Here at Virgin Active, we’re all about motivation. We believe that having motivation is a great way for you to work toward your health and wellness goals, and keep it going long-term.
So, this may come as a shock to you to hear that the key to achieving your goals? It isn’t actually motivation. It’s action. You must start with the action, and the results of that action will keep you showing up.
But let’s start at the beginning. Let’s start with what motivation is. Motivation is defined as ‘a reason for acting or behaving in a particular way.’ In order for you to get to the gym for the first time, for instance, you need a reason (aka motivation).
But, how do you get motivation in the first place?
A new goal always starts as a simple thought in your mind. You might have come up with a new goal while reading an article, talking to a friend or even reading an Instagram post. We have 6,200 thoughts a day but, this one feels special, and you get happy just thinking about it.
Let’s use the example of the thought, “I’m going to get in shape by going to the gym every day for at least a year! I’ll start tomorrow!”
The simple thought of future you, looking and feeling your best after 1 year of killing it at the gym, is sending dopamine through all the right channels, and you’re feeling the good effects of a job well done without having even started.
But then tomorrow arrives and suddenly you remember you haven’t researched which gym is closest, you don’t have the “right gear” and you definitely cannot imagine doing a pullup in front of anyone else. Maybe this cycle continues for a few days, or a few weeks until finally you…give up. Before you even started.
Then comes the inevitable crash. Instead of being excited for future you, you’ve realized your goal is going to fail before you even started. You no longer are getting that dopamine rush; instead, you’re feeling down and probably kicking yourself for not having accomplished the goal.
Imagine this can happen to you with any goal. Committing to a marathon when you can only currently run 2 miles, joining a sports team when you’ve never kicked a ball before, eating only healthy foods for a month when you’re only used to… OK, you get the gist. And it can happen at any stage.
The question is, how do you actually start your goal?
It turns out the secret to starting your goal is action.
It is human nature to believe that in order to achieve a goal, you have to know what you’re doing and you have to go all in. All or nothing. From zero to hero is the motto, without realizing that steps are needed in order to achieve that dream goal.
It turns out the stars don’t need to align to achieve your dream goal. You just need to take the first step.
So, the next time you have that incredible thought, such as “I’m going to get in shape by going to the gym every day for at least a year! I’ll start tomorrow!” you can in fact, start tomorrow.
Do it. Book a tour. Show up with your running shoes (during opening hours). It will feel like you’re starting before you’re ready, we promise you that because that is how everyone feels their first time.
The Reception team will show you around. You can ask them how to turn on the treadmill. You can ask about a Personal Trainer. That’s the great thing about a goal such as going to the gym, because there’s so many people there excited to help you with your health and wellness journey.
Inevitably you’re going to miss a day. That’s just life. So why not chunk your dream goal into smaller segments? For instance, in this example, you can goal yourself with going to the gym once a week to walk on the treadmill. Or going once a week to a Sunday Yoga class. Trust us when we say that starting small is the only way to make your dream goal happen. It’s how every successful person began, just ask them!
What happens is that you will start to feel really good. It will start to trigger happy thoughts after you’ve taken the action of going. Whether it’s because of the feel-good endorphins kicking in from exercise, the likeminded community you’re surrounded by, or being proud of yourself for showing up, you’ll notice quickly that these happy thoughts are what encourage you to keep showing up. Those happy thoughts become your motivation.
If and when your one day a week routine feels solid and built into your habits, then act on going a second day a week. For our dream goal example add something new, or check out a Personal Trainer.
Keep this going, keep acting so you start to become motivated to make it routine and that’s when your dream goal will start to look achievable.
You can do this over and over again. Act before the motivation comes, and the motivation will follow. It is better to start something at 50% preparedness than to wait for a 100% preparedness that will only come when you act.
Now’s the time. If your dream goal has to do with health and wellness, then talk to us today.