE audio program.  

Making exercise a habit is the “golden nugget” of exercise programs.  There are all kinds of suggestions out there to “make you” exercise, leading to the belief that if you stick with it long enough, you will  reach a fitness or weight  goal and then exercise will automatically become a habit.

If you want exercise to become a habit, it’s because intuitively you know what the exercise scientists call the Principle of Reversibility. This basically means if you use it, you get to keep it. You have probably experienced first-hand how easily you can lose strength or stamina or flexibility or regain lost weight when you are not exercising.    Certainly, making exercise a habit that you don’t have to think about would be considered “success” when it comes to exercise.

There are many ideas about how long it takes to build a habit.  Science tells us, however, that habit formation is not about time, it’s about experience

  • Negative experiences create a habit of avoiding something.
  • Positive experiences create a habit of wanting to do something.
  • Mixed experiences create the need for willpower to avoid or do something.

Keep those facts in mind as you consider the #1 fitness trend of 2018 – High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT.  This is where you put in all-out effort in order to get your cardio over with in less time.  What does it say about how we are using the science of habits and reversibility if our #1 way to exercise right now is very uncomfortable so we can get it over with? 

Listen to part 3 of my FREE audio program to find out how to design exercise so you move from breakable to lasting habits. (Hint: it’s about making exercise something you want to do.)

Then, stay tuned for the next session to be released soon.

Whole-heartedly,

Janet

P.S. Know someone who could use this information?  Share this link with them.

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Why this year will be different

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Whether you set resolutions or not in the new year, you probably have something in mind you want to improve about your health and well-being. Maybe you want to lose weight, or get fit, or have more energy, or better manage a health concern. It is our natural inclination to be well—we can’t help it. This innate striving to be well has kept us thriving as a species.

Yet, there may also be this little (or very loud) voice inside saying “Oh yeah, but what about all the other times you said you would and you didn’t?” Or maybe it says “You thought you really had it last time but you let it slip away. What makes you think this time will be different?” Those voices are there to keep us well too. They help keep us from making mistakes. So what do we do when we want to be well but don’t want to fail?

We go searching for the answers “out there.” We look to a new program, plan, or person that sounds so motivating, it just might kick us into gear and make us stick with it this time. But if your past has told you that you can’t be trusted with your goals, what will be different this year?

This year will be different because you will put the energy into strengthening your ability to motivate yourself,  your Inner Trainer™. Let’s be clear, this is not just a pep talk or a new fad approach to meeting goals. I am not selling you my story of what worked for me, because that would be another outside motivator.  What I do have  to share is the science of how our body and brain work.  And the research tells us that outside motivators don’t last and inside motivators do!

This time you will base what you do on what really works. You will stop giving away your power to motivate yourself. You will take back your trust in yourself to be true to what is most important to you. Best of all, you will be able to relax when you reach that goal because you will know it is no longer a goal, or a struggle. There will be nothing hanging over your head, no voices telling you you probably won’t stick with it. You will just know you have what you need to enjoy the energy, health, and well-being you have wanted for so long.

Whole-person fitness is about you discovering what works for you, based on the facts and your Inner Trainer™.  It starts with Fueled by Facts, your 30-day fitness* myths cleanse.  Sign up now and begin uncovering how this year, and each year going forward, will be different.

*Fitness: the ability to do activities of daily life with ease with energy left over for emergencies and things you enjoy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention definition of physical fitness.  

Get a better return on your resolutions

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In the last blog, I talked about taking time in January to be sure your exercise goals for the new year are based on facts rather than energy-draining myths.  However, what do we do with that natural drive to set goals and get back on track this time of year?  Let’s  take a look at what can we do instead of diving into action.

Check out this article by Beth Benatti Kennedy, a career coach and close friend who is full of wisdom when it comes to finding a career you love and achieving work/life balance. Although this blog post is from a couple of years ago and is directed toward career goals, the message is timeless and crosses all areas of well-being. She proposes three questions to ask yourself each January instead of setting resolutions. Why not set resolutions? Because January is a great time for recovery from the holidays and reflection of the year past. December is no time for resolutions and goals when heads are still spinning from the end-of-year holidays.

Here are the questions revised for this year and for reaching your health and well-being goals.

• What went well in 2017? What accomplishments are you really excited about?

• What did you learn in 2017?  What worked when you did stay motivated?

• What would you have done differently? This third question will begin to prepare you for having some 2018 goals that are based on what you learned last year, rather than just a reaction to the holiday stress.

So, enjoy a January free of the pressure to set resolutions. Take a walk to help your brain learn and be creative as you ponder these questions.  When you return, jot down the answers.  Let them “simmer” a bit until February 1st. You will be ready to set goals for 2018 that are well-thought out and meaningful.

Remember to sign up for my FREE 30-day fitness myths cleanse called Fueled by Facts.  Cleanse yourself of the myths that drain time, energy, and motivation for exercise and you will be ready to set goals for 2018 that are based on facts.

Avoid “wind-up toy” motivation

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The holidays can certainly wind us up, can’t they? More treats, less exercise. More to do, less time to do it. More things put off until after the end of the year, which is full of excitement, entertainment, and emotion. When it is over, we can be raring to go like one of those wind-up toys. We experience a surge of motivation to “get back on track.”

But, like those wind-up toys, that big burst of motivation does not last.  Why? Because its “fuel source” is not lasting.  Let’s put that energy to better use this year.

Nothing drains motivation faster than not seeing ‘results.’ In the vastly unregulated fitness industry, it takes a very savvy consumer to weed through the myth-based marketing and create a plan that will be sustainable. So one important source of lasting motivation is to be sure you base what you are doing on facts, not myths.

This is why my new free online course is called Fueled by Facts. It is a 30-day fitness myths cleanse. Sign up now and starting January 1, you will receive a link to a brief (five minutes or less) video that clears away different energy-draining myths and gives you the facts.  I don’t want you to waste energy on those sneaky myth-based approaches to fitness in 2018.  Let’s be Fueled by Facts!

Stay tuned! In the next blog we will look at a handy replacement for resolutions that adds to your long-term fuel source for motivation.