As Summer approaches our attention naturally turns more towards our bodies. In a rather predictable manner, like a form of seasonal ritual, our good intentions are about to be challenged yet again by our motivation and the amount of willpower we can harness towards the goal of looking and feeling good in our bodies. This frustrating and yet familiar scenario is universal. In the UK alone nearly 600 million pounds is wasted every year on unused gym memberships!
One of the major reasons this is happening to so many of us, is that we rely too much on willpower. You might find it surprising, but research shows that willpower is actually a fragile and limited source of motivation. When harnessed towards an activity we find difficult, boring and non-enjoyable, it will soon be depleted and we are very likely to quit.
So if you can’t rely on willpower alone, what is the ‘secret’ for success? A different type of motivation - one that gives you satisfaction and improves how you feel every single time you engage in the physical activity. “Fall in love” with it, make it into a habit and get hooked on it. If we actually enjoy the activity, we are much more likely to keep doing it for a long time; way beyond the initial burst of motivation that got us started. Does the class make you feel good? Do you think your teacher is great? Do you feel a sense of achievement or feel proud of yourself?
When we find an exercise regime that actually makes us feel good, we are much more likely to WANT to do it and not need to rely on our limited resource of willpower. A habit is then formed and we’re well and truly on our way to developing a healthy addiction :)