Living a healthier life rests on finding the right motivation
by personal trainer Chris Volkert
Why are you doing this?
After all, it isn’t easy to change your eating habits, or to hit the gym when you might rather hit the couch or the snooze button.
This is the next in our new series of posts for the Free Form Fitness blog that explore the journey to better nutrition and living a healthier life, featuring the perspective of Chris Volkert, a registered kinesiologist and certified nutritionist at our Dalhousie location.
We each have our individual reasons when it comes to health and fitness. What matters is finding the motivation that works for you.
“Some guys might say they want to have six-pack abs,” Chris said. “But on further reflection, something deeper may come out, like having a better relationship with their spouse, or better self-esteem.”
The key is to understand the difference between a goal and the behaviour that is required to achieve it.
Take for example, those six-pack abs. That’s a goal, but what kind of behaviour is required to become that lean and buff? Few people can sustain the discipline and restrictive lifestyle that is required. In fact, Chris says there can be a negative social cost to being that hardcore.
To focus on goals that are attainable, and adopt the behaviours to reach them, Chris suggests the following:
As in use the S.M.A.R.T. approach to goal setting—set a goal that is Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
So maybe that six-pack isn’t in the cards. But what if your goal is to cut four inches from your waistline within 60 days? That is a reasonable goal that fits all the criteria for SMART.
Once you have that goal in place, you can work with your trainer to develop an exercise and nutrition plan to attain it. In other words, you can identify and adopt the behaviours required to attain it.
What is your motivator—why are you doing this? This question hits back to what we covered in our first post, when we discussed the stages of change and what will compel you to progress from one to the next.
“This is a personal thing,” said Chris. “It must be something that has a strong emotional impact for you, like the thought of not being there for your kids.”
Create a vision board. This is a tool that will clarify your goal and provide you with a visual reminder of what it is that you are working toward.
A vision board is simply a corkboard with pictures, quotes, goals or whatever is relevant and meaningful to you, that will keep you motivated and focused.
It’s the kind of thing you may hang over your bed, so that it greets you each morning, or maybe on your fridge or pantry door, to give you pause when those cravings set in.
In our next post, we will get into the basics of food and nutrition.