Motivation helps us to perform at our highest levels. Motivation involves a combination of fostering inner drive and creating a supportive network that inspires us to grow. In order to be successful wen need to convert awareness to action. Behavior change programs need to be fun, social and rewarding.
Levels of Motivation
“You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” You frequently hear this phase as proof that you cannot get someone to change their behavior. Putting salt in the horses oats makes it easier to get him to want to drink. The trick with motivation is to make yourself thirsty for change.
What behavior are you considering changing? ___________________________
Which number accurately describes your present level of motivation. _____
Level 10 – I am changing. YES!
Level 9 – I will change. Determination
Level 8 – I want to change. Ambition
Level 7 – I will try to change. Willingness
Level 6 – I think I can change. Faith in ability
Level 5 – I wish I could change. Desire too low
Level 4 – I might change. Maybe?
Level 3 – I do not think I can change. No confidence
Level 2 – I do not want to change. No desire
Level 1 – I will not change. NO !
• If your level is 1, 2 or 3, your motivation is too low. You need a big boost in motivation, or you probably need to find another behavior to change.
• If your level is 4, 5 or 6, your motivation level is average. At this point, an increase in skills and support will enhance your chances of success.
• If your level is 7, 8, 9 or 10 you have the level of motivation necessary for successful behavior change.
12 Tips for Getting Motivated to Exercise
1. FUN If you choose fitness activities you really enjoy, you will more likely stick with them. Select activities that are at your level of conditioning. Treat yourself to the gear or apparel specific for those activities. Get into it!
2. SOCIAL Exercise with a friend. Time passes much more quickly with a companion. You and your friend can encourage and support one another. It’s also fun to meet other people while exercising.
3. REWARDS Set a realistic goal for yourself and, when you achieve it, reward yourself with athletic gear, a massage, a healthy lunch. It is important to recognize your effort. Others begin to recognize it, too. You’ll hear things like “Great to see you exercising!” or “Wow, where do you get all that energy?”
4. VARIETY Variety is the spice of life! There are many fitness activities to choose from. You can exercise outdoors or indoors; with others or by yourself; competitively or non-competitively. Don’t just stick to one type – try out several.
5. PACE Avoid the tendency to do it fast. Slow, steady progress is best. The correct pace decreases chances of injury or other setbacks. Find an enjoyable pace that fits you.
6. CONVENIENCE Make it easy to do! If possible, exercise in your neighborhood or near it. Choose a time of day that is good for you. Plan ahead and schedule your fitness activities. Classes help structure your time and give fitness the priority it deserves.
7. CHALLENGE It is essential that you take on the right amount of challenge. If you choose an activity that is too much for you, you will probably get discouraged. If the activity is too slow, you will most likely get bored. If you enjoy the challenge of competition, make sure the competition is healthy. Get into the competition for the health of it, not just for the sake of winning.
8. FEELING GOOD Do you want to feel really good? A sure way to make it happen is to go out and exercise! Exercise guarantees that you will feel more relaxed, handle stress more effectively, and sleep better. Try it! Notice what happens to your outlook on life.
9. EXPLORE Go beyond your fear of the unknown. As we get older we tend to do fewer kinds of fitness activities. Read a book, take a class, try a new form of exercise. Ask a friend to introduce you to something you’ve never done before. Keep you interest up.
10. PROGRESS Feel good about your progress no matter how slow it may seem. If it takes you weeks to go from walking a 30-minute mile to walking a 20-minute mile, that’s still progress. Chart the number of minutes it takes to walk, swim or bike that mile. Notice small stages of progress over time. Be gentle with yourself. Soon you’ll notice changes in your energy level and the way your clothes fit. The rewards are great if you take one step at a time!
11. LIFESTYLE Find ways to integrate fitness into other parts of your life. Instead of sitting and talking, go for a “walk and talk”. Rather than driving everywhere, walk or bike to the store, movies or lunch. Create ways to exercise at home: read while using the stationary bike; listen to music while on the rowing machine; do some stretching while watching TV. Use any opportunity to fit in more fitness.
12. I WANT TO! The best reason to exercise is because you WANT to. Making yourself exercise because “you really should” or because your spouse “thinks you ought to” will lead to failure. You will sabotage yourself by finding countless excuses: “I don’t have time”, “I’m too tired”, “I don’t have the right equipment”. Focus on fitness activities you want to do. Remember, you deserve to take time to take good care of yourself. Start now!