HOW TO VIEW MOTIVATION FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE
We are nearing the end. It is time to give you the secret. The secret of how to view daily motivation for the rest of your life.
Zig Ziglar was on to something when he said, "People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily."
The biggest struggle for building consistent healthy habits was lack of motivation and excess fatigue.
If you have paid attention during phase three and have applied the lessons and tasks, you realize the need for intrinsic motivation and how to use extrinsic motivation to your advantage - That's the big picture. However, even if you have decided you want to be fit and healthy for your family (great intrinsic motivation) it is the daily grind that still gets people.
This perceived lack of motivation is most likely due to mental fatigue. You process a ridiculous amount of information each day while you drive, when you read, while you work, during workouts...Your brain is constantly running and processing, developing opinions and drifting off to other tasks. By the end of the day your brain is quite fatigued.
Research shows that if you exercise while mentally fatigued (which could be everyday), you will reach a state of perceived exhaustion more quickly. Mental fatigue will lower your brain's inhibition against quitting.
Perhaps that's the bad news. The good news is that the same studies found your perceived level of exhaustion, or level of mental fatigue, had NO correlation to your heart or muscles; they still possess the same level of readiness and ability to operate at a high level whether you are mentally rested or fatigued.
So the secret...You ARE NOT tired! Well, your brain is, but your body isn't. Basically, your brain is tired of working but your body is ready to go. So what do we do? Don't worry, I am not going to just tell you "You aren't tired", so workout more. No, it is good to know that mental fatigue leads to perceived physical exhaustion, but knowing how to reduce mental fatigue is better. Because if you feel tired...you feel tired. When you truly control your brain - you may get to that level where you can just tell yourself "I am not tired", and it will work. Until then, let's focus on feeling less tired.
Working Out Mentally Fatigued: What to do
First, let's start with how to workout mentally fatigued, because the truth is that you may not have a real option to implement some of these steps due to your job or lifestyle.
Don't worry if you are in this position. Some jobs within the military require an incredible amount of vigilance followed by significant physical activity or exertion and they are still able to operate at high levels and in dangerous situations. So you CAN learn how to cope with mental fatigue and physical activity, but it will take time.
However, there is no new information to give. All that you learned in phase two needs to become daily practice, it needs to become a habit, instinctual. All of the tactics you were given are based off of clinical studies and research - so they work.
The fact of the matter is that your body is ready to go, but your brain isn't - due to being fatigued. This means you need to trick your brain into working out longer, lifting heavier weight and pushing yourself to the limit. Use all of the distraction techniques you have already learned:
-Focusing on small goals (living in minutes and seconds)
-Bonus tactic: If you are doing long repetitive work, normally endurance type exercise. Try counting. Count to 50 or 100, just count. Focus on the numbers, not what you are doing.
-And the best tactic (one we applied in week one) if you can afford it...WAKE UP EARLY and workout. Your brain is fresh and rested. Put it through the ringer in the early morning hours.
Lastly, for working out mentally fatigued, apply the next step. It will help as well.
1.) Limit Decision-Making
You make a ton of decisions everyday. At work, it may be your job to make decisions, and perhaps you have to make a lot of daily decisions for your family. Some things you just cannot control; you have to make decisions.
But limit the decisions you can.
This is simple, and a bit contradictory. But if you plan and make decisions now (we have to make decisions to limit decisions), decisions that will hold up for say a week, you can dramatically limit your decision-making. It's the small stuff:
Decide what your workouts will be for the next week or 30 days; or stick to a program (mental toughness workout guides).
Decide what your meals will be for the week.
Plan as much of your daily routine ahead of time as you can.
Know how to do the workout movements before you do them (you may have to practice ahead of time)
Try eliminating ANY decision making in fitness other than the decision to push yourself when the time comes - in which the decision should be yes. The rest of your daily routine you need to limit as many small decisions as you can.
Seriously, the small stuff; what to wear, what to eat, how to get to work, how your day will go. It may seem silly, but having things as planned as possible, and only making the decisions you have to, is going to leave a lot of mental octane to burn when you do get to workout.
2.) Silence - Breathe
This will be the hardest, yet easiest tactic to apply.
When is the last time you had complete silence, quietness and just rest; not for sleep, just a time to relax? When is the last time you only focused on taking a breath? Staring at a computer screen all day, television, music, movies, games, flickering lights and your busy life is a HUGE sensory overload and it fatigues the crap out of your brain.
Your brain is constantly trying to calm itself from these sensory inputs, which is one of the main reasons you feel so mentally drained at the end of the day.
Find time to relax. Find time to breathe. Take breaks from the computer, rest your eyes. Limit the movies, TV and games. Increase your mental energy by finding time to be, just you.
3.) Limit the Stimulants
Most of the world is addicted to caffeine, or more specifically, coffee. If you aren't really into coffee, caffeine, energy drinks, pre-workout supplements, or ANY OTHER stimulant go ahead and skip this step.
This is for the people with a vice.
Caffeine is not bad, it actually is good for you in small doses and can aid in the prevention of disease.
But caffeine has a direct effect on our brains. Yep, sorry if I am the one to break it to you. These stimulants change our brain's chemistry over time. The more caffeine you take in the more receptors you grow for adenosine.
Adenosine causes the tiredness you feel. Caffeine fills the gaps in the brain's receptors for adenosine, so boom, not tired. You body produces more adenosine receptors, so you require more and more caffeine and your tolerance grows.
Which means a day without a flood of caffeine is going to make you feel ran-over-by-a truck tired. But there is hope! If you can cycle off of caffeine for 1-2 weeks every 2-3 months you will be able to reset your adenosine receptors.
So...you don't have to kick the habit, but use stimulants properly. You control you...not a substance.
4.) Theory of Vitality
Lastly, we have the theory of vitality. Vitality, energy available to oneself, is subjective in nature and should be distinguished from lack of rest or caloric energy. This theory is largely associated with the study mentioned above, and how energy and perceived exhaustion can come from psychological factors and mental fatigue.
But there is one other aspect to this theory we have yet to discuss - Contact with nature.
In controlled studies, even accounting for physical exertion and social interaction, people reported higher levels of energy when surrounded by trees, plants and water...nature.
Keep in mind this is a theory because there is no concrete answer as to why people report higher energy levels.
Why would being outside make us feel more energetic?
Could it be the powerful effects of Vitamin D? Could it be some sort of connectedness with the outside that brings us energy?
The study didn't distinguish between day and night, so validity of Vitamin D could not be established. Also, there was no real reason to believe that the outside has some sort of special powers...
But that is a study, and they don't like to make bold claims without the facts...but I will.
We were born to be outside! The first humans were ACTUALLY born outside, hunted outside and gathered outside. This isn't spiritual, religious or scientific. Humans thrive when they are outside. We were not designed to be sedentary robots trying to increase our productivity behind a computer screen under fluorescent light...FACT.
We are meant to be athletic, we are built to move, our bodies are designed to lift, jump, throw and repeat those movements over and over.
If only I could help these poor scientist out :)
That's it for today, and there is your secret to daily motivation. Fix your brain and prepare it to be motivated and you will thrive.
All these corrections will lead you to the "Zone", a place where once arrived, you will never want to leave.
Put the theory of vitality to the test! It doesn't matter what your goals are or why you train, you have to have fun in the process. This part of the guide is meant to challenge you a little, but mainly for you to have fun.
Give it a try and think about where your energy levels are!