The Big Picture: What’s Your Motivation?

You are the general in command of your life. As you embark on your fitness quest, it might help you to think of motivation as the strategy in your battle to become fit forever and to think of your specific goals as the tactics you will have to employ to accomplish what you set out to do. Like all wars, however, you need to know what you are fighting for and keep your goals firmly in sight.

♦ Do you want to be fit to live a long, healthy life? You might want to see your grandchildren grow up, enjoy an active retirement, or avoid some of the health problems you see plaguing older relatives.

♦ Do you want to be fit to look better? If you are tired of waddling when you walk, jiggling when you move, and oozing over the chair when you sit, your motivation for slimming down and shaping up might be mainly for aesthetic reasons.

♦ Do you want to be fit to improve your love life? If you believe you haven’t found a mate because of your appearance, if you fear your partner is losing interest because you’ve let yourself go, or if your spouse has left you for someone thinner, you might want to shape up for this most personal of reasons.

♦ Do you want to be fit to take up a sport? Perhaps the ski slopes, the tennis courts, or the golf courses look good to you. You probably feel the need to get in shape to enjoy a new sport and have a reasonable chance of becoming competent.

♦ Do you need to get fit because of serious health concerns? When your doctor tells you that you need to get some exercise and gives you the reasons, it can be a more powerful motivator than your own general notion of being healthy or living longer.

Regardless of which motivations on this list match yours, you’ll have to get into gear and change your life to reach them. Keep them in mind as you begin and proceed. Because the most important goals are long-haul, you need to count on a long-range commitment to get there.