How many times have you heard that the reason someone doesn’t work out is because he or she simply does not have the motivation? How many times have you heard that most people who successfully manage to lose weight, and lose weight quickly, put it back on? What do you think is the reason for this. Of course, one of them, as I write in my books, is that they have not made a permanent lifestyle change, both physically and mentally.
Entangled into this is the idea that people lack motivation. I cover this in a lot of detail in the Winning Psychology Manual. But today’s topic is not about that, or at least, not in that much detail, or not specifically. Instead we will be focusing on the psychology of working out. Did you know that even little things and little changes can actually motivate you to work out? Let me explain it in more detail in this short post.
For those of us living in western countries, the reality is that part of our identity is shaped by the things we own. Sometimes we might not like this fact or embrace it, but it is true that we have been socialised to view the world this way to a certain extent. Does that fit into exercise and working out? Yes it does! Our attachment to certain material possessions can alter our mood and motivate us to do things. So we can definitely channel this to exercising as well.
Even though I am an occasional critic of our modern western world and way of thinking, the honest truth is that this system also affects me as a person. There were several times in my life when getting a new pair of shoes, water bottle, or towel would actually give me so much joy that it makes me look forward to my workout. I concede that this might or might not sound strange to you.
The rational side of my brain, of course, would not hesitate to berate me. Why would a nice pair of shoes stimulate you to want to exercise? I reckon part of the reason is that one idea has been ingrained into my mind, and the minds of most people who live in the western world – the idea that new things often perform well. It’s like that old saying goes “a new broom sweeps well”, or something to that effect.
But why is this important? You might have heard this saying that in fitness, 80% of your success is based on you showing up. It doesn’t matter if there are periods of low intensity, as long as you are still in the game, doing things well, and keeping to the program, things will only be looking up. Of course there are also more conditions like keeping an eye on your diet and other things in your life that might stress you out. But I’m sure you get my point, right?
Therefore, if you think that a new pair of shoes, towel, or water bottle will excite you enough to start an exercise program, then go ahead and get it. But before you accuse me of encouraging mindless consumerist spending, I must warn you to make a modest budget before you even get to it. If you set yourself a budget, stick to it. That is the part I must be firm about, even though I’m not a financial planner.
But within the confines of the budget, pick whatever you like, but only if you think it motivates you to exercise. Oh, shameless plug time. If you like beautiful looking resistance or yoga bands, you can grab some directly here. Or if you want them with some pretty pretty e-books, get the Granite Fitness Solution. We will also be opening an online store, accessible here. Check them out for sure!
And here is one more point to refute the idea that I am encouraging mindless splurging, as that is one of my greatest fears. The things I got excited about did not cost me much, if anything. I received my new (at that time) sneakers when I got conscripted. My new gym towel was a gift from an Army Officer, and my nice water bottle was from my brother. Except for the sneakers, the other two have survived for almost a decade, albeit not being in the best shape, duh!
There is one more thing I have to say about it. Have you ever heard of the “carrot and stick” method of discipline? In simple language, it would be the “rewards and punishment” type of model. Obviously, this article deals with the carrot side of things. However, that is not all. You can have other rewards after your workout, such as reading a book, enjoying a nice bath, going for a manicure etc. Just don’t pick anything related to food as your reward. How about the stick? Well, I go through this in more detail in the Winning Psychology Manual, but that is not today’s topic of discussion. Have a good one!
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