Exercise guilt works.
The problem is, exercise results happen when it is done consistently. That means you need a source of motivation that is renewable, not one you have to use a lot of energy to churn up every day you need to exercise.
Guilt will produce short term motivation, but it takes a lot of brain energy. Its just not an efficient way to stay motivated for exercise. In the end you wont really get results from exercise because you are less likely to do it consistently.
Gratitude however, has lasting effects on motivation as well as mental and physical health. Plus, it feels way better than guilt!
Guilt is the feeling you ‘should’ be doing something different than you are in this moment.
Gratitude is the feeling of deep appreciation for something or someone.
This time of year we hear a lot about gratitude. In January, we hear a lot of guilt producing messages about exercising and eating healthy, losing that holiday /pandemic weight.
What would happen if we started using gratitude to motivate for exercise now, and just kept it going in the new year? Studies show motivation would be easier, both through the holidays and in 2021.
“We found that across the participants, when people felt more grateful, their brain activity was distinct from brain activity related to guilt…simply expressing gratitude may have lasting effects on the brain.”
Look, we’ve been through enough this year! There is no need to add guilt to the mix. Take this week to move your body as a way to take care of it, shed some stress and notice something you are grateful for about that time you took for yourself.
Keep it simple. One unique thing you are grateful for each time you exercise. Whether you do a five minute walk to to get away from your computer, a fifteen minute dance party with your family before dinner, or a set of strength training to start your day feeling strong and confident, take five seconds to write down your one thing from that time. It will tell your brain this is something to repeat and that means next time motivation will be that much easier.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!
Keep Moving, Find Gratitude, Be Well,