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Discover the hard truth about motivation

If you’re missing more than a couple of days in a row of your 20 minutes of yoga, maybe it's time to parent yourself. But what does this mean and is it really that simple to get you back on track? FIND OUT MORE BELOW


4 Steps when motivation fails you -

  • Cut the excuses - Notice and stop the daily excuses avoiding getting you started. Most of the time these excuses aren’t based on reality.

  • Change the way of thinking - If you’re struggling to get moving, look at what you’re thinking and saying to yourself about exercise. You may be surprised to discover that self-defeating thoughts are sneaking in and derailing your efforts

  • The 5 Second Rule - Count down from 5 and act before you run the risk of subconsciously convincing yourself not to exercise.

  • Acceptance - Accept the fact that you’re always going to need to give yourself a push to exercise.



If the above looks familiar, it's because they are inspired by a concept in Mel Robbins’ book The 5 Second Rule called “Parenting yourself”. This is a very helpful concept when it comes to exercise.

What is Parenting Yourself?

The job of doing the things you don’t want to do. As humans, we make decisions not on our goals but how we feel right now. Our decisions are based on emotions. That’s why parents are important to kids, as if we left it up to kids, they would never go to school, eat correctly or use manners. They would spend all their time eating junk food and watching tv.


So why is it when you turn 18 do we assume that we know longer need a guardian and can make decisions that push us to do the things we need to do?

If we look at exercise, we know starting exercise can be difficult; BUT, continuing to exercise is even harder. Most of the time, it’s not the workout itself that stops people, but the lack of self-discipline.


People often assume that motivation and willpower is enough. The reality is that you will never want to do the things you need to do in order to have the things you want. You’re always going to have to push yourself. There is no one coming to push you and there is certainly no short cut.

That’s where the notion of parenting ourselves comes in. When our motivation and willpower fail us, we fall back on our habits — those automatic behaviours that allow us to function every day without having to consciously choose every single action.

Therefore, rather than focusing on what’s motivating you to exercise, the important consideration is what habits do you have when it comes to exercising? Which ones do you need to modify or gain in order to automatically choose the sensible parent option?





Identifying your habit loops


There is a structure behind every habit which psychologists refer to as a “habit loop.” By understanding our “habit loops,” we can more easily change our behaviours.


The habit loop includes three key components including a cue, a routine and a reward. These elements help us to understand how to change bad habits and perform better ones.

The Habit Loop Key Elements -

  1. A cue - anything that triggers the habit. Cues most generally fall under the following categories: a location, a time of day, other people, an emotional state, or an immediately preceding action.

  2. A routine - the behaviour you wish to change

  3. A reward - the reason the brain decides the previous steps are worth remembering for the future. The reward provides positive reinforcement for the desired behaviour, making it more likely that you will produce that behaviour again in the future.

Short-circuiting the habit loop

The habit loop governs many of our automatic responses when our motivation and willpower is weakened.

  1. First, identify the routine - Figuring out the routine is the easy part since the routine usually just refers to whatever habit you want to break. Maybe that habit is “sleeping in until you’re dangerously close to running late for work.” Your routine, then, might involve turning off the alarm and rolling over to catch a few more minutes of sleep.

  2. Next, try different rewards - Habits generally develop when specific actions yield rewards. Your phone can give you good news and messages from friends and loved ones as well as provide entertainment. It becomes natural to pick up your phone again and again to receive these rewards. Sleeping in might help you feel more rested, but you also stay warm in bed instead of facing a dark, cold morning. Oversleeping also lets you put off your morning routine for a few more minutes.

  3. Explore your triggers - Identifying the specific cues that prompt your routine is an essential step of breaking a habit. Every time you catch yourself repeating your routine, note those possible cues. Getting the potential triggers down on paper can help you recognise them more clearly and identify any patterns.

  4. Have a plan - Once you're identified your triggers. Put a plan in place to change the routine and reward.

Identifying the habit is only one component. It will also require that you push yourself.


Here are the 4 tips again inspired by Mel Robbins book The 5 Second Rule -

  • Cut the excuses - Notice and stop the daily excuses avoiding getting you started. Most of the time these excuses aren’t based on reality.

  • Change the way of thinking - If you’re struggling to get moving, look at what you’re thinking and saying to yourself about exercise. You may be surprised to discover that self-defeating thoughts are sneaking in and derailing your efforts

  • The 5 Second Rule - Count down from 5 and act before you run the risk of subconsciously convincing yourself not to exercise.

  • Acceptance - Accept the fact that you’re always going to need to give yourself a push to exercise.

Creating a regular exercise routine won't happen overnight, but you can ensure that you don't get derailed. Step one is knowing that our emotions determine your actions, step two is being more aware of our habits and step three is putting the hard yards in by parenting yourself.


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