According to recent research, motivation really is all in the mind, or in the memory that is! If you are lacking that get-up-and-go in exercise sessions then you could try recalling a past workout to give you a boost and get you moving. Of course, you need to keep future goals in mind but it seems you might be able to use your past to make a difference to the here and now. Is memory motivating you to keep fit? If not, find out how it can.
Why we sometimes lack motivation
If you're bubbling over with enthusiasm and firmly set on a road to a healthier you, then your motivation levels are probably flying high. However, at times in our lives motivation can dip. Let's face it, most people get busy and distracted by that time-consuming pursuit called living. However, rather than feel bad that you're not pumped up enough to follow through with your good intentions, let your past dictate your future.
A recent New Hampshire University study looked at 150 students and asked some members of this group to remember a good or bad exercise memory - the other group were not asked to recall any memories so they could act as the control group. The research was focused on whether these recollections could influence the amount the students exercised over a week-long period.
Those students who focused their attention on a happy, or good memory about an exercise experience in the past reported significantly higher levels of working out than the control group. Even those students who recalled less positive memories were reported to be working out more than those without any thoughts of exercise experiences.
"These results provide the first experimental evidence that autobiographical memory activation can be an effective tool in motivating individuals to adopt healthier lifestyles," wrote the researchers who were essentially looking at the power of the memory to influence certain kinds of actions, in this case exercise behavior.
Do it yourself!
While you might not feel comfortable remembering any not-so-great exercise experiences of your past, the idea that you can use your thoughts and memories to motivate yourself into action is definitely positive. Once you're done this you can also start turning around these negative memories and start to create new, more positive ones. Try it for yourself.
To really boost motivation remember a time when you really felt fantastic after working out. It might be that session when you broke a personal best, or you achieved a feat you hadn't thought possible. You could even focus on activities, such as leisure pursuits that involve exercise. Even if you have a way to go and feel that you want to leave a less healthy past behind, use your own inner resources to achieve your aims, including your mind.
The important factor is perhaps to remember yourself being active, even if you were not performing at your best or were not reaching your goals. It could be that such memories can somehow have a practical impact on what you do today simply because you are making that connection between yourself and the idea of exercise.
Meanwhile, create happy and positive exercise experiences for now and the future by getting in touch and getting involved.
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