Motivating Yourself for Success

Motivating Yourself for Success

Motivating Yourself for Success

"If you think you can, you can"

By Carlos Alberto Rivas, MS, CSCS

Starting an exercise routine when you''ve never worked out regularly before is a challenge - so is getting back into the habit if you''ve been sick, injured or on vacation. When working out is a regular part of your life, it is certainly easier to stay fit and stick with your exercise routine. However, stick-to-itiveness is always a challenge even for the die-hard fitness participant.

The top reason most people have a hard time sticking to a program is that they focus on short-term results rather than approaching exercise as a lifetime commitment. "Once they achieve their initial goal, such as losing 10 pounds for their reunion, they usually lose interest in working out as well," says Salima Perkins, personal trainer at Baptist East/Milestone Wellness Center.

The second reason is physiological. As time goes on, the degree of improvement we see becomes smaller. Anyone can get off the couch and see tremendous gains at the outset assuming the participant is eating well, doing their cardio and lifting weights for the initial six months. But as you keep going, it takes more effort to achieve smaller increments of success.

Finally, many exercise programs simply do not offer sufficient physical and mental challenges to keep people interested. Take into account hectic schedules, family responsibilities, work deadlines, etc., it is not surprising that many fitness routines get derailed. Regardless of your motivation, these are the top techniques that will help you maintain your enthusiasm even when the going gets tough.

  1. Commitment : You cannot approach exercise as something you do just to get ready for swimsuit season. You have to understand that working out and staying in good health is a lifetime event. Commitment is the enemy of resistance, for it is the serious promise to press on, to get up, no matter how many times you are knocked down. If you want to get anywhere worthwhile, you must be committed.
  2. Set goals : Set specific short-term goals that lead to your long-term goal. For example, try losing one pound of fat per week instead of thinking about losing 15 or 20 pounds without a timetable. Try to walk everyday before you try to run everyday if you are starting or getting back into a routine. Incorporate weight training two to three times per week and stick with it for six months before you think about sticking with a weight-training program for one year.
  3. Make it a priority : If you''ve been too busy to workout, the odds are that you are not making your workout a priority. You have to plan, know what workout you are doing, where you are working out, and when you are working out to be successful. Start by writing your workouts in your calendar.
  4. Become positive : The average person tends to be in a negative state of mind. You always think about failure first; therefore, you become consumed with the fear of failure which prevents you from committing, which in turn prevents you from succeeding. Remember: if you think you can, you can.
  5. Hire a trainer : You need to hire a qualified personal trainer if you do not know what you are doing; where to start with your weight training program; which exercises are good for you and which can have an adverse effect on you; how to use the equipment, much less use proper form; or if you cannot break through a fitness plateau. Make sure that your trainer has the right credentials, i.e. they have a bachelor''s degree, a top certification (ACSM, NSCA, NASM), and have references from former or current clients.

The Bottom Line

Some people want everything to be perfect before they''re willing to commit themselves to anything. But commitment always precedes achievement. It''s one thing to talk about commitment. It''s another to do something about it. That is why the only real measure of commitment is action. When you start to make your health a priority and you actually take action, you will start to get the results you want.

Carlos Alberto Rivas, M.S., C.S.C.S., is the fitness/personal training director at the Baptist East/Milestone Wellness Center. Carlos has a master''s degree in exercise physiology and has over 10,000 hours of personal training experience. He is also a member of Kentuckiana HealthFitness magazine''s editorial advisory board. Carlos can be reached at 502-896-3900, ext.142.

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