Do you love hiking?
Do you love skiing?
Do you love biking?
Do you enjoy going for a personal best bench press or back squat?
Sooner or later, the dread of going to the gym hits everyone, if not for only one moment. Sooner or later you will feel bored. Sooner or later you will have to re-evaluate and reassess your reasons for going to the gym. So let’s find you a good reason right now. Let’s find a way to internally motivate you.
To put it in perspective, do you think professional athletes enjoy going to the gym? In my experience, sometimes, but most of the time, it’s a job, it’s something they are now expected to do in order to compete in their sport.
This approach can teach us a critical lesson about commitment. If you create a certain amount of need to go to the gym in order to perform better in something you love, it makes going to the gym that much easier (for that matter, so does going to the gym with friends).
In the process of goal setting, this could be deemed an ‘assistance goal or objective‘ ~ a practice, habit or behavior that leads to greater success in the activity that you’re most passionate about.
The objective of the exercise here is to find a very meaningful reason why you would go to the gym. This reason should be a long-term objective, as opposed to the more short-term goal. However, sometimes a short-term goal can be a stepping stone to a larger objective. A master goal (or self-defining goal) would give you a stronger sense of purpose in your efforts here.
Something like, I want to be the best squash player I can be, or the best parent I can be.
Fill in the blanks: I want to be the best _______________ I can be.
What you really need is to find something you love that is active, something that fills you with a sense of purpose. Something you can physically participate in and then use the gym to complement your performance in that. Unless your sport of choice is Olympic Lifting, Powerlifting or Bodybuilding, then the gym is really a complement to your ‘active lifestyle.’
Start treating it that way.
I moved to Vancouver 4 years ago and at the age of 24 took up snowboarding and surfing for the first time ever in my life. Now I love both of them, I’ve become fairly competent and I use them to fuel the fire. The fire of going to the gym and staying strong and fit, because if I don’t, I know how I’ll feel on the hill or in the water and especially the day or two after participation.
The art of finding something you enjoy that is physical can be painstaking, but you really must try to open your mind to some new things. If you don’t like something, it’s ok to move on. I did a half-marathon and did a triathlon years back, I didn’t personally really enjoy it, but at least I can now say, “I’ve been there done that.”
On the flip-side, sometimes you need more than one time to really make a dent. The first time I was on a snowboard, I hated it but by the second and third times when I started to see some development I was inspired to continue.
Other times you need a little push from friends or family to join them with whatever they are doing. I’ll be honest, if I wasn’t surrounded by people who enjoyed skiing or boarding or catching a wave (in freezing cold water I might add…), then I probably would never have pushed through those first few difficult times trying.
I’ve met a lot of people who do not really feel comfortable at, or enjoy going to the gym. Yet their first approach year after year is to head to the gym to see if they can find some long, lost motivation. 1 Month later or 2 months later, they are stuck in some year-long contract they want to break and back to square one.
Instead, this year, make it your mission to find an activity that requires you to sweat a little bit but that you’ll actually enjoy. You need to have fun being active first and foremost before you even worry about a gym.
Find an activity that inspires you to actually want to go to the gym in the first place because it improves your mastery of that activity. More strength, power, speed can all improve performance. When you start to take something seriously like that, going to the gym will feel a lot more natural.
Finding something you connect with, finding something you love, is one of the biggest indicators of success out there.
What activities are you passionate about? Leave a note below!