3 Science Backed Secrets to Boost Motivation.
Workout motivation. You have none. Or at least, it comes and goes. And quite possibly more often than not, it goes. You know exercise is good, and you still don’t do it. You’re not alone.
If you read my article last week regarding pain being the number one factor to halt someones progress, then motivation, or lack thereof, is a very close second.
We all want a magic pill that makes us fitter, stronger, leaner and healthier. Good news is the magic pill is here. The bad news is, it’s exercise.
The Magic Pill Is A Treadmill… kind of.
Some will play brain-training games to keep their mind quick and sharp. Some may meditate. Some may take mouthfuls of supplements. How do those fare compared to exercise? In boxing terms, exercise wins by KO in the first round!
The evidence for exercise boosting cognitive function is head-and-shoulders above that of brain training, drugs, nutritional supplements and meditation. Scientifically, on the current evidence, exercise is the best way to enhance your cognitive function. When you exercise it boosts BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) which helps you learn faster. About 20% faster!
Want to be happy? Exercise is as effective in treating depression as anti-depressants. And if that isn’t enough, people who exercised had a lower relapse rate than those taking meds.
But it doesn’t stop there. Exercise makes you less likely to get sick. It makes you more creative. It boosts confidence and helps you sleep better at night.
Where am I going with all this? In a nutshell, a happy brain is more likely to stay motivated.
They are all awesome benefits of exercising! But how do you get the motivation to ‘follow through’? First, let’s kill that awful dread you may feel when you think about having to go to the gym.
KILL THE DREAD
Sometimes a visit to a gym can feel like you’re about to get a tooth yanked out at the dentist!
You tell yourself “Im gonna feel awful” or “Its gonna be painful.” The solution… STOP THINKING ABOUT THE BEGINNING! Getting started is unpleasant and research shows when you think about exercise you give that too much emphasis. It’s similar to procrastination in that you think about how uncomfortable something is to get started… so you don’t.
Give a ‘DASH’ a try.
You make yourself work on whatever you’re dreading for 10 mins… and often you’ll realise once you get started that it isn’t so bad. Don’t think about the painful beginning. Think about how good you feel when you’re making progress toward your goals.
MAKE A PLAN… (a real plan)
Writing down a specific plan (that includes where, when and how) makes a huge difference in whether you will build good habits. When researchers just made people think about how much they planned to exercise, time at the gym increased 138%
For example, researchers asked college students how much they planned to exercise. Compared to the control group, those that were asked about future exercise did about 94 additional minutes or 138% more exercise than in the previous week.
Create little ‘If-Then’ responses to known stumbling blocks. For instance: “If I feel too tired to go to the gym, then I will go and just do half of my usual workout.” Remember, something is better than nothing and that something can go a long way to keeping you motivated.
FIGHT FEELINGS WITH FEELINGS
Specifically, we need to fight BAD feelings, with GOOD feelings. So listen to your favourite music! Research shows it improves exercise performance and reduces your perception of discomfort. In fact, playing music from the happiest time in your life makes you happier ANYWHERE! Neuroscientist, Alex Korb, states:
“One of the strong effects of music comes from its ability to remind us of previous environments in which we were listening to that music. That’s really mediated by this one limbic structure called the hippocampus which is really important in a thing called ‘context dependent memory.’ Let’s say school or a workplace was the happiest time of your life. If you start listening to the music that you were listening to at that time, it can help you feel more connected to that happier time in your life and makes it more present.”
Pretty obvious… whack on your headphones, fire up your fave playlist and get to work! I do this every time I train so I can vouch for this one!
So there you have it folks. Some science backed secrets to getting and STAYING motivated!
Yes, you need some grit and determination, but maybe these little tips can assist you in reaching your goals or at the least, keep you consistent with your training.