The way I see it, there are a few ways to motivate yourself to exercise, including:
2) social pressure (for example, you told everyone you were running a marathon in September and you can't stand the shame of not following through)
3) you paid someone, such as a personal trainer, to be accountable to (and, as an added bonus, that person might even make sure you're doing it right)
4) vanity (the classic example being trying to fit into a wedding dress)
5) fear (of illness, often of one you've let get a little too close for comfort)
7) for the joy of it!
I used to live in Seattle. I have a good friend (see photo of us above) who was my climbing, snowboarding, camping, hiking, biking, kayaking, and running buddy while I lived there. Sometimes, he would just show up at my house and suggest we go for a run. I used to jokingly refer to him as 'my personal trainer.' We had some amazing adventures, and I was in the best shape of my life. He pretty much kicked my ass at everything we did. Sometimes he would, literally, run circles around me. He taught me a very important lesson. One day, he suggested I try running simply for the joy of it; instead of thinking about the distance I'd covered, how fast I was going, or the muscle cramp I was developing. I tried to focus on being grateful that I could run, and I was amazed by how much better my performance and experience was...instantly! Focusing on a positive emotion created a thoroughly positive experience.
My patients often wait until they have to do things....eat well, exercise, take time to be calm, etc. It's so much more fun to learn and grow through joy instead of pain. I encourage you to find your joy. Everyone has the capacity to make good choices, it can often be as simple as 'checking in' as you're about to sit down in front of the TV or reaching for a bag of chips, and asking 'is this really what is going to make me happy?' [And sometimes, yes, that TV show IS what it going to make you happy!] The process of making sustainable choices can be exhilarating and tremendously empowering! Choose the carrot instead of the stick!
Dr. Dielle Raymond, ND