I have wrestled with this idea for most of my life – you may have too. Keeping a healthy lifestyle has never been a knowledge issue – I know what to do! The internet is full of diets, healthy eating suggestions, supplement ideas, walking plans, running plans, blah, blah, blah! The problem for me has always been execution.
Now for those that know me, that statement may seem out of place. I’ve been exercising most of my life. I remember reading the iconic book “Arnold” when I was in 9th grade and joining Bob’s gym – hardcore competitive bodybuilding and powerlifting gym in Montgomery, AL. I’ve set multiple state records in powerlifting as well as running 50 miles in a 12 hour endurance race. I’ve practiced the Paleo lifestyle, the Primal Endurance lifestyle, and practiced intermittent fasting.
In general, I’m a highly motivated person but… I have seasons where even I lack motivation to operate at the high level I think you need to stay healthy. I realize now it was the competition that drove me and still does to some extent. But when I’m not competing my motivation wanes.
Thus, the question – How Can I Stay Motivated to Keep a Healthy Lifestyle?
I know what’s worked so far… Get plenty of sleep – sleep is gold! I built a home powerlifting gym in my basement. I get up early so I have the time each morning to run or powerlift. Don’t keep junk food in the house but treat yourself periodically to something you know you probably shouldn’t eat. Make healthy food choices as often as possible and don’t tear yourself down when you don’t. You get the picture.
I recently read about the importance of intrinsic and extrinsic values. In other words, what motivates you to exercise – is it the compliments you receive or maybe the fact that you’ll feel better and live longer?
Here are a few ideas from a recent blog post from Nextavenue.org.
Get Personal: What Motivates You?
To determine your intrinsic motivation, ask yourself questions like:
- What is most important to me? For Nolan, it was his family. (His wife, in particular, was concerned about his health.)
- What activities do I enjoy that I don’t currently do, or that I’d like to continue doing? (Do you love golf? Do you want to take a walking tour of Europe?)
- How do I feel when I’m doing something positive for my health? (Proud? Confident? In control?)
- What simple steps can I take to move in the right direction? (This could be something as minor as eating more vegetables or walking every night after dinner.)
- How would I like to feel about my health in a month? (Three months? Six?)
So at the end of the day I find my motivation in personal gains. It’s all about the competition. I just have an innate need to compete. But as I’ve gotten older I realize the competition is against myself. I have recently decided to come out of retirement and will be getting back into endurance racing again. So I’ve registered for an upcoming trail race. But I also realize I want to keep powerlifting and those don’t usually go together.
So what now? I’ve found people are hybrid athletes – they are in great shape and they do the endurance sports. You don’t need to be overly skinny to do endurance sports.
So, when all is said and done what’s the answer to my question? We’ll it’s one that I already knew that would work for me. It’s something that I’ve taught my kids. It’s something that I literally sometimes yell at the top of my lungs when home alone to get myself fired up for the day – what is it? “MOTIVATE YOURSELF!”
Become a student of motivation and execute. Nobody can do it for you. Eventually you have to get off the couch, cut off the TV, quit surfing the net and execute!