As a busy mom, I just don’t have time to work out. If you’ve muttered these words before, you’re not alone. The truth is, none of us really have time; there are always dishes to wash, clothes to fold, wine to drink… The difference lies within those who make time. But let’s take this one step further. Why does it seem as though fitness and regular gym sessions come so easily for some? Is it because these women are more disciplined than you? Are they genetically blessed with gym-going genes? Perhaps they have unlimited time and endless amounts of energy (like your five-year-old)…
While some of these may be true (to a very small extent), the key to your workout woes actually lies within figuring out what your motivational driver is.
What the heck does that mean?
It means that the triggers that push you to excel in school and at your career are the same triggers that will help you make fitness a regular part of your life.
The three most common motivators are power, affiliation, and achievement. Figuring out which driver you identify with the most is the key to figuring out how to motivate yourself to get to the gym regularly, busy mommy or not.
How do I know which one drives me?
Power: Individuals with power as a strong motivator want to control and influence others. They are often competitive and enjoy status and recognition. These people are more likely to seek or hold a position of power, and enjoy being in control of the situation. If you are the Queen ‘B’ among your squad or find yourself reigning fierce control over the wine supply at every Girls’ Night Out, you may be a power player.
Affiliation: Hey, what about me? Affiliation seekers just want to be a part of the group. They are lovers of collaboration and group consensus and avoid situations of high risk or uncertainty. Competition is not important to those motivated by this driver because it stands in the way of ‘can’t we all just get along.’ If you are the harmonizer amongst your friends and get major FOMO every time you are forced to do things solo, you are probably motivated by affiliation.
Achievement: High achievement individuals find joy in completing things successfully and have a strong desire to accomplish challenging goals. They are usually self-motivated, take calculated risks, and can often be spotted working alone. If you have absolutely zero problem with goal planning/setting and get your kicks out of crossing items off your to-do list each day, you may be an achiever. Hey, not every personality type can be sexy.
So how does this translate into fitness?
In order to make something into a routine, a habit, you need to appeal to your strengths and to what motivates you.
For power players, this may mean finding a way to organize and lead a group fitness class. It can even be as simple as organizing a morning run with your girls. Bonus: Pick a trail you know well and show up early so you can be bright eyed and busy tailed to lead the pack. Or pick activities that inspire friendly competition and also encourage group participation (like Crossfit or organized group sports). And be sure that you are keeping score or tracking your progress, either against a standard or against your competitors, so that you’ll know where you stand in relation to the team.
If affiliation is your motivational jam, then team up with a friend (or fellow gym-going-buddy) and coordinate your workout schedule so that you can hold each other accountable.; treat your workouts more like a morning get-together or post-work date. Those who are driven by affiliation fill their motivational cup by hanging with others and turning even the blandest of situations into a social occasion. No FOMO here, because you’re getting your sweat on with your girlfriends (yep, selfies usually included).
Achievement minded individuals will find their fitness motivation via individual challenges and progression tracking. Try planning out your week in advance and scheduling in your workouts as part of your regular to-do list. You’ll get a sense of satisfaction from completing the tasks. Apps like MyFitnessPal allow you to track your weight, daily workouts, and daily calories consumed/burned. Start small, setting daily goals and rewarding yourself each time you succeed (sadly, wine is not a great fitness reward… save it for the weekends). Build up to weekly/monthly goals and keep tracking your progress.
Figure out what drives you, what motivates you, and use it to your advantage. By using your implicit motives, you’ll make the journey feel more worthwhile and be more likely to stick with it longer. In no time at all you’ll be that fitmom that others envy, all while making the journey look effortless.
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