Weekly Wellness: Finding a way to get motivated

Related Story

COLUMBIA - Motivation is one of the biggest obstacles my clients encounter on a daily basis. With the everyday tasks and chores and work and family and "have to's" and "I forgot to's" and unexpected "please's", working out can find its place falling lower and lower on THE LIST.

Even if exercising is on THE LIST, sometimes you're just so exhausted that when you do find extra time in your day to do it, it's difficult to not want to change the plan to "sit on the couch" rather than work out.

So the question becomes: how do I motivate myself?

This was the topic of a recent TIME magazine article, "How to Motivate Yourself: 3 Steps Backed By Science" by Eric Barker.

In a previous Weekly Wellness segment, we discussed goals and how to set them. But motivation? Motivation can be a big hurdle. Where does it come from?

In their book Switch, authors Chip and Dan Heath said emotions are an essential part of executing any plan:

"Focus on emotions. Knowing something isn't enough to cause change. Make people (or yourself) feel something."

We need to think to plan but we need to feel to act. So, the science behind motivation is boiled down to three steps:

  1. Get positive. Science shows that we tend to procrastinate most when we are in a bad mood. While we are most productive when we are happy. Go figure!
  2. Get rewarded. Research shows that rewards are responsible for three-quarters of why you do things.
  3. Get peer pressure. Surround yourself with people you want to be and it's far less taxing to do what you should be doing.

Now it's time to create the plan behind your action and emotions.

What makes you happy? Give it some thought and make a list. Is it dancing to ‘70's music? Is it watching a certain TV show or movie? Is it being outside? Figure it out and use it (whatever "it" is) to get you started.

What is going to be a good reward for you? Think about what your goal is and keep that in mind. If you want to lose weight or cut sweets, don't make a food item your reward. But maybe it's a new pair of running shoes? Or maybe a $10 iTunes gift card to get a new playlist for your workouts? Or maybe it's money? Give a friend $50 of your cash with the instructions to NOT return it unless you do your workout for that day. If you don't do your workout, the cash goes to your friend (or a charity, or maybe your friend's name is Charity).

Who is going to hold you accountable? Find a friend or some friends who you trust, who know you, who will support your needs and goals. Maybe they need you too...? Create your team and get on the field!

If motivation is the only thing stopping you from achieving your goals, let's get you motivated! You deserve to be the person you want to be! You deserve to do the things you want to do! You are amazing! It's time to prove it (to yourself).