In military science there’s a concept called force multipliers which refers to factors that significantly increase the potential power of an army (and their probability of victory).
(These could be morale, weather, geography, technology, experience, mobility etc.)
An army that possesses more of these force multipliers has better odds, which is how a much smaller army can topple much larger ones.
For close to a decade I’ve explored different ‘force multipliers’ in fitness and how they make a huge difference in lasting results.
Especially after seeing time after time all the different ways people would sabotage themselves when they were trying to clean up their nutrition… get on a regular exercise routine… or raise their standard for health and fitness.
And this morning just an article on Fortune landed on my “doorstep” sharing a few gems on the topic. In fact, these tips on the ‘mental game’ of fitness can make your exercise routines much more effective and help you make the ‘mental switch’ to lasting change.
#1: Do Activities You Enjoy
When most people kick off the New Year they focus on workouts and routines that are going to give them results NOW. So they focus on pounding the pavement… slaving away on the stair master… or pumping iron for hours each week.
According to Dr. Kevin Vincent, medical director of the University of Florida’s Sports Performance Venter:
“Enjoyment isn’t usually top of mind.”
Because of that it makes it difficult to integrate exercise as part of your lifestyle (instead of just a temporary activity). There are many ways to get fit so if you can gravitate towards workouts you enjoy — you may find it’s easier to stay consistent. And… eventually your “push motivation” may turn to ‘pull motivation’ (where you feel pulled to do it).
#2: Start Slow
Dr. Vincent suggests going at a pace that is “slower than you think you should.” That way you keep making steady progress, stay in the game longer and continue to improve.
‘Start slow’ is the last thing a motivated person wants to hear. They are ready to get after it and metaphorically charge into the battlefield with ax.
However, this can be their downfall.
Why? Because motivation is a powerful resource but it can also be an out-of-control storm that leaves a destructive aftermath. One reason is because we can overextend ourselves, drop the ball on other commitments, and push ourselves way beyond our current abilities which can set us up for injuries.
This “dark side of motivation” could be an entire article in itself but the best thing to remember is:
You are in charge.
Don’t let your motivation be in charge.
Motivation can move mountains when it’s channeled correctly.
#3: Set Your Goals In Reality
According to Dr. Michelle Segar of University of Michigan:
“So many people plan and begin a behavior change in what I call a motivation bubble”
Usually when people set a fitness or health goal they set it in a vacuum. Meaning: they forget that they have a career… family… relationships… a lonely cat… and other areas of life. So they tend to set goals that are not ecological (they don’t fit into their life well).
#4: Prepare to Reshape Your Plan
This is a gold bar piece of goal-setting wisdom. You may craft an inspiring and full-proof workout and fitness plan but what happens when it rubs up against real life? What happens when your schedule gets out of whack? Or when the weather gets bad for your daily walk? One of the most important skills is the ability to build resilience and flexibility in implementing your plan. That way your plan adapts as life changes.
#5: Determine What Motivates You
I’m a huge proponent of figuring out what drives you. Not your neighbor. Not your fitness partner. Not your fitness idol. Because sometimes what drives others doesn’t drive you.
Apparently research out of PLOS ONE found most people are motivated by typically three things:
This a good start for exploring your deeper motivation. However, I’ll say there are at least a dozen other motivators that go beyond this (but that’s for another day). But whatever does motivate you, align with it. Use it to keep yourself on track.
Phew, we covered a lot of ground (and went to some interesting places).
These are simple lessons which are easy to take for granted.
But if you are looking to make the shift from short-term results to long-term this is a list to review frequently and go deep on.
For a deeper dive into the mindset of lasting transformation and making the shift to lasting changes, check out a free issue of my Mind-Body Breakthoughs newsletter.
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