Have you ever struggled with getting off your hmmhmm and getting going with your workouts?
Of course you have. Here’s my conversation with Traci yesterday on facebook. Can you identify? Then, I’ll show you five steps you can take to stop the struggle and get going with your workouts. Plus the giveaway details.
Traci: I just struggle getting started! Seems like I get really motivated in the evenings when it’s too late to do anything. Then by morning I always have an excuse. I feel like I’m doing good with the eating part of the program – but my exercise is really lacking. So I know I’m holding myself back. ~Traci C., IL
Lani: Sounds like the food is working well and it’s moving your body more that’s the problem? You are not alone. Answer this: 1) what activities do you enjoy 2) what do you see as the biggest obstacle here: is it knowing what to do, where to find chunks of time for it, or a simple distaste for exercise? or other? Fill me in!
Traci: Thanks Lani, time is not an issue at all for me. I think maybe just finding something I enjoy? About 12-13 years ago I was in the best shape of my life. At that time I had several friends that I would go out to the gym, biking, or walking with. But we have moved a few times and no longer have any exercise buddies. So that could be it.
Traci has plenty of company. Research suggests that 50% of people who start an exercise program will drop out within the first 6 months (Wilson & Brookfield, 2009). In the Summer Survey I recently sent out, this was a common thread – you can’t seem to get off your hiney and DO it when it comes to exercise. There are as many different reasons for this as there are hairs on your head, yet the solution is the same. It just comes down to motivation.
The root of the exercise motivation problem
It doesn’t matter if it’s a time problem, a location problem, a gear problem, or a _____________ problem (you fill in the blank). The answer lies in motivation with a capital M.
5 steps to stop the struggle and get started with your workouts
- Find the why
- Imagine success
- Be specific
- Set the date!
- Get support
So, I guess just having this chat got me a little more motivated today! I just turned on some music, grabbed my 3 pound weights and jogged in place and danced around the room for about 10 minutes. 🙂 ~Traci
Success! She stopped the struggle and got started. She jumped right into step #5, got support, and got the job done. Now, incorporating steps #1 – #4 will invite longevity to her project.
You go, Traci! And as a way to thank you for letting me post your episode today, I’d like to offer you, Traci, the Fit Quickie of your choice. Please pop over to the Fit Quickies page, make our selection, and then post it below.
Giveaway! Boot Camp Mind Top 10 Motivational Tools for Health, Weight Loss, & Fitness Success
And to all readers, please post your favorite motivational tool below. What gets YOU going? Can you relate to the 5 steps above, or is there an important one you would add to the list? And just to show how much I appreciate you jumping in with your ideas, we’ll draw one name from the list of replies to win a copy of Boot Camp Mind Top 10 Motivational Tools for Health, Weight Loss, & Fitness Success. To be eligible, you must reply by end of the day Friday, July 20, 2012.
Recap: How to enter the Boot Camp Mind Giveway
1) Comment below on one of the steps above that you utilize, that inspires you, or otherwise gets you thinking.
2) In the same reply below, add a favorite motivational tool that you use – inspire someone else!
It’s easy to catch updates. Sign up here. And if you haven’t already done so, remember to download your Interval Training Guide and Free Fit Quickie video by clicking here now >>>
1) I keep coming back to #1, find the why. Probably because you keep reminding me of it! It is, as you say, so important.
2) I like putting my planned workout on a calendar. Then I get to check it off, too.
This article is very motivating and comes at a perfect time for me. Midweek and all! Thanks!
Thanks for getting things off to such a great start. And yes, the WHY is a big deal – dig around in there and come up with as many as you can.
I like a good checklist too. Always a motivator, yet so simple!
1) #5 – support – is HUGE for me. That’s why I come here every day, walk with a good friend 3 times a week, and check in with a few favorite places on facebook such as your page and I love the new McDougall Friends group!
2) I already mentioned my walk buddy but this has been a really good help for me in getting in exercise I might not have if I didn’t have someone to meet for a walk. Find a buddy!
Hey Janet, thanks for underscoring the walking buddy. Do you guys meet up at work or in the neighborhood?
Neighborhood. Actually, we live a few miles apart so meet up on a trail through the park after work. I always feel so great afterward even if I’m tired at the end of the day.
#1. Why. Because I deserve to have a better last half of my life then the first half. Although I grew up thin and healthy issues came up quickly in my teens. This led to me not taking the time to care about what me. Plain and simple. I now realize that I deserve happiness with my new healthy me.
Gin – What does a better last half look, feel like? Connect with it – imagination and inspiration are key. Now is your time!
The “WHY” for me is healthy aging. I’m 60, in good health and want to stay that way. I know when I go a few days and don’t exercise, I feel older and stiffer. MOTIVATIONAL TOOL for me is music. It doesn’t really get me started, I have to do that on my own. But it does keep me going. I love to dance, moving to music makes the time fly and one more good song is always cued up. Before I know it I’m sweating and breathing hard and feeling good!
Vikki – YES! Wild for music! This may interest you:
So important I put it in the Fit Quickies book. We’re on the same page with this one.
I, too, utilize #5 on a daily (5 out of 7) basis. My neighbor and I meet every morning to get our walk done before it gets too hot. Neither one of us ever wants to cancel on the other, so we’ve managed to not miss a day, yet!
One other tool that I think really helps is the support of other like minded ‘friends’ – even if we’ve never met them before (i.e., YOU!). I find that this keeps us grounded and gives us the support that perhaps our walking buddy cannot offer (as we chit chat about our husbands, dinner plans, etc.). So… THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tammy – connections with like-mindeds is huge. Especially if things that are important to you are not so much to the people in your workplace or otherwise around you. Glad to be connected with you!
I am looking through you list and realize that I can’t pick one of these b/c they all factor in on motivating me and I didn’t even realize I was doing that.
Planning the date is probably the number one though. I have to set aside the time to do it even though I am not a super busy person, I have to set aside the time or else life gets away and 100 things become more important that working out.
I also have mini competitions with my friends. I set up a google doc that we make weekly goals and check off our workouts. If we don’t meet our goal we then owe money to the winner. That makes it fun… and I love to win:)
Another thing I do is I tell myself I only have to start working out.. just do it for 5 or 10 mins and then I can quit if I feel like. Nine times out of ten I work out longer and realize that I am enjoying myself and I don’t want to quit.
Kiki, just getting started IS huge and I’m glad you pointed it out. Betting on eachother’s workouts with your friends is a new one to me – creative!
#2 is probably my biggee. Keeping the eye on where I am going and that I feel better when I exercise.
Online support ends up helping with #5 as my buddy tends to disappear during the summer. She’s a teacher and ends up with less time available when she is out of her routine.
I will be flexible and shuffle to just DO something when I need to. Last night it was hooping in the backyard for 40 minutes. I brought the dogs out with me, a nice glass of herbal ice tea, and played Pandora from my iPhone.
Too often life gets in the way and I just need to squeeze in a quickee to feel better and keep moving.
Lynnette, I have a great mental picture of you hooping with the dogs. You rock with flexibility! Some people need more of a schedule and are wise to recognize it – some can count more on their innate desire to move before day’s end. As for your teacher friend, shouldn’t she have MORE time in the summer?
Yes she SHOULD have more time in the summer, but I end up seeing her less. She gets caught up on a lot of life projects and camping and such. In the school year with a more regular schedule we meet several times a week, usually at the Y. That works for accountability- if I’m PAYING for it, I’d better use it!
I’ve been known to do leg stretches & kicks during our stand up Sr Mgmt meeting at work too. When it goes 20+ minutes it seems like a waste to JUST listen. I get a few odd looks so minimize the movements. But I figure every little bit helps.
Lynnette, every little bit DOES help! I do Fit Quickies at airports and in line at the market all the time – some of them are easy to do discreetly while standing. Plus, you just might inspire someone else to move, right? Nice work!
Thank you so much Lani! What a great article! I will bookmark it and come back to it often and for sure go through each of your suggestions and figure out what will work for me. Thank you also for allowing me to have one of your Fit Quickes, I would love to one about Muffin Tops! I’ve always been thick in the middle so it would be great to have a specific exercise to help with that! Thanks again, and I will definitely let you know my progress! 🙂
Thanks Traci! And I LOVE Topless Muffins. I’ll send it to you later today as a download video and transcript. May I use the email with which you posted your comment?
thanks again for the article inspiration!
Yes, that email would be great, and thanks again!
Just sent it to you Traci – let me know when she arrives. And have fun with this one, an all-time fave Fit Quickie for me. It makes something entirely new going on with the back of your waist and your seat. And I LOVE the way it feels. You can do this any time during the day, and sometimes I like to do it right before bed for that ‘worked muscle’ feel. Love crawling under the covers feeling all tightened up and stretched at the same time!
Having a hubby that loves to exercise has helped me get motivated. We walk together we bike together and plan on joining a gym together as soon as we can afford it. right now just doing hand weights at home.
Condalicia, hubby power is such a big help with keeping you moving. Nice work! I also like that you are using weights at home. Don’t let no gym stop you – there’s plenty you can do in just 20 minutes 3 times a week to challenge your muscles and get the strength training you need.
Great information, Lani. I think support is my biggest on your list. That is why I have always had such great results doing your booty camps!
The one thing that is always my downfall is perfectionism. I get trapped in that ‘all or nothing’ mindset. If I slip up on food or exercise, instead of just resolving to start doing better immediately, I say ‘oh well, I already blew it for today’ and downhill it goes…
So to your list, I would add: Ditch the perfectionism, and start where you are RIGHT NOW!
Linda, THANK you for bringing that up! It’s that dang what-the-hell attitude. Making an allowance for the human condition is an important part of our goal setting.
I’ve missed Booty Camps, it’s been so busy with the book!
Lani, good article. Thanks. I can relate to the first three, find the why, imagine the success and be specific…many as well throw set a date. I have used each of these since changing my way of eating and adding exercise to my weekly routine.
Finding the why wasn’t hard, I wanted to look better now that I was on the road to health on the inside. I wanted to drop firm up, tone and get stronger. I wanted to look like I felt. I could IMAGINE what I would look and feel like when I achieved the goals I set.
I started small and gradually built up when it comes to the specifics. I used our home gym, but wanted something more, so I got a membership at the local gym and started working out with a co-worker, who help set up work outs.
Finally, date. I continue to use these as mile markers and not end points. These are what keep me going and working hard each week to improve myself. Many dates are major goals for me, weight loss is a good example, as are lipid panels to see if I have achieved numbers I want to live with.
Stephen, my, you have done your homework! What a thought out answer. Now, look deeper into the ‘why’. You say you want to look better. Where’s the why behind that? You don’t have to answer, but the answers are important.
Hi Lani! Your tips are all so helpful, but I find myself coming back to tip number 1. Connecting emotionally instead of with a should. A lightbulb moment for me, thank you, thank you! I do feel that together with tip number 2 I am unstoppable. Speaking in the present tense here to get myself in the zone, LOL.
All the tips mentioned are great. Something that helps me get in a morning workout is to get dressed in my workout clothes, including shoes, as soon as I hop out of bed. If I check email, and prepare breakfast in my jammies, it’s much easier to make excuses not to exercise.
Hey Sue! Getting dressed is a good way to nudge yourself. I find that having any such rituals that you connect with your activity help. I like my workout socks, for example. True story!
Emotional connection is where it’s at – that’s why it’s listed first.
1. Find the why. My Why is I have to keep moving or loose my ability to walk and move due to MS. Being overweight and weak from the neurological disorder keeps me moving forward each day to the best of my ability. It’s a struggle to workout when your muscles don’t want to work due to poor nerve impulse conduction, but I must. It is simply not a choice. I do have personal goals I want to achieve. I have a list written up on my computer. My husband is my biggest supporter and encourager.
Cindy, you have a whole other layer going on here and all honors to you for doing what you do. Have you read any of Dr. McDougall’s work with MS? He has just gathered mountains of original research data to put together in a study. Let me know and I can link you. Thanks for your inspirational post.
These are great tools and really help me to undestand the how of getting IT done!
I think I need to work on #2 – Imagine! I can see how together with the WHY principal, I would develop a positive mindset toward fitness.
My most helpful tool is to get it done first thing before my day gets going. Even with the best intentions to do excercise later in the day almost always a busy schedule takes precedence!
Thanks for the article Lani! This really helps! I also found that once I thought about the McDougall way of eating as ‘what can I eat’ rather than ‘what I can’t have’, my attitude changed. I thinks your steps will do the same to help me approach my fitness goals in the same way!
Judi, very insightful of you on the attitude shift. It makes a huge difference! Thanks for your thoughts on imagination. And you are so right, if we can get the activity in early – when our willpower muscle is strongest (this is actually true), so much the better!
I don’t see that staying fit as very complicated. Just leave your car parked and shop on foot, although I suppose this might not work so well for those who live outside a town or city.
The only things you need are a good pair of running shoes and a knapsack and walk to and from your favorite grocery stores.
At home all you need is a chair and some floor space, although I do like my weights too. Walking to and from the store, practicing calisthenics and using a chair to make sure you’re using all your muscles is a very simple and inexpensive way to keep fit.
Find the why: because it’s healthy. Imagine success: health is wealth. Be specific: keep it simple. Set the date: almost every day. Get support: I suppose some people need social support, but for me the support is my running shoes. It is quite hot nowadays so light clothing and sunglasses come in handy too.
All you need is a good pair of running shoes, a good knapsack, a chair and some floor space to stay fit. In fact, you could do most of your calisthenics in a park. The extra equipment is a bonus, but it’s not necessary for a basic exercise program to stay fit.
Now it’s time for a funny story. I once walked home from the grocery store with my knapsack full of groceries, and a neighbor asked me why I don’t drive to the supermarket. I told him that it’s healthier to walk.
Then he replied that it might not be possible to carry everything you might need home, and I replied that if and when that’s the case, then walk to and from the store twice. Besides, the more often you walk to and from the store, the healthier and fitter you will get.
He then asked me, “What if you need to buy something big like a stove, a freezer or some furniture?” My answer: “That would be an exception to the rule.”
Geez, what if you had to buy a stove? I must admit you were very patient with your responses!
This sounds like such an ideal routine; it is very appealing. However with kids and pets, it isn’t something that is workable for me. I think if it was just me- without the additional activity & time commitments for kids, without the cat litter, dog food, etc…, this would be a great routine and way of life.
We do regularly walk when going out to eat at restaurants near the the neighborhood.
Great article, Lani!
1) Support is what I need, and why I LOVE being on the T-Tapp forums.
2) I make sure to write down my schedule on a calendar, that’s the best way for me!
Hi Abbie! Forums are a great way to stay connected, like blogs and fb too.
1) Support works best for me! I have a place where I log in exercises and ask questions about a series of workouts that really tones me where I need it.
2) I also have a picture of me at my ideal size that I keep where I look at it several times a week. Motivating! Yes, this is possible!
Brooke, thank you for your unique contribution. How long ago was your ideal size pic taken, what were you doing then, and how is your progress toward?
Great article! I am one who has always hated “exercise,” and I still do. But finding #1, the Why, for me, two years ago in January, was the key. I needed to be able to move, freely and smoothly. I wanted to be normal again, and stronger! I had a really hard time getting up off the floor–if I ever got down there! Frankly, it was hard to get up from my chair at work and walk around–all my joints were so stiff and sore. Of course, I also had 100 extra pounds on my frame, which didn’t help at all. I was intent on losing the weight, and Dr. McDougall said that some exercise was good, so I resigned myself to do what I could to get moving. I worked on #2, creating an image of myself and fit, and believing that it was possible.
So I did #3, and set the date. Every morning, first thing, before there is anything more appealing to do. I am not a morning person, but I find that if I do chores in the morning (like last night’s dinner dishes), I get them done before I fully wake up and realize that I’m working! 🙂 What I was doing before, when I first woke up, was sitting and playing video games on my phone for 45-60 minutes, until I felt awake enough to face the world. I decided that I could take 10 or 20 of those minutes to do exercise, too. (I still do play video games with part of the time!) I made a deal with myself that I’d do a minimum of 10 minutes every day when I first got up. I used the Wii Fit, which is great because each exercise is one to 5 minutes or so, and you can pick and choose among dozens of things. Among the Wii Fit routines is a running section, form 2 to 10 minutes of in-place running, and a free run part that lets you put the TV on and run in place for 10 to 30 minutes! Who knew I’d love that?? I now run in place a couple of times a week, with or without the Fit. I also have several beginner yoga DVDs and two walk-at-home DVDs that are very important to me. And I do between 10 and 50 minutes a day, and have missed very few days in the last 31 months.
All this because I am an exception to #5, in a way. I don’t want a buddy. I will still never join a gym, as I don’t like to work out in front of people, and I’ve always been a lone walker, even when I was a little kid–I do not want company when I walk! If I ever live someplace where it’s easy & safe to walk outside again (too many dogs, ice & snow 3/4 of the year, mosquitoes the other 1/4, the occasional moose), I might take walks out of doors, but until then, I’m so happy with my indoor routine!
I wanted to put that out there, because so many of the earlier commenters made support the focus, and I’ve always felt guilty, somehow, that I don’t want “support” for my exercise routine. Now that I know I can do it on my own, I feel so much more motivated and proud of myself. And I love that some people get motivated by support but I just wanted to let some others know it can be done by loners, too!
So I’ve been exercising nearly daily for 2 1/2 years, and I still am not a fan of exercise! But I can move, and I am stronger, and I lost 100 pounds on that starch-based diet. It’s still easy to lose the motivation, and when I do, I start to get stiff and soft again–so I keep focusing on the why. I need to keep moving, or I’ll seize up the like the Tin Woodsman! It just feels so much better to be fitter and more flexible, and just to be able to run up the stairs at work several times a day, rather than asking others to do my running for me.
Cloudy, what a fascinating story and I love the ‘deal’ with the video games! You present a perfect example of creating something doable and connecting it with a pleasure cycle – the vid games.
I like to work out alone, too. Classes can give me a good push. Yet most of the time it’s just me, up here in the woods, with my Fit Quickies, or walking in the woods with Greg, or doing some quick spins on the bike. I’m so connected to the ‘why’ that that is my motivator. Yet it’s also really nice to have a buddy on my walks!
Thank you so much for all of the details – an inspiration!
1.) Imagining Success is the biggest part for me. I am my worst enemy at times. Feeling guilty for “resting”. My mind is always busy with 4 kids but I still constantly imagine success. I have no set time for exercise and would love that to be part of what I imagine.
2.) I just try and move and groove every day. It may be to music, jumping on the trampoline with the kids, a yoga video, bike ride to get groceries, walk to farmers market…but I want scheduled ME time to focus. I love to lift weights and really want to be tone. That would be my challenge for myself. I have been vegetarian for many many years and 2 years ago went Plant Strong Vegan. Now, I am 34 pounds lighter and only 10 pounds from what I was in High School but again I want to be tone, strong and healthy (mind, body & spirit).
Fonnetta, with 4 kids to manage you get extra points just for staying standing! All honors to the extra mile to which you need to go to make things happen.
34 lbs lighter? Look what the time and persistence have done! Wonderful nes. I love the move & groove. As for the weights, add ’em! I’ve got a resistance routine I do 3 times a week, it only takes 25 minutes or so, and it’s all either body weight resistance or 5 lb or 6 lb weights. Somtimes it’s 12 if I double up the 6’s. The Fit Quickies are perfect for this too – many of them have added weights (the new ones) or you just challenge yourself by going lower and increasing repetitions, which gives you what you need. Pick up some iron and go!
1) Number one is big for me. I have chronic pain which has led to chronic depression which in turn has made it difficult to lose weight. Since I T-tapp, doing a little bit of something most days isn’t difficult but actually visualizing success, number two, is the big challenge for me. I’m in pain regardless of weight, regardless of fitness level. Getting motivated is very difficult at times. Reminding myself of the why helps.
2) Photos! Lots of photos, and going back and reflecting upon the why. Just simple reflection is my biggest motivator. Remembering where I was a year ago, two years ago… 15 years ago, for that matter. Most of the time it feels like I’m moving at a snail’s pace, but remembering where I’ve been reminds me of how much I’ve had to undo, repair and correct.
Thank you for this chance!
So sorry to hear about your circumstances. Chronic pain is about the biggest challenge I can think of. Are you doing any form of meditation or stress reduction? Here’s a simple guide as an example: http://www.lanimuelrath.com/stress-management/5-minute-anti-anxiety-paint-and-willpower-workout-how-to-meditate-in-5-simple-steps/
1) RESULTS – I love results – That keeps me very motivated. And, as I’ve shared before, the results from Tricepts triple play is VERY motivating. That said, Inner thigh squeeze and tease is showind tremendous results also – the best friends aren’t sticking together quite so much anymore!!
2) Writing things down doesn’t do me much good, I can never find the paper. However, getting exercise DONE first is the BEST way to keep me focused and on track!
Great news Grayce. You have such positive reports! Results – yeah, that’s what it’s all about. Have you ever tried Fit Quickie #2 standing! New varition! Slight bend in the knees, keep the upper body strong, neutral spine, feet flat on floor. Adds a new twist through the quads. Just for fun!
Wow – i will try that and report back in!!
First – Imagine Success. That is one of my favorite tools to help keep myself on track with my goals.
My personal motivator is to sign up for races. When I have a race in the future I HAVE to get my scheduled runs in.
Miranda, events are a powerful way to get motivated, I agree. It gives you focus. After all, there is a real concrete reason, am I right? Is there a race on your current schedule?
“Get Support” is my big one, too. Knowing that someone is going to be waiting for me at __ o’clock, makes sure I don’t put off my walk or bike ride. It’s more enjoyable with a friend, too. My friend Gail’s telephone is about to ring…. 😀
Heidi, excellent! Did you and Gail get out on your walk yesterday?
My motivation: I want my sweet husband to continue telling me how nice I look and I know the only way to keep those encouraging words coming is to keep active!
Here’s a great motivating Bible verse I’d like to share:
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine” Proverbs 17:22
This verse is a reminder that exercise, for my body and mind, is the best way to be a good example to my family and friends!
Carol, what a unique reply! Sounds like your husband knows how to fan the flames of motivation. Give him a big appreciative hello for me!
Be specific is where is was stumbling. So instead of using what other’s said I should (or the latest “whatever”) I recently began doing what I enjoy. I enjoy running, walking, and dvds that do not feel like I am at some sort of boot camp. I like gentle yet challenging. Thanks for the help!
Oh, you are so so right. Wishy washy gets you wishy washy and we never seem to hit the target. It’s too easy to flop around with life’s vicissitudes.
And how perfect is your message – doing what you love doing. That is YOUR boot camp! Way to go! Running and walking are a perfect base. Add some resistance training – and you must even if you don’t like it – to get optimal results. You can work them in without too much time investment – that’s exactly why I created the Fit Quickies. What resistance training are you doing?
Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!