Guest post from a client: David Allison
A tip for motivating yourself to exercise regularly
Some people are prone to exercise regularly. I have friends for whom exercise is like a drug that they are addicted to, and require daily hits of, in order to function in the world. I am not one of these people. I am prone to reading a book in a comfy chair with as little movement as possible.
But, I’ve found a trick to help me get to the gym on a regular basis. It’s a simple psychological technique I’ve stumbled across recently, and for me, it really seems to work. It’s based on the notion that there are things in your life that you choose to do, and things that you must do. If you can re-frame exercise so it resides in the “must” category, it may help.
I’ve always thought of the gym as a personal activity. It’s one of those things I choose to do outside of work hours, either early in the morning or after the work day is done. So it always resided in the basket of stuff in my head that includes other personal choices, like going for a walk, or having brunch on Sunday. It’s taken me a few months to take it out of this basket of activities and put it into the other basket that’s kicking around up there. This other basket contains all the stuff I must do: the things that are not optional. My professional obligations, my work-related responsibilities, are chief among these.
By simply convincing myself that going to the gym is connected to work — that it is really part of my daily duty to my staff, my business partner, and myself — I’ve increased my attendance record significantly. When I’m having that internal conversation about getting off the couch and working out, and all those little voices start their chattering, I know just what to do. As soon as my brain says “You’re tired. You had a long day. You deserve a day off. You don’t want to overdo things,” or any other variation on that theme, I respond with something like ” You don’t have a choice. This is part of your job. This is a career activity. You must go now.” And nine times out of ten, it works.
Reading this over, and seeing my motivational tip in writing for the first time, it comes off as a bit facile. Admittedly, it might not work for everyone. It depends on your current relationship with exercise, I suppose, and what your own little voices in your head are saying to you. But it helped me, and hopefully it will help you too.
David Allison is a partner at Braun/Allison Inc., a marketing and branding firm that specializes in resort and residential real estate development campaigns. He writes a weekly blog on marketing issues for BC Business magazine, and has been a Kalev Personal Training client for 7 years.
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