Six Non-Traditional Tips For Exercise Motivation
June 16, 2014

Six Non-Traditional Tips For Exercise Motivation

I write about healthy living often, and I read up on it even more. One of the key tenants of healthy living is regular exercise. And one of the main frustrations with exercise is finding motivation. Not all that long ago, I ran across an article on the Huffington Post with six tips for motivation to exercise, and these tips are likely not ones we have heard. Let’s take a look at six less-known motivation tips.

1) Remember a Good Exercise Experience

It is so easy to get discouraged from exercising after a bad experience. But it is just as easy to find motivation to exercise when we remember good experiences. For me, when I am having a hard time finding motivation, I just remember how good I feel after I exercise, and remembering that good feeling is all the motivation I need. Exercise for me is about health not about how I look, so focusing on how good I feel after exercising is definitely a tool I use to motivate myself when I need a little push.

2) Do Not Aim to Exercise; Instead, Aim to Play

Specifically, the Huff Post identified aiming to play a sport, but I think if we think of exercise more as play than as work, then we will be more motivated. A long time ago, I stopped calling exercise “working out” because the term “working out” took away the fun of exercise, and exercise is definitely fun, or at least it can be if we think of it as play. For many, playing a sport is a good way to find that fun, but playing sports is also exercising, so it helps to build motivation.

3) Do Not Exercise Next to the Fittest Person at the Gym

Yeah, this is just a way to set ourselves up for insecurity. Sure, some might see this as a form of motivation because we can see what we want to look like ourselves, but the truth is most people will just fall prey to the comparison game and leave the gym feeling defeated. Instead, find a place where you can focus on yourself and find motivation within because intrinsic motivation will always work better than seeing external points of reference.

4) Do Not Try to Find Motivation By Focusing on Those Muffin Tops or Flabby Abs

The Huffington Post article explains,

“Both men and women often motivate themselves to exercise by thinking about their appearance. But it turns out this approach backfires.

A 2014 study found that frequent exercise goes along with a positive body image, which was defined as appreciating one’s body, focusing on how it feels, and being satisfied with what it can do. Makes sense so far. But, for gym bunnies whose main goal was just to look hot, all three components of positive body image weakened no matter how much they exercised. The take home? Consider changing your focus to something other than your thighs or tummy.”

Again, if we focus on being healthy, the rest will fall into place as we continue and commit to our exercise regiment.

5) Customize Your Workout in Little Ways

Instead of allowing a trainer to determine what exercises we will do, we should consider choosing our own sets. Studies prove that when we make choices and determine what exercises we want to do, we will be more committed and enjoy the exercises more. It is all about self-determination and choice. Sure, we should probably get some information from research or a trainer or something, but then we must make our own choices. Plus, this allows for flexibility in our exercising, which can also lead to more fun because we do not get bored with a routine.

For instance, some days I will run but the next day I will do yoga and walk while the third day will consist of just yoga and meditation. I also do sets of stretches and muscle-building and fat-burning exercises. I exercise every day, but I allow myself to choose what I will do each day so that I own my exercise.

6) Stop Thinking of Yourself As Lazy

If we think of ourselves as lazy, we tend to follow that path, but if we start thinking of ourselves as people who exercise, we will change to that path. It is amazing how psychology and health influence each other. Our psyche will go to great lengths to fit the identity we give ourselves. So if we start thinking of ourselves as people who exercise, then our minds and bodies will work to fit that identity. Exercising is not just about what we do physically but also about how we identify ourselves mentally.

These non-traditional tips for motivation will hopefully help us all to engage in fun and healthy exercise activities. Of these, I really think the most important two are to think of ourselves more positively and to have fun exercising. These two tips just might be what we all need to better our health.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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