The topic for today was given to me by a reader of this column. It is a great question that makes me think about how getting in shape and being motivated to get in shape are two different things.
I find there are two types of people who need motivation. There are those who know they need to get off their couches, but the thought of exercising is so intimidating that it keeps them from doing anything. Then, there are those who do get motivated and start something, only to fizzle out very shortly thereafter. Let’s talk about both.
Making healthy changes is not just a matter of trying to get into old clothes or getting ready for a class reunion. Making healthy changes is a matter of life and death.
For those of you who can’t seem to find that push to get going, I have three things for you. First, I understand. Most people in this situation have never before embarked on intentional healthy living, and the thought of trying to do so is intimidating. The brain-blistering variety of exercise programs, fitness equipment and diet programs can be overwhelming.
Second, I want you to know that it really isn’t necessary to engage in kick-your-butt exercise routines. It’s important for you to simply start doing something. That’s it.
Because we live in a compartmentalized society where exercise is a separate thing from everything else in our daily routines, we forget that exercise does not necessarily that you go to a gym. Exercise could be you working daily in your vegetable garden. Exercise could start with you walking your child to school and back every day.
The same goes with eating. You might be intimidated by fad diets, but you don’t have to go that route. Simply replacing your “problem” food with a healthy food (i.e., trade sodas for water) is a huge step that will make a difference.
Finally, to be straight-up, failing to do something to take care of your body greatly increases the chances that you reduce the quality and quantity of your life. Making healthy changes is not just a matter of trying to get into old clothes or getting ready for a class reunion. Making healthy changes is a matter of life and death.
Let’s talk now to those who don’t have a hard time starting something, but do have a hard time staying consistent. My personal experience tells me that there are two reasons for this.
One reason is what I call the “unbelief” concept, where a person starts a program but stops because he or she feels like it really isn’t working. If this is you, how long did you stick with the program? If you didn’t stick with it for at least a month, you haven’t given it a chance to work.
The other reason people stop is because they simply become bored. The best way to combat boredom with a health routine is to pick something exciting to start with. Know, however, that even something exciting becomes boring eventually, and when that happens, I want you to either look in the mirror and remind yourself of why you started this routine or get your significant other to remind you.
To close, please understand that no matter which person you are, you not only have to find your way to get motivated to live healthily, but it’s also on you to keep yourself motivated. No matter how energized you are, you will lose motivation at some point, but also know that it’s within your power to stir up your zeal.
Peach County resident Shawn McClendon is an ACE certified personal trainer and owner of the health/fitness blog YourHealthAtTheCrossroads.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at @ShawnB2B on Facebook.