Digging Deep with Participaction: Sam asks why, why, why, why, and why again

Okay, okay, I’ve forgiven them for the annual fitness challenge.

I’ve been enjoying reading Participaction’s weekly fitness challenge.

The most recent one was about motivation.

Your task for the week?

Write down the reasons why you’re resolving to change or set a goal. When we identify our why we develop a clearer understanding of our motivations to follow through.

It was Frederick Nietzsche who said, “He who has a why can endure any how.”

Understand what you want to change, and why you want to change it, before you set your goal. If you need some help, read the blog below for practical thought-starters.

See their post, 5 questions you must ask to find your why, pursue your passion, and unleash your deepest motivations

Their idea is that you ask what you care about and then ask why you care about that. We search for the intrinsic motivation underneath all the instrumental ones. Dig deeper, past the trvial stuff. The idea seems to be that when you dig deep enough you’ll find motivation to exercise.

Is that true though?

Maybe deeper motivations aren’t actually aren’t that motivational.

I really do care about my health at 80 but frankly it’s not that motivational. What does motivate are the direct and immediate benefits of physical activity. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel good not in 30 years but now. And it turns out that is a far batter motivator than distant though important benefits.

From the blog post, Want to do something consistently? Make it feel good

“Some years ago, my colleagues and I conducted a study in which we examined the impact of people’s reasons to start exercising on their actual involvement in exercise. We first asked the participants to state their reasons or goals for exercising, as I just asked you. Then, to uncover their higher-level reasons for exercising, we asked them why they cared about obtaining those particular benefits.

My colleagues and I found that 75 percent of participants cited weight loss or better health (current and future) as their top reasons for exercising; the other 25 percent exercised in order to enhance the quality of their daily lives (such as to create a sense of well-being or feel centered). Then we measured how much time they actually spent exercising over the course of the next year. The answer may seem counterintuitive, but it’s true: The vast majority of the participants whose goals were weight loss and better health spent the least amount of time exercising overall—up to 32 percent less than those with other goals.”

How about for you? What gets you out the door?

3 thoughts on “Digging Deep with Participaction: Sam asks why, why, why, why, and why again

  1. I started because I wanted to be thinner. Then in grad school, I took advantage of the flexible schedule I had to experiment with a lot of kinds of activity (group fitness, weight lifting, rock climbing, city cycling, swimming, yoga, hot yoga, running and crossfit) and now I work out because it makes me feel good, it keeps a lot of pain at bay, and it reduces stress.

  2. I started exercising for weight loss, but it was tough to sustain. Then I found activities I actually liked (instead of doing the ones I thought were best for weight loss) and it was much easier. Plus, I had to stop doing some of the things I liked last summer due to an injury, and I noticed declines in my mood, sleep, etc. which confirmed to me (again) that exercising regularly actually made me feel better day to day. Hence, off I go to exercise 4-5 times per week not caring about the scale in the slightest.

  3. The truth is when people say they do something to be healthier, and are actually pretty healthy already, it’s hard to justify the effort.

    My intention at the start of every yoga class I go to is to celebrate life. To just enjoy being alive and in my body. To feel joy.

    It has been a powerful motivation.

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