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Unlocking sustainable fitness by overcoming the motivation trap

In 2015, we (my sister, my husband, and I) went for the Triund trek in Dharamshala, India. Hardly had we walked a few steps, I started panting. This was a clear sign that I needed to change my sedentary lifestyle.

At that moment, I decided that once we were back home, I would work out every single day for 45 minutes to an hour and get fit. I could already imagine myself waking up early, going for a walk, and feeling proud of myself.

On reaching home though, it was a different story altogether. All the motivation I felt while on the climb vanished without a trace. Life took over and the thought of getting fit got pushed deep down into the recesses of my mind.

Have you been in a situation like this - where as you're listening / watching / experiencing something, your motivation is at its peak and you resolve to do some thing(s)? Then once that moment / episode passes, your motivation wanes and you're back living your life as earlier.

That's the sad truth about motivation. It's unreliable. It'll soar as high as mountain peaks at times, and then in an instant or even over a short period of time, it will fall to the lowest point of a valley.

Now, to be fair, motivation because of health scares or motivation induced by the promise that a new year holds have enabled me to start many times. But never to sustain.

5 years after our Triund trek, I did start working out consistently. This was because I didn't rely on motivation, but made the behavior easy to do; I started with 2 Surya namaskars. And I tied it to an already existing routine that I had of switching on the stovetop in the morning.

Over a period of time, the count of the Surya namaskars increased and I made other changes to my routine to help me be fitter than earlier.

When you want to start new behaviors and sustain them, remember:

1. the least reliable component to count on is motivation

2. so, focus on making the behavior easy to do

3. and then find a place in your routine where it fits snugly.

This is the Tiny Habits Method by Dr BJ Fogg.

What will you start?


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