It’s not easy staying motivated – particularly exercise. What does your approach say about you?
Joey prides himself on getting up at 5am to get in a training run before going to work, while Leah relies on her smartphone to prod her to get in a walk in the evening. Marcy loves to see numbers, so she uses a pedometer and tracks her progress in a log each day. And Ian meets up with a buddy at the gym to get in his workout three days a week. Each of them has figured out a way to stick with their exercise routine and stay motivated.
Motivation is not as simple as Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan for most people. The majority struggles to find and then keep their motivation, and those that do succeed end up with their own motivation style that is unique to their personality and lifestyle. So what does your style say about you, or what about your significant other, and how do those styles impact your relationship?
Just Doing It: You don’t mess around. You simply do what you said you would because you committed. No discussion. No excuses. You rearranged your schedule to fit in this new commitment, and you don’t give yourself a chance to question if you really have time. You make time. You don’t see what the fuss is about, or why your partner can’t do the same. But not everyone can “just do it”, as much as they might try.
Training For It: You have set your sights on participating in a strenuous event, and you know you have to train to be ready for it. You don’t want to let yourself or anyone else down, and if it weren’t for this event that you are committed to, you probably wouldn’t be motivated to exercise at all. You are both scared and excited about the upcoming event, which can make you a bit emotional and stressed. During the year, you are either into training or you aren’t, and both situations impact how much you focus on your relationship.
Being Obsessed: You may not realize how obsessed you are, but those around you can see it. You live, think and breathe fitness and put in long hours in the gym or outdoors. You don’t feel you can ever get fit enough or perhaps be good enough, even though you already are, so you push and do more to the exclusion of other aspects of your life and relationship.
Focusing on Progress: You like to see progress, whether it is seeing yourself handle heavier weights, improve your game or reduce your times. You get frustrated when you plateau and wonder why bother when things don’t improve the way you think they should. You will be determined to solve the problem, even though backing off may be the answer. You want results and can be impatient when things don’t seem to be on track or going as planned.
Getting Gold Stars: You like being recognized for being good and getting rewarded for your achievements, even small ones. If you could get a gold star for every time you exercised, you would love that. Even better, you want them on a big wall calendar that everyone can see. You want the pats on the back, and if you don’t get them, you aren’t sure you would stay as motivated to continue. You also like it when your sweetie notices the little things you do, and thanks you for them.
Keeping Accountable: You need the accountability to stay on track, so you hire trainers, join classes, get a buddy or have a coach. You know yourself well enough to realize it helps to be accountable to someone else, even though you wish you could simply account to yourself. You know your strengths and limitations, and you know when to ask for help and support. As a result, you are more likely to be supportive or offer to help your significant other to reach their goals.
Checking It Off: You like lists and checking things off as done. It is a good feeling to get things accomplished and know you have taken care of yourself or someone else. You are responsible, know what you want to achieve, and usually succeed in completing most things on the list. And what doesn’t get done today gets put on the list for tomorrow; it doesn’t get forgotten. Yet it can slip for days or even weeks, and then you usually put it at the top of the list as a priority so you get back on track. You give yourself some leeway, knowing it will get done and keep things in perspective. Or you berate yourself and stop putting it on the list for a while, feeling guilty and hoping your partner doesn't notice or say anything.
Loving the Feeling: You love how great it feels to be active and fit. You don’t need any more motivation than that to get outside, go for a run, stop at the gym or participate in sports. The more active you are, the more active you want to be, and you surround yourself with others who feel the same way. Most likely you are involved with someone who can’t wait to join you on a bike ride or go on an active vacation. Being active is a big part of who you are and your lifestyle.
There are many different ways to be motivated to exercise and keep fit. You may find you have more styles than you realized or that you want to try new motivation techniques to mix things up. You may even discover that trying a new motivation approach gives you more empathy for your sweetheart and greater confidence in yourself.
For more tips on how to stay motivated and exercise regularly, get a free e-book on how to Feel Your Personal Best from our expert.