Date #6

How to Motivate Yourself to Do More Activity

What was your reaction to yesterday's date? All that talk of physical activity? Was it....?

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor

If so, don't worry!

Today I want to give you some motivation to do more physical activity, to up your effort. Because willpower is not necessary. There are far more interesting ways to increase your motivation than that.

Motivation Tool #1: No Commitment

One of the greatest secrets I learnt when giving up sugar is that

Lack of commitment is a great motivator


I was a food rebel for years, so any great plans of “No more X forever!” tended to fall apart pretty quickly because the resistance to change came from a powerful place. It was anything but lazyness. I hope that you can already see that Cavebrain has had quite complex and often invisible effects on you over the years. 

So the solution is to get under the radar of that resistant rebel living in your head.

You say to it: No biggie! We are just going to the gym for 5 minutes.

A 5 minute cycle ride.

A 5 minute speed walk.

What do you think is going to happen when the 5 minutes is up? After you have made the effort to get yourself started and feel great for getting off your backside? Of course you will carry on. And THAT is far more motivating than any dose of willpower could ever be! Don't believe me? Try it!

Motivation Tool #2: Your Diary

...or whatever you plan your day with. The wall calendar. A reminder post it.

The idea here is that you make a commitment ahead of time to do your activity at a certain time. Although this may seem stunningly uninspiriring, it is a great anchor when other stuff crops up unexpectedly. Oh no! I’ve got to ring the plumber! OK but remember your speed walk is at 2.

This might seem to contradict suggestion #1 above (no commitment). Well...not really. You are fooling the part of you that does not want to do this by saying: Ok, we ARE committing to do this...but only a wee bit.

Motivation Tool #3:  Same Time

If you can make your effort time take place at the same time on the relevant days, your resistance will die off faster.

We will cover this in the practices date in just a few days’ time.

Motivation Tool #4: Rewards

Tell yourself that if you do the activity you have planned, you can then enjoy X afterwards. 

X could be...

A bubble bath

A coffee date with yourself people watching 

Half an hour on social media

A download off iTunes

Watching a movie

Half an hour doing absolutely nothing

I find that using things that I normally take for granted, like watching Netflix in the evening, are great rewards, because they feel so satisfying whereas before they were just run of the mill stuff I did.

What To Do On This Date

The answer to that question really depends on what your present level and enjoyment of physical activity is.

When I created today’s date, I had in mind those of you whose attitude to physical activity can be summed up in these words: fear and loathing. If this is you, then choose as many of the tools above to try out as is challenging but not too challenging. Maybe one is enough for you - maybe you can handle three.

Either you will fall into this camp, or you will belong to the group of people who enjoy it but could do with pushing themselves more, whose Cavebrain would really benefit from a bit more Katie Face. Maybe you are not consistent enough. Life, with all of its demands, keeps getting in the way. 

If this is you, then focus on the rewards and check ins.

If being consistent enough is a challenge, then just hang on because in a couple of days I am going to help you because we are covering being more consistent in a date all about having a daily practice.

Or maybe...your level of physical activity and effort is already high, in which case you can go make yourself a nice cup of tea and review the dates up to today. Have you spent five minutes looking at body confidence role models?