June 2, 2010

Where does the motivation go?

This was a question posed to me lately from a women in an "intro to exercise" class I lead.  I have been thinking about it ever since. Mainly because...I can't answer it! Does it relate to a person's readiness to change? Maybe. Could it be that the initial desired change is too much too soon? Perhaps. Research tells us that over 60% of those new exercisers drop out of their fitness program within 6 months. Based upon my own professional experience, I suggest it occurs before the first 4 weeks.
I see this in virtually every program I lead relating to weight loss and exercise. It usually goes like this... the first session begins with eager, dedicated, and passionate people sick of their old way of being and ready for change. This high lasts for about 2 weeks and during the 3rd meeting their reports already smell of defeat. By the 4th week people start reporting that their old habits are sneaking back into their lives. By this point, all passion and interest appears to be gone and the goals seem to be forgotten or changed. Now, not ALL people I work with do this, but alot do. Enough to take note of it.
So what is the answer? How do you define "willpower"? This was another brilliant question I was asked this week.  I am still thinking about that one and will get back to you when I have an answer.  As far as motivate goes all I can suggest to those feeling less than excited about their lifestyle change program is;
1. Change takes time...a long time. Perhaps a year or two. If it does happen overnight it may not be permanent.
2. A weekly support group or connection to a friend or behaviour change professional is key!!! A client of mine said this just the other day. He mentioned the benefits he gets assessing the week and discussing goals for the next. It has kept him on track so far.
3. You have to be aware of the "too much too soon" syndrome. Start slowly. If you fall back, let that be your sign that you may have bitten off too much. Re asses your goals and start again.

Of course there are other points to be aware of but I don't want to blog your eyes out. I find the subject of behaviour change so fascinating and overwhelming and I definately don't have the answers. But I do know the questions to ask and understand that the "answer" is different for everyone.  I believe that anyone who does state that they have the answers to successful lifestyle change may not understand the depth of the question...in my opinion.

Good luck with your changes!

1 comment:

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