Trouble Staying Motivated

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    May 12, 2007 4:06 AM GMT
    It's the same old story. I go to the gym once, twice tops only to end up not going at all. I have serious motivation issues when it comes to the gym. I feel a little embarassed, it's lonely (I have nobody at all to go with) and honestly, I'm not sure I need it yet.
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    May 12, 2007 5:57 PM GMT
    Chaser -- Just in case scally's compassionate advice isn't doing it for you ;) you might stop and think about what motivates you to do anything. It always seems to me that we want to make changes, we have to start new behaviors with discipline, and over time assuming we don't falter, they either become passions (sports we love, for example) or just habits (you probably don't have to really convince yourself to go to work every single day, it's just a habit by now.)

    In that period of discipline, in my experience, it's all about harnessing the things that motivate us. Usually it's not just one thing; usually to make big changes it takes several things working to motivate us all at once. For example, my former Governator, in his encyclopedia of bodybuilding, suggests hanging photos of guys you want to look like around your house as a reminder. For eating right, track your calories by writing all your foods down in a journal and use a program like BalanceLog to track the actual calorie intake. Diligently doing that can make it easier not to overeat.

    As for going to the gym, if you can afford it, maybe schedule a session once every week or two with a personal trainer -- some people find that spending money on a trainer makes them feel far more compelled to actually show up at the gym. If you have a friend who will go with you and you can keep each other honest, great.

    Try photographing yourself now, and every few weeks as you work out. It's kind of unpleasant to do at first, but over time you'll see the forward progress and that can be a motivator.

    Try getting a big wall calendar and marking on it when you successfully go to the gym in some pleasing color. Over time, perhaps the sight of it will motivate you to go so you can mark up more successful visits.

    Or, maybe try marking the days you miss in red or something. Be mindful, though, of whether that is actually a positive motivator or just makes you despondent. It's easy to beat yourself up for stuff when really you have to maintain a positive outlook and just use these things as tools.

    On days when you had planned to go the gym and don't, take a few minutes to just sit with your thoughts and notice your mental state. Are you feeling something particular that makes you not want to go? Are you especially tired towards the end of the week? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you feeling hopeless or self-denigrating?

    Most of the time, we resolve to do something at one point, but then circumstances change -- it's no longer foremost in our thoughts, we get distracted by some other temptation, we feel less energetic, we're just in a different mood. That's the hard part, keeping that diligence and commitment even through changing circumstance.

    Mindfulness, mindfulness, mindfulness is what it comes down to, in the end. Only you know what motivates you, and only you can pay attention to your own thoughts and emotions. You've made a positive step, in deciding that this is something you want. Now it's just all sustained hard work figuring out how to stick to it.

    Good luck!
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    May 12, 2007 6:30 PM GMT
    Thanks, atxclimber. That's more of what I was looking for.
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    May 12, 2007 8:27 PM GMT
    Chaser, perhaps try and find a form of exercise that's more suitable for starters than the gym AND whatever you do, drink lots of water AND don't listen to people that are negative, we all have to start somewhere.
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    May 16, 2007 1:47 AM GMT
    Most guys go to the gym alone. It's not very often you find someone to go at the exact same time as you. So use that as an escuse.

    I finally got an IPOD. Really makes the work out got quickly.

    Since you come to this web site....look at one of the exercises they recommend and say to yourself that that is the one exercise I'm going to try out tomorrow at the gym. I have...kind of look forward to doing the exercise.

    Or, plan on going to the gym at a certain time to do your cardio and watch a certain show on the HARDBALL MSNBC at 5:00 PM....or ABC evening NEWS at 6:30pm....get a routine down.

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    May 17, 2007 3:43 AM GMT
    Thing about doing the dishes. When a dish is dirty, you have to wash the dish before you use it again. You can wash dishes right after you use them, or leave them and wash them right before you use them. Either way, the dish is washed, but one way you live with dirty dishes all the time.

    It's the same with motivation for anything. Each day you can do something positive, and work towards meeting your goals, or you can wait. Working out makes you feel better, increases your motivation, and makes you stronger. You might be able to postpone it for a year, and eventually be as in shape at some date by working out later. But you spent another year being out of shape. And in the end, it's not how in shape you are the day you die, it's how in shape you were each day that determines the overall benefit to your life.

    The benefits of being more in shape will make everything in your life better-- you will think more clearly, feel better, have better sex, be more confident, and people will respond more positively to you. Every day you work on it, you will feel better about yourself. What are you waiting for?
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    May 17, 2007 5:13 AM GMT
    I suggest you make a list of why you are not motivated..

    Are you intimidate and possibly feel embarrassed because of the more fit member sharing the gym space?

    Do you feel lost when it comes to a good work out routine?

    Do you lack the knowledge of correct exercise forms?

    Are you not planning the right time in your daily schedule for the acitvity?

    Do you have pain or some form of physical discomfort when you work out?

    Is the gym too far from you distance wise?

    Do you tink about it too much and the anticipation of working out just too overwhelming to handel?

    Make a list... All the above issues have one or more than one solution. If you have the will, you WILL find a way... Once you pinpoint the issues, then its time to find practical solutions, then put it in action. It takes work, but it can be done, and has been done by many...

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    May 17, 2007 5:34 AM GMT
    I agree Tank. My best freind lost 130 pounds 2.5 years ago. He was over 300 pounds 44-45 waist. He just decided he did not want to be fat anymore. He has been on such a natural high it is amazing. He did it by doing cardio 30 minutes a day 7 days a week, then moved up to 45 and then 60 mins. He lowered carb intake and watched portion control and cut out junk food, soda and white bread. His bodyfat went from 32% to 19%!! Now he motivates me to go to the gym as well. We go 5-6 times a week. He does less cardio and he is doing alot more free weight strength training now. His weight is going up, but remember muscle weighs more than fat. We are both roid free- chemical free. Just add a little supplemental protein. I was so proud that he did it without surgery!! His family friends and collegues are still complimenting him. Chaser if that isn't motivation I don't know what is. Good luck- don't leave here and get healthy!!! Like anything worth while it takes time. It took him 19 months to lose it. He is 36 now and he feels great and looks it as well at 5'11 189 33 waist.