Practical Motivation

MotivationThere are a blessed few of us who are ordained in the ministry of eternal, intrinsic desire to get out there and work well at everything. No matter how enjoyable physical activity can be (or not), or how intellectually aware of it’s benefits we are (or not), physical activity will in fact help us feel better, have more energy and just plain experience the richness of life.

Everyone has experienced it before. The overwhelming sensation or desire to do absolutely nothing when we know there is something we could, and should, be doing to better ourselves either professionally or personally we call it “lack of motivation”.

It is common to ignore that “extra something” professionally, to help ourselves get ahead, or not taking that extra step to make a loved one feel special and creating the harmony that selfless acts inspire. The common thread is neglect; we know the answer but take no action. Nowhere is this knowledge-but-no-action reality more prevalent than in the arena of physical activity, where the benefits are numerous, deep, and life long.

Most of us procrastinate, come up with other “important things to do,” which are often no more “important,” than a random social engagement or television show. How many times do you look at your running shoes, bicycle, camping gear, tennis racket or other favorite piece of exercise gear and your first thought is of the pleasure of doing that activity. Then, ultimately, you talk yourself out of it and do something for immediate gratification that requires little effort.

Might I suggest taking a look around you and within yourself. Where are you exceedingly successful and what makes it so? Look at others. Discover characteristics that make them admirable in their accomplishments. Mimic them until you experience success for yourself; at this point you can rely more on your own experience in the future. Always remember you have not failed until you stop trying. Think of the qualities of consistency and persistence. If you consistently persist, you will succeed.


Allow these seven simple ideas to permeate your thoughts and you will find yourself gradually be forming better habits toward physical activity and most other tasks in life.

  1. We must “MAKE TIME.” This has stronger implications than “taking time”.
  2. We must concentrate on the one reason to do something. There will always be a thousand reasons why not to do something. Use positive, success-focused language (“I will” as opposed to “why can’t I?”).
  3. Look beyond the activity itself to the feeling and sensation it will create (physical sensation, sense of accomplishment, relaxation, fitness improvement, etc.).
  4. Set reasonable, extended goals relevant to your intentions and activity then reassess and create your next short-term goal. (For example: If you want to lose weight, you must first establish habits that will contribute to weight loss. Tell yourself, “I will ride my bicycle three days per week for 40 minutes and eliminate one bad food habit for four weeks.”)
  5. Schedule your activities in advance, and give them equal credence with other important elements of your life. After all, nothing in your life is more important than your own well-being.
  6. Don’t be a victim of your own life. Take charge. Advertise the good in your own brain. Write yourself notes, use a mantra, read a mission statement to yourself daily, do whatever it takes to keep that goal in your mind. Imagine you are all ready in possession of the attribute you wish to acquire.

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