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Fitting in While Getting Fit – Part Three: Motivation

For my third installment of “Fitting in While Getting Fit” (FIWGF) I’m going to talk about motivation.  The one main difference between a regular at the gym and the occasional visitor is motivation. Someone who attends the gym regularly has figured out some sort of motivation to go on a regular basis. Surprisingly, the motivation to shed some extra pounds is not always the strongest motivator to get to the gym.  If it were, anyone who had a desire to drop a size would be a regular at the gym.  So in case you are looking for some additional motivators, I’m going to help you out.

1. Think of all the things you could have purchased for the amount of money you are spending on your gym membership.  Let’s face it; if you buy a gym membership and never go, you have just wasted a lot of money. You wouldn’t spend a lot of money on a new purse and never use it would you?  You’ve made a commitment to this place, don’t give them free money.

2. Bring a book.  I don’t have a lot of time to read books these days.  However when I’m walking on the treadmill I am able to get some reading in. I’m 600 pages into an 800-page book that I started in May.  I cannot tell you the number of books waiting on my list to read. But I can’t start them until I’ve finished my current book.  I only read when I’m on the treadmill.  So if I ever want to finish this book, I need to make going to the gym a priority.  Caution: it’s very hard to have a strenuous workout while reading a book.  I usually save the book for the cool down or after I’ve met my workout goal for the day. Which brings me to #3.

3. Set goals.  My favorite part of my workout is the end when I’ve achieved my workout goal for the day.  I set daily achievable goals.  Would I like to run a marathon? Sure, but I know it’s not going to happen on day three of my workout.  I set goals that are just barely out of my reach.  Once I get bored with a goal, I increase it.  One thing I’ve learned from having three kids in two years is that I’m capable of far more than I think I am capable of.  So whenever I want to give up, I remind myself how good it will feel to finish.  Helpful hint: I also find the hardest part of a work out is the first half.  Once I’m halfway through I’m able to talk myself into finishing because the majority of it is already finished.  So push through to the middle of your goal.  Then it’s all down hill.

4. Make an appointment.  Too many people think of the gym as an “extra” in their life if they can fit it in.  You wouldn’t categorize going to the grocery store as an “extra” in life that you’ll do if you find time, would you?  No, you make time to go to the grocery store because otherwise you will have no food. Committing to the gym is saying that you value your health and are committing to helping your body.  I’m very thankful for my health.  I’m thankful for a body that nurtured three very large babies to good health before they were born. I’m thankful for a body that provides me the energy to chase after preschoolers.  I’m thankful that most days I don’t even think about how healthy I am.  There are plenty of people in this world that do not have that same blessing.  The least I could do is thank my body for all it’s done for me by keeping it healthy (I’m not sure how thankful my abs are after crunches, but I’m actually doing them a favor. It’s called tough love, they will get over it).

5. Free childcare.  So I couldn’t end this post without stating possibly the greatest motivator for me.  I recognize that it’s not actually free childcare since I had to pay for it as part of my membership.  But when you crunch the numbers, it’s like $12 a month to use the childcare at my gym.  My gym allows you to drop your kid off for 2.5 hours a day.  It ends up being about 75 potential hours of childcare for $12.  I have yet to find a babysitter that will work that cheap. Lately, I’ve been saving my workouts for later afternoon.  This corresponds nicely with when my children are just about done listening to me for the day.

There are a million motivators for the gym.  Find one that works for you and you’ll soon discover that going to the gym doesn’t have to be the low point of your day.