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  • Daniel Pedley

A Recurrent Resolution

Exercise, motivation and why negativity can be useful.

Exercise can be beneficial for mental health and body image.


The benefits of a good boogie

A well-known and frequently reported suggestion is that exercise, regardless of intensity can have a profound impact on our mental health and body image. It is no surprise then, that much like quitting smoking, or working on particular diets, exercising/improving on one's general fitness is the most popular resolution in the UK (Armstrong & Richter, 2020). So, whether you are battling the bench-press, struggling with a squat, dedicated dancing or simply adding a few more daily steps into your routine is obviously something that many people will have either considered, or heard others considering around the January period. The hardest part though of actually exercising, is simply finding the motivation to do so. With the weather often darker than the plot of 1984 around this time of year, and with each exercise bringing with it a level of discomfort if you are someone that isn't used to it, it can often become a chore akin to breaking in a pair of stiff leather boots which may in fact be exactly how you feel. Hence, bearing that in mind I have a series of potential solutions for making exercise seem more appealing, improving your motivations and even your performance when doing so.


Routine, routine, routine

Being a creature of habit is the idea of heaven for some, and an excruciating hellfire for others. With exercise, in order to gain the most benefit and actually get your body used to it, sticking to a routine can be rather important. People often fail to understand the value of the consistency that a routine will bring, but Rome wasn't built in a day and if one or two days provide setbacks, they'll be nothing to worry about if you have a set routine that continues to help make improvements. Suppose however, that you do not have any routine or consistency, and the smallest of setbacks may well snowball into something more elephantine.


Recognition of your success

If you're already someone who has been exercising for a while, be it since the start of the new year or for longer, recognising progress can also really help to propel you forward. I really do mean this in the broadest sense, since no two people have the same ideals or goals for what they wish to achieve. Take some time to yourself, however you feel most comfortable. For some, that will be a period of self-reflection, others will prefer self-hypnosis, others meditation or even a casual conversation with somebody else who has been able to recognise your improvements. Remember to focus not solely on the physical though, since our thoughts are part of what makes us who we are and often using self-reflection to see how far you may have come psychologically can really provide enough evidence in yourself to encourage you to keep up the exercise. Equally though, remember that if you cannot see any progress not to panic, but to take that as symbolic that either you haven't been patient enough with yourself, or most likely that you are yet to spot benefits or positive changes that are already there (that others may themselves have noticed in you).


Eliminating negative thoughts

Often, many therapists or other professionals (as well as caring people who often don't know what to say) will encourage you to try and 'forget about it' or 'just stop worrying' if something is stressful. Potentially though, this is the most counter-productive strategy that anyone could use. If I ask you to stop thinking about yellow cars for example, it becomes almost impossible to ignore the thought of one whether that is in the form of a picture, or just the words you have just read. Instead then, it is important to be able to recognise that you have thoughts or anxieties about yourself, the exercise or indeed anything else that may be causing unnecessary stress and instead of trying to not thinking them, eliminate the fact that they can impact you negatively. Much like the thought of a yellow car, which you imagined involuntarily, why would any of these negative thoughts be any more intuitive or informed than exactly that? Knowing that these thoughts are involuntary and teaching yourself that they not only cannot hurt you, but also have no bearing on the real world can just inform you that you're only having them because you care about and are entirely invested in yourself, which is a really great thing in the long run.



Accepting negative thoughts and passing them off as harmless can be beneficial.


Seeking help from others

This one is considerably more obvious than the other suggestions on this list. With a considerable abundance of personal trainers, fitness programs and therapists who are able to support you along the way, sometimes you may be struggling to get motivated because what you need is a little push from somebody else. Believing that talking about how we feel should be far more normalised than it currently it, I really urge everyone to just talk to others and seek sources of support. As of my other articles, this can be as simple as discussing your goals and how you want help with motivation with friends, family or loved ones. Alternatively though, you may seek the help of exercise specialists such as a personal trainer to help with your actual exercise regimen. If your exercise routine is set in stone for you however, but motivation is what is dragging you down, whether it's because of energy levels, self-confidence, self-esteem or other imbalances that can be helped to be tackled by another professional, it may be worth seeing someone like myself to provide hypnotherapy to help you on your journey. Much like how I would aid others with quitting smoking, or other habitual changes, the service we offer here at Piper Therapy Services is as bespoke as we can make it.


By working with us, we can really get down to the nitty-gritty of what motivates you best, and with a mixture of hypnotherapy sessions and other therapeutic interventions, invest considerably with you to help you to stay consistent with your exercise routine (or indeed any other routine), fitness goals or any other body-image related or personal health thoughts or anxieties. What are you waiting for? Get in contact and book with us today!


References

Armstrong, M., & Richter, F. (2020, January 02). Infographic: The most common New Year's resolutions for Brits. Retrieved January 22, 2023, from https://www.statista.com/chart/20381/most-common-new-years-resolutions-gb/

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