Do you actually like the exercise you do, or do you just do it because you want the body it’s supposed to give you?
I find that one of the biggest reasons people start exercising only to have their motivation drift off after a few weeks is because they’re exercising for the wrong reasons.
I was guilty of this for the longest time.
I started lifting weights at the age of 12, and I quickly saw how it would benefit me. Made me healthier? Probably, but that was the last thing on my mind at 12 years old.
Instead, it got me attention. It changed my body. People talked about me. I loved that.
Unfortunately, that identity and association with exercise stuck with me into my adult years. But as I got older and my body started changing, I was more prone to injuries and I couldn’t push the weights as hard as I wanted anymore.
I got less and less of that positive feedback. I was no longer winning strength competitions. I no longer had the “best” body.
I ended up having a mid-life exercise crisis.
You Have to Fall In Love With The Process
It took a while to figure out what I was actually trying to accomplish. The evolution of my exercise “why” went from wanting the best body when I was in my teens and early 20s, to wanting to be the strongest in my late 20s and early 30s, to now just wanting to enjoy exercise for the joy it brings me in the moment.
The side effects are still the same. It still builds me a great body. It still makes me very strong. It still makes me healthier.
But now I do it because the process is enjoyable. I get instant gratification from moving my body. And I no longer have to wait weeks/months/years to experience some outcome that’s not completely in my control.
Think of it this way…
Where is the #1 place in the world you want to visit. Now, what if I told you that tomorrow morning at 6am you need to get up and get ready because you’re going to be going there.
How hard would it be for you to get up and get ready to go? Probably not very hard. In fact, you probably wouldn’t be able to sleep that night in anticipation.
So if you’re having trouble getting out of bed to exercise, it’s because you don’t love the exercise you’re doing. You’re likely choosing your exercise for the wrong reasons.
The outcome of your exercise is just a side effect of loving the exercise itself. It’s what makes you stay motivated long enough so that you can stay consistent with exercise and see the distant results it will give you.
If You Were the Only Person In This World…
This personal discovery of exercise is going to be a work in progress. We have certain belief systems that are either pushing us to do things we don’t want, or keeping us from doing things we really want to do.
The other day I was thinking of all the different kinds of exercise I know I would enjoy, but haven’t done for whatever reason (I’m afraid people will judge me, I could be doing more effective exercise to get lean, I don’t have the equipment, etc).
So I asked myself a simple question: If I were the only person in this world, what would I be doing for exercise that would make me happy?
I wouldn’t care about exercising to achieve a look to impress other people. There would be no other people.
I wouldn’t care about being the strongest man alive. There are no other men alive.
I would only care about me and turning exercise into playtime – enjoying it for the moment of joy it brings me.
And so I came up with a short list…
Kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing, rollerblading, racquetball, and a bench and curl workout were a few.
So what did I do? I planned a bench and curl workout and enjoyed the hell out of it. It took me back to my youth and brought me a lot of joy. It felt good, and it made me look forward to working out again.
And then I bought a pair of these bad boys…
I’m going to strap them on and pretend like I’m the only person in this world and I’m going to have fun doing it. I’m going to look forward to exercise and being present in the moment.
You should do the same. Give some serious thought to why you’re doing the exercise you’re doing.
Question your motivations. Find your “why”.
If it’s what you love to do then continue doing it. But if there’s even a doubt in your mind that you might be exercising for the wrong reasons, think about what would make you happy and would make you look forward to moving your body.
Then take action and go do it.