It's that time of year again....when thoughts turn to the inability to fit into one's pants....
I've been working out sporatically since Grad School. For the past 3 years - workouts have consisted of occasional spurts of self-motivation (mostly working out at home) followed by long stretches of inactivity.
OK - so it's pretty apparent that self-motivation can be a tricky thing. I need some form of accountability to get off my butt and do something healthy.
It can't be my boyfriend whining about how fat I've gotten (which he thankfully hasn't done. He wouldn't be walking among us if he had...)
It can't be Mom bragging about her weight loss (I'm proud of her and thrilled to see her so happy, but part of me still wonders if an alien has invaded her brain).
It can't be my friends (most of whom also work out sporatically and help me engage my vices).
Nope - has to be an external, objective source. Preferrably with a balance of punishment and reward.
In answer to my prayers, my workplace has started participating in The President's Challenge. The motivator here is that I don't want to embarass myself in front of my new co-workers. There is also some sort of reward system attached as well - though I'm not entirely certain what the reward is yet.
The program is the adult version of the Presidential Physical Fitness Award . Instead of being forced to run 400 meters and banging your head on the floor performing sit-ups as fast as you can, you have to log how much exercise you have done in a day and how strenuously you exercise. The goal - 5x per week, at least 30 minutes per day.
The emphasis is on just getting out and doing it. The second level is for those who are already active and disciplined.
As I decided to participate, I realized that my biggest motivational problem is that I don't have any concrete goals (besides wanting to fit into my jeans again). I'm not overweight - more out of shape. And setting goals like "I want to be able to throw the average body weight of my graduate committee 15 feet" just doesn't work for me anymore. Without goals, I find it very tricky to benchmark my success. Without those benchmarks - it's tough to stay motivated. And those benchmarks have to be worthwhile and achievable.
The President's Challenge provides both a goal and some accountability.
It's one thing to do something because "it's good for you." But that often isn't enough for an activity that takes longer than a couple of hours. Think about the success of your "voluntary" eLearning initiatives. Heck, think about the success of the "mandatory" ones. What's really motivating them to finish the course?