Have you ever thought about what motivates you when it comes to staying fit?

This week I was interviewed as part of a new podcast series called “Fab Fad Tragic Trend” at Centennial College in Toronto. We discussed health trends, fads, and yes, fabulous ideas about play (exercise). It was so fun!  

The students asked great questions. One thing that struck a chord with them was imagining what keeping healthy meant in their lives, now and in the future. I taught them that it’s about vision.  

What is the #1 way to keep motivated to be active as you age?  

Having a vision is a crucial component of how you imagine functioning in the future. So many people don’t look far enough ahead, and sadly, as we age, unless we work at protecting our health by playing (exercise), eating well and managing stress, our quality of life isn’t always guaranteed to be there.  

Like when you plan a road trip, you need a GPS or a map to guide you along the route. The same idea applies to your health. Do you want to take active holidays? Play with your grandchildren in the park? Do you look ahead to your future excited that you’ll be strong enough to get in and out of a car when you are 90? Are you regularly practicing functional movements like squats (which will help this endeavour tremendously)?  

Too often people forget what’s motivating them to play and they stop.  

Plan your vision.  

What do you want? What do you need? What do you value? And how do you want to feel when those things are made manifest?  

When thinking of feelings, be sure to choose single emotion words like free, open, joy, etc. Write them down. A simple but effective way to layout your ideas of what motivates you is to create a motivation board (like the photo).  

There’s a big difference between having a motive (“I want to move more”) and being motivated (“You mean I have to do it now?”). Think big and make it fun, so it’s worth going for day in and day out. Print out pictures and post them somewhere so you are reminded of your favourite play places. You can even create a “vision board” (see page 165 in my book or download the FREE PDF on my website) to help remind you of your motivation.  

You can also create a vision board online or in an App like Instagram – rather than making it public, you can make it private. Pinterest is a good one, too. Add a daily photo/quote for visual motivation.  

Discern your intentions.  

The media bombards us with so many negative images. I call these unrealistic pictures “psychological barriers to play,” which affect our inner dialogue and our decision to start moving more. We end up with unrealistic body images, extreme exercise regimes, and images of the elderly sitting around and looking frail.  

All of these visuals intimidate people and prevent them from getting to a fitness facility. Don’t let them stop you from walking out of your front door and doing just a bit more play every day.  

Build your health vision  

So what does your vision look like? It comes down to moving more and finding what you love to do.  

How do you imagine transitioning from working for a living to playing for a living? What steps are you taking to ensure that you can play for life instead of “retire”?   

If you don’t know where you are going with your health and fitness, how do you plan on succeeding?

Keep well and get playing