Ask Mr. Manners

Keep on track

With January resolutions already in full swing, the largest obstacle is staying motivated. What we don’t understand about being motivated is that it means getting ourselves to do the right thing for the wrong reasons. Being motivated by a “right reason” isn’t effective. We need to realize that motivation and joy are intertwined, then learn how to tap into that in the best possible way – which means finding something in the short term that will motivate us to behave. Long-term happiness and well-being aren’t enough to establish and enforce effective habits.

The most common resolution is traditionally centered around the gym and increasing physical health. It’s very hard to find true, deep joy in exercising, but that doesn’t mean anyone should give up. People generally want to exercise several times a week, but it can be difficult to keep track of that. What I’ve found is that it’s necessary to dedicate time for some sort of activity every day. Sometimes it’ll be vigorous, and sometimes it will be walking or another light activity. A habit becomes much easier to create when it’s part of the schedule for a long time and not just a dozen days a month.

When I started running a few years ago, someone suggested I allocate 30 minutes to it — if I was tired, I walked, if I had more energy, I started running. The time, and not the distance, became a benchmark. This routine allowed me to develop a good habit over time. We all have a lot of good intentions. Turning good intentions into something we act on turns them into something larger and more meaningful.

Let’s continue looking at running. A soon as you start running, you want it to be over. But no matter how much you try to hurry it, it takes time. In business and fitness, it takes time to build something great, and you can’t cut corners – you have to start at mile 1 and there are no shortcuts to success.

Being at the gym gives you a lot of downtime to think – to deal with pain, joy, and all the emotions in between. It makes you commit, too. And it makes you finish: It doesn’t care how you feel that day, whether you are in a good or bad mood. It requires your all. When I’m running, I have to sift through all my thoughts to clear my head and I often find myself a victim of negative self-talk. I tell myself that I should stop, I should quit, I should just walk. In those moments, I ask myself, “Am I quitter? Am I going to let this 30 minutes beat me?” The answer is always “No.”

Once I verbalize that in my mind, I find a way to muscle through it. It’s the same way in life. Your back may be against the wall, but I’m confident that you will find a way to push forward. Don’t allow yourself to give up. Keep pushing forward. We all look forward to seeing your results!

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