By: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
Recent research has discovered that February 7th is a date in history that goes typically unnoticed by most, but is also “celebrated” by most as well. Huh? What’s that mean? It means that research on when most people stop honoring their New Year’s resolution to participate regularly in exercise at the gym, says that it happens 38 days after January 1, thus, February 7th.
1. Don’t wait to feel like it. Do it, and then you’ll feel like it. When your blood begins pumping all of those feel-good chemicals including endorphins, serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, to name a few, usually in less than 30 minutes, you’re on the way to being happy you showed up.
2. Remind yourself of your specific, measureable, attainable, realistic, timely, enthusiastically set and rewardable goals, your SMARTER goals. What? You didn’t set any that clearly? Ahhh, maybe that’s the problem. Wanting to “lose some weight,” “get in shape,” “tone up,” “get active,” “feel less stressed,” “look better,” are so vague that nobody would ever know if they are achieving these or not. So quickly set ONE GOAL using the language above and you’re on the road to success—and staying motivated in the gym.
3. Pack a friend in your gym bag. That’s right, a real-live, human being. Not an app on your cell phone, a page torn from your favorite fitness magazine, or a picture from Pinterest. The research is clear: commitments to others keep you showing up. Sign up with a friend for a group ex class, arrange to have a workout buddy exercise with you alone, plan a power-shake after workout date—you’ll be amazed how difficult it is to let another down with an excuse. “It’s so boring,” “I don’t have the time,” and “I’m too tired,” give way to the commitment you’ve made. (For more on overcoming excuses, see my interview in the March issue of Women’s Health Magazine)
4. Your personal fitness trainer is calling. Are you answering? That’s right, a definite way to get past the “I’m done with the gym” feeling past February 7th is to have a trainer who will help keep you motivated, insure you don’t injure yourself, and help you see the progress you are making under his/her watchful eyes.
5. Visualize how you feel after you exercise and how you feel if you decide NOT to exercise. That thing you feel after you exercise is called happy. It’s because you’ve boosted your brainpower, connected with others, you are looking healthier, you feel sexier and you are even sleeping better.
Bye-bye February 7th blues and hellllooooo to the newly re-motivated you!