Most of us are always saying to ourselves (and anyone that will listen): “I should,” followed by things such as, eat better, run five miles, or journal. It is easy for us to keep pointing out this external desire to be more disciplined and think it is somehow a motivating force. But in actuality, “should” statements are often the opposite of motivation. Do you really want to do those things, or do you just think you should?
If you really believe the outcome is necessary or important to you, you may need to look elsewhere for enthusiasm to actually accomplish whatever it is that you see essential. Moreover, when it comes down to doing something that is good for us, we need to look for and generate self-compassion. What makes you feel strong? Healthy? Content?
Attaching an internal motivation rather than an external (my doctor, mother, friend said I should ____) will make a behavior less of an inconvenience and more of something you want to do. We all know that having the wish to do something increases the likelihood of actually doing it.
Then, like most healthy habits, it takes time and active diligence to make these activities a part of your routine. It helps to really write down whatever behavior you wish to work on, or an achievement on a calendar. For example, if you really want to work in 45 minutes of cardio three days a week, write down the days and times that fit best with your schedule. Second, in addition to your internal motivations, try to make whatever you need to do a fun activity. Again, forget the “shoulds” and figure out what it is you want to do, why you want to do it, and how you want to do it.
Most importantly, gratitude can help bring out feelings of self-compassion. Focusing on all the positive and wonderful things that are already inherent in who you are and what your body does will allow for greater energy in all areas of your life.
At our core, we can focus on how beautiful it is that our heart is beating. Most studies show that the average adult takes well over 20,000 breaths per day, and billions of times over a lifetime. We sometimes forget that our various body parts function in such a silent yet remarkable way to keep us healthy and alive. Sometimes it takes an illness, or extreme accident for some to be grateful for certain parts or abilities of the human body. Be grateful now for how resilient and powerful your body is. Lastly, know that a positive perception of your self, body, and mind has the ability to produce immense physical benefits.