If you're dreading a workout, maybe you're looking at it the wrong way. Think about the moment you'll leave the gym: how will you feel with that workout behind you? Relaxed, accomplished, refreshed?
Photo by Arol Vinolas.
Focusing on those short term rewards is a better day-to-day motivator than your long term goals, according to psychologist Michelle Segar. Jane Brody writes of her research in the New York Times:
Though it seems counterintuitive, studies have shown that people whose goals are weight loss and better health tend to spend the least amount of time exercising. That is true even for older adults, a study of 335 men and women ages 60 to 95 showed.
Rather, immediate rewards that enhance daily life — more energy, a better mood, less stress and more opportunity to connect with friends and family — offer far more motivation, Dr. Segar and others have found.
"I like to think of physical activity as a way to revitalize and renew ourselves, as fuel to better enjoy and succeed at what matters most," she said.
I use a version of this technique: reminding myself that I (almost) never regret a workout, but I often regret skipping one.
Dr. Segar also recommends choosing exercises that we can do with friends or family, so that we don't feel like we're missing out on social interaction by heading off to the gym alone. Read more at the link below for ways to see your workout as fun, not work.
Rethinking Exercise as a Source of Immediate Rewards [New York Times]