photo by fang guo, via flickr creative commons
It’s amazing how many people find this blog through searching “exercise + motivation.” Unfortunately www.exercisemotivation.com is $1,499, or I’d consider buying it and trying to do something there. Like sell treadmills and tickets to 20-year high school reunions.
Actually, building that site might be tougher that it sounds. The science of motivation is complicated, and there are tons of books out there that offer perspectives about it (Dan Pink’s Drive is one of my favorites; I covered it a few months ago). When it comes to exercise specifically, self-determination theory (SDT) is often referenced. The foundation of SDT is that human motivation lies along a continuum which includes intrinsic (self) and extrinsic (world around us) components. Runners who are intrinsically motivated might run because they love the thrill of racing around the track and the feeling of the wind in their hair, while runners who are extrinsically motivated might run because it will result in outcomes that matter to them, or to their loved one, doctor, etc. (i.e., lower blood pressure and body fat).
Every person is at a different place on this continuum — possibly even because we’re wired that way. The great news is that if “being an exerciser” is (or can become) part of your identity, you’re more likely to stay motivated (according to one study, at least). So how do we all deepen the exercise portion of our identities? A great place to start is signing up for a formal event (after all, events are for ATHLETES). Here are a few resources to help if you’re looking for one to put on your calendar:
Runner’s World Race Finder
Stand Up Paddle Events (after all, it’s SUMMERTIME)
Great Ways to Get Fit for a Cause
Fun Team-Oriented Events (firewalking, included)
I’m training for a half-Ironman in September right now. How about you? What’s on your calendar? Do you feel more like an athlete if you’re training for a formal event, or doesn’t it matter to you? Beyond events, what motivates you to get and stay fit?
State of Michigan Public Health Campaign (via Flickr Creative Commons)
Rewards are nothing new in the fitness world. For years, diet and exercise gurus have propagated the “carrot and stick” mentality, combining rewards and punishment to get people to eat more veggies and run more miles. We’ve all likely used this tactic at times in our lives, bribing ourselves with chocolate or workout clothes or spas or charity donations to incent ourselves to bail on beer and brats in favor of a few more minutes on the elliptical machine. And not surprisingly, technologies have also emerged to support these incentives. A company called Gympact is based on financial rewards (you earn money if you meet your goals, and you need to pay money if you don’t), and companies like Nexercise are making workouts social and rewarding people along the way. Read more
photo by: david goehring (via flickr creative commons)
Every Tuesday morning, I get up at 5:15am, brew and guzzle some coffee, stumble into some clothes, drive to the gym, and click into a spin bike for a 6am class. To any outsider – let’s say, someone who lives in Mali or came of age in the early 20th century – this charade of getting up (in the dark) to go to the gym (in the dark) to ride a bike that goes nowhere would likely seem at best, bizarre. But in today’s world, it’s common practice. Read more
New Year’s Eve is a special time. Although I’m not into staying up until the wee hours to see the clock turn twelve, I am into the bigger-picture optimism and hope and anticipation and motivation that come with the imminent arrival of a clean slate.
I obviously like and believe in goals and the daily practices that are part of achieving them (after all, this is what wellfesto is all about). But I recently found out that everyone thinks about their aspirations differently, and for many, goals are a really private matter. I conducted a survey a few months ago, and learned from my relatively small (70-person) sample that Read more