Why Fitness Intensions Work Better than Willpower?

Here we are in the third week in January and (if you’re like most people) your New Year’s resolutions/goals are being challenged by your everyday routines. I’m supposed to go running today, but it’s icy and -21C, so that’s not going to happen. What is going to happen instead?

I’ve set myself a 2021 fitness goal of losing my Covid weight and running a half marathon in June. I’ve got a fitness plan and a back up plan (for days I can’t run). This isn’t my first rodeo. I know there are going to be many days in a Canadian winter where I will need the backup plan instead of running outside.  

What I’ve also figured out is that we all need motivation to show up day after day. I’ve trained a lot of people and the ones who succeed tend to have better motivation than the ones who are there just to lose weight.  A lot of people think motivation comes from will power, it really doesn’t. Motivation is the reason you show up to work out. Goals are the what, fitness plans are the how, and motivation is the why. 

The why is going to get you out of bed, off the couch, or look up from your screen. The big trick to finding your why is to have it emotionally connect with your goal. I don’t really have a reason for running a half marathon in June. I’ve done it before. I know it’ll be fun, but that isn’t going to get me out of bed in the morning. 

My reason for signing up for the half is that my New Year’s intention for 2021 is to Explore. I’m lucky enough to have moved to the Rockies in 2020 and I want to be able to explore it. The only way I’m really going to be able to do that is to be in better shape. The trails are long and steep to the summits and I want to Explore as much of it as I can. The most efficient training plan for me to become a better hiker is to train for a half marathon.

My favourite motivational reason from a client is “To Be Able To Say Yes”. She is a mom and wants to be able to say yes to whatever opportunity comes along. She was tired of being too tired to do things at the end of the day.

How do you figure out your fitness intention?

1-Assess your fitness goal. Why did you choose it? The why is your motivation.

2-Is it the right goal for what you want to accomplish? You can always reset your goal for something more in line with your intention. 

3-Try it out. Bring your intention out into the world. Write it down where you can see it. Put it on a sticky note on your computer. Use the word in your planner where you’ve scheduled your workout. I like to think about it in the last minutes of my workout when I really don’t want to do the last set of reps, or run the last km.

Let me know how it goes. What Intention did you set? 

2 thoughts on “Why Fitness Intensions Work Better than Willpower?”

  1. I love the distinction you make between goals (the what), fitness plan (the how), and motivation (the why). Because my goal tends to be focused on what the scale says, I need to dig a little deeper and examine the why. Why do I want to lose weight? Well, for me it’s more about being strong and able. Able to do what I want … hike, bike, ski, etc. To be well enough, strong enough, and able to do the things I love to do. My intention is … BE STRONG!

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