My wife's successful weight loss and fitness journey inspired me to write this article. Over the past 12 months, I've seen first hand how my wife transformed her body shape by shedding over 12 kgs (24 pounds) and improved her fitness level by using what "others think" as a motivational tool. Her outstanding achievement and transformation was amazing but instead of detailing her exercise routine or diet I want to tell you about what kept her focused because I believe this was the key to her success.
Self motivation is extremely important when it comes to working out and getting fit but nothing helps us keep our motivation more than encouragement from others. If you can learn how to maximise your fitness or weight loss gains to coincide with the next time you meet up with friends and family (if you don't expect to see them for several weeks) then the reactions from those who know you can do wonders for your self esteem but even more importantly motivate and encourage you to keep up the great work!
Self motivation is a very powerful thing to possess – it's often said, "get fit for yourself" or "love your body first" or "nobody can get fit for you," meaning use your own self interest primarily as a motivating factor to get and stay healthy. There's nothing wrong with this line of thinking and it does make perfect sense to make your personal health a priority (for obvious reasons) and then use this notion as the base for motivation. However, look around you and you'll see a common human trait in just about everything we do and that is what others think about us. Yes, don't say you don't care because I know you do and what others think about you and me matters and is used as motivating factors everyday in our lives! If we didn't care what others thought about us then society as we know it, would break down and no amount of enforcement would be able to contain the mess.
Let me expand on this point just in case I'm confusing anyone because the psychology is a little obscure I admit… If your motivation to become fitter, lose weight, and live a healthier lifestyle is all about how it benefits you from a personal sense then when you fail to meet goals you're only letting yourself down. In my opinion, this is one of the biggest reasons why so many people lose motivation and discontinue their exercise and healthy lifestyle routine.
Therefore, instead of getting fit and healthy or losing weight for "ourselves" we should be doing it for others. Still not sure what I mean? Here's a list of examples on how motivation to become fitter and healthier (by thinking about the affect on others) can be used to your advantage:
- Reaction – As mentioned earlier the reaction from friends and family to a healthier looking you can be extremely motivational. My wife used several upcoming family and friend functions/engagements as waypoints on her journey to lose weight and get fit and she's still using this method to motivate her now and it works! So, if your friends and family won't be seeing you for several weeks or if you have a function coming up like: Christmas, New Years, a birthday party, family get together, etc take the opportunity to use this as a motivational tool and use the lead up time to train. Using these gatherings as goals to work towards focuses your mind on the expected compliments you will inevitably receive from those who haven't seen you for several weeks or more. Family and friends generally want the best for you and usually will pay compliments when they see positive improvements in your body and this is usually more noticeable when people have not seen you for awhile – even small losses can be noticed. You shouldn't think it's vain or conceited to use or seek other people's positive feedback as a way to encourage yourself to become and stay fitter just don't make a habit of badgering people to confess how awesome you look.
- Sex – Sexual performance can be greatly enhanced by improved health and fitness. I know this tends to make us giggle a little when talking about sex in this context but if we're totally honest there are general physical standards that do help make us attractive (and attracted to) our partners. We may love our partner regardless of his developing stomach or her widening backside but I guarantee your lover will notice your firmer body. Also, if your general fitness level (lung capacity) improves so does your "staying ability" in the bedroom and that means more fun for you both. So getting fitter and firmer for your partner is a top way to get motivated – and maybe even improve your relationship…
- Children – Or dependants, rely on you staying fit and healthy practically for them to survive. I remember seeing a government heath advertisement that ran for several years showing parents unable to play with their kids due to poor health conditioning because of avoidable lifestyle choices they made – it was a pretty powerful ad campaign. If you do have kids, then it goes without saying they benefit greatly from a heathy parent so use this as motivation to lose weight and get fit.
- Work/colleagues – We know work laws are supposed to prevent bias when it comes to employment and hiring but bias is inherent in humans and first impressions do still count in this imperfect world we live in. If you're considering a new job or you would like to give yourself the best opportunity to move up in the workplace a fitter you could give you that added advantage. Not only that, fit and healthy people tend to have more endurance to get complex tasks done and concentrate for longer periods and if your showing better productivity than your colleagues your chances of getting a promotion over them is increased also. Use what your boss, colleagues, or potentially new employer may think of a fit looking you as motivation to get into shape.
That's just some examples of how using "what others think about you" as motivation to get into fitness, lose weight, and live a healthier lifestyle. Self motivation or "do it for yourself" are nice throw away lines but how we mentally frame it and what we practically use to motivate us in reality are the most important. I've seen "what others think of you" work for my wife as a motivational tool to lose a few pounds between functions then feeding off the compliments to encourage continuation towards substantial weight loss and fitness goals over a 12 month period. Yes, it could sound conceited (if you were disingenuous) basing your motivation to get fit/lose weight on the flattery or observations of others, although, I reckon it's a clever and realistic way to focus and stay committed to getting and staying in shape.
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