Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or fitness guru. I am sharing what I’ve learned through research and experience; you all must use your own judgment in deciding what is best for your and your own health, including checking with your doctor before beginning any exercise or dietary program.
This is a re-post from another blog I contribute to, especially for my friends who are stuck in an exercise rut and battling the winter blues.
Motivation is literally the desire to do things. It’s the difference between waking up before dawn to pound the pavement and lazing around the house all day. It’s getting out and running even if there’s a foot of snow on the ground, like my friend Julie. (Really, she went running in the snow.) It’s the crucial element in setting and attaining goals—and research shows you can influence your own levels of motivation and self-control.
Suck it Up, Buttercup.
You heard me. There’s actually science behind the grit your teeth and just do it philosophy! Psychologists have determined that our willpower is like a muscle; the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. Richard Restak, a neurologist at George Washington Medical School, is currently treating a patient with damage to the prefrontal cortex, the result of a traffic accident. The PFC is the brain’s executive command center. “The patient has very limited self-control. He lashes out, yells at people, and is a compulsive shopper,” Restak explains. Based on his work with this patient and others, Restak believes you can improve the performance of the brain itself. “Increasing activity in the area that regulates self-control, for example by thinking twice before you buy something, enhances the functionality of this area permanently,” he says—and these changes are visible using neuroimaging. In other words, when you practice small instances of self-control, the brain bulks up. The next time you need to exercise self-control, it will be easier.
(Research data from Psychology Today).
So Start Small. Make a decision and follow through, for instance, saying no to sweets or bread for a set period of time. Once you do that, set another small goal, and so on and so on. A newby body builder wouldn’t jump into a gym and start benchpressing 600 pounds, would he? Of course not! He would start with smaller weight and build up to that 600 pounds.
You still don’t want to do it? Tough. Do it any way – take charge of your own brain. Fake that motivation until you feel it for real. Figure out what you want, power through the pain period, and get it done.
Suck It Up. Keep the Faith
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