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Wellness Wednesday: Getting Your Mind Right

By now you’ve hopefully added some walking, body weight or external weight resistance training, and tissue recuperation work to your daily health focused lifestyle.

One of the largest issues you may have faced is how to stay motivated. I’m going to cut to the chase and not sugar coat it.  

Motivation comes from within but it can have some challenges.

Sure, there are external factors that can affect the level of motivation you have, such as a compliment on your work ethic or a wink from the hot chick/dude, but in the end is that what you really want? These types of things will only motivate you if you actually want this type of attention.   

Many people are motivated to be healthy to be able to play with their grandchildren.  Some people can be motivated by the opportunity to stop taking blood pressure medication if they instead focus on relaxation and other stress relieving techniques.

I understand it can be hard to stay motivated. I’ve been trying to care of myself since 2002 and helping guide others on their wellness journey since 2005. It takes a lot for me to stay motivated and continue to do what I do with enthusiasm every day.

Before we go any further, let me tell you a little fact about myself: I struggle with depression and anxiety.   

In college, I had a bit of a drinking problem.  It escalated to the point of me ending up talking with a psychiatrist. I knew I needed a change and the lifestyle I was living wasn't good for me or anyone else I was involved with. Pills were prescribed and I took them. I turned into a walking zombie. Thinking back to the last time I felt really good about myself was when I used to lift weights for football in high school. I thought I might as well try a local gym and see what happens.  

A few months later, I was able to stop taking the medication because my brain was producing natural feel good chemicals such as endorphins and dopamine. I was seeing a happier face in the mirror again,  not the zombie that was just making it to work, eating fast food and sleeping only to repeat the cycle all over again the next day.  

Endorphins were flooding my body after a challenging workout, my stress and anxiety was diminishing and I was eating better to fuel my body during training. These things motivated me.

Clear, realistic goals are the key to motivation.

A few years into training, I set out to be a competitive bodybuilder, not to rival Schwarzenegger's physique. I focused on eating healthy foods, not depriving myself of chocolate for 90 days. That goal was realistic. I wasn’t going to be devastated if I missed a meal or wanted a piece of cake. Many of us set ourselves up to fail by having goals that are unrealistic, such as losing 50 pounds of fat in 10 weeks.

Even though I achieved my goals, I still have bouts of depression. I think many of us do. Heck, anti-depressants are some of the most prescribed drugs in the country.   

I, personally get depressed when I’ve done all I can do for something and another person’s negative actions affect me in an adverse way. I realize that there is nothing I can do about it, but that’s what depresses me!

Yes I could sit, do nothing and let it fester, but fortunately I know that movement helps me.   

I think back to the time I first started training and then head to the gym or out in nature.

Depression really kills your motivation, but the first step is just to do something. Break the cycle.

You don’t have to have to have a record breaking workout. It’s the moment that counts. We’re too far removed from the moment and being ourselves. If you’ve had a bad day and in this very moment you need just to talk with someone, do it. Talk about your issue to gain insight from someone who has probably experienced it before.

Don’t feel like you’re not good enough because you need help from others. It’s insane how many of us only do things based on what we think others will think about it. As soon as you let go of this notion you will be incredibly better off.   

Do whatever it takes. If you feel you need a cry, have a cry. Just don’t take a selfie…

Many people say they’ve fallen off the wagon at times during their exercise program.  

That’s okay, so have I. In fact, I fell off for a five-year period.

I got back on. That’s the difference.  

Remember you’re the ultimate motivator of yourself.

So, how do you stay motivated (and once again, please don’t say anything about “selfies”)?

- Joe Daniels is the owner of SwingThis Kettlebell and Strength Studio in Latonia. Questions for Joe? E-mail him at [email protected].

Bored with bodybuilding after reaching the national level in 2009, Joe Daniels opened SwingThis Kettlebell and Strength. From becoming an IKFF Coach operating in an 800 sq. ft. studio, the benefits of a minimal yet highly effective approach to fitness has grown to a 5,500 sq. ft. functional training facility within four years. 

Focusing on injury prevention, competitive kettlebell sport training and stress relief, SwingThis Kettlebell and Strength has hosted seminars and trained hands-on with some of the top athletes and coaches of the kettlebell world. Their philosophy has remained the same: You have to enjoy your training at all stages. Live your life. Your training should make your life outside that time more enjoyable and fulfilling.

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