A term: Hard. Exercise is hard. I have said so often, it never gets any easier, only more rewarding. Cardio, stretching, resistance training, yoga, trail running are all as hard for me now as they have ever has been. I have never deceived myself into believing, nor do I seek to deceive others that productive exercise isn’t hard.
Three terms: Challenging, achievable, and daily. These are the terms I equate most to productivity in an exercise program. Dietary concerns notwithstanding, to expect a tangible change in the body one must pursue exercise which is challenging, which is achievable, and which occurs (almost) daily.
Another term: Discourage. Discourage is a bigger term then the sum of four previous terms. The gravity of discourage is high and it’s mass powerful. It’s easy to get discouraged in exercise. Discourage’s binary twin is unreal expectations; regularly looking at what you are not. Better you stay focused on what you are doing to achieve the end result, than how you are looking at a given moment.
Yet another term: Success. As both term and concept, success is much bigger than discourage. An ounce of success can beat the living crap out of a pound of discourage. Take regular inventory of your successes. Success requires challenging, achievable exercise, done daily.
Momentum: Momentum is the cruise control of your fitness vehicle. Once you are on the healthy highway, momentum will take you to your destination before you even realize you are there. Momentum is the streamlined child of daily, challenging, and achievable.
Failure: Failure is what happens when momentum is lost – when one of the elements of challenging or daily is forsaken. Failure is surmountable though, see below.
Support System: Support system is the sum of people and their energies which can pick you up when you feel you are in failure. Designate a support system when you enter an exercise program; a workout/accountability partner, fitness trainer, friend, coworker, family member, etc. Establish 2-3 people in your life to act as your support system and stay connected to them daily – don’t just show off the good when you succeed, keep them aware of the not-so-good. Tell your support system what you are feeling and ask them to be there for you.
An enticing term: Fun. If you like hard, then exercise can be fun too. If you equate fun to easy, then you are defeated before you begin, because we have already established that to be successful, exercise can not be easy. Fun is in the psyche, see below.
Psyche: Converting the terms hard and challenging into the term fun (see above) is possible, but requires help from your psyche. Your psyche is what enables your world – your attitude. Like everything else in your life, fun is a choice. If you let your psyche take you there, challenging can be fun. Psyche.
These are just a few of the dozens of terms and concepts I use to stay motivated, and avoid failure. This is written not from the hands of a fitness trainer who exercises daily, and watches what he eats with the eyes of an eagle. Rather, this is written from the heart of a man who allowed himself to get in profoundly tragic shape a decade ago, and understands very well how hard it is to connect to, and to embrace daily action – daily exercise. Be well. rc