Stay Motivated to Move: The 30-Day Challenge Participants Speak Up

Way to move! Although we postponed the 30-day challenge due to the coronavirus situation, for 15 days you were going strong and moving magnificently. We had over 250 participants and more than 1465 total classes taken. Amazing! When we resume the challenge for the remaining 15 days, here are some thoughts about how to regain your momentum and to magnify your motivation to stay happy and healthy here at Yoga Health Center. Also, for those of you who are developing a new discipline of working out at home or beginning an at-home meditation practice, please read this blog carefully as it has some practical suggestions for your success.

First, establish an at-home practice that you are committed to following through with every day. Yes, every day. Realize that even when you have a million reasons and excuses to not practice, there are two million better and healthier reasons to practice. Self-care is not a luxury; it’s a basic necessity. Don’t fall prey to the pernicious pull of martyrdom. It’s not heroic to go down with the ship—it’s irresponsible, quite frankly. If you’re not healthy, you’ll have less loving and much needed support to offer your family, friends, community, and others in need.

“But, but, but,” says your inner saboteur. Ignore that voice. Tell it to keep its “buts” out of your head and make the wise choice to take care of yourself. All of us at YHC believe in you and we encourage you to believe in you. In that light, YHC has created a schedule of regular live-streamed classes for you and along with that, we have created an archive of yoga, fitness, and meditation classes led by our very own YHC instructors. Although the studio doors are closed, our hearts stay open. We are here for you whenever it’s time for a workout or a work-in. For example, for those of you who are starting a meditation practice, begin with five minutes of paying attention to your breath, or repeating a mantram aloud (or say a silent mantra), or watching your thoughts and emotions do their dances. Dedicate a space, place and specific time in which you will not be interrupted by phone, computer, spouses, GFs, BFs, kids, playmates, or pets. Better yet, you can invite them to meditate with you, but commit to following strict rules of silence, no interruptions, and no cell phones/computers. Stick to the same time and place every day. Build from that success by adding another minute. In no time you’ll have trained yourself to stay focused and steady for 10 minutes or more. Wouldn’t that be a triumph?!

Second, take to heart these sage suggestions, practical principles, and honest stories of these participants in the 30-day challenge who are still going strong (at home):

  • It feels like now we are in the midst of a new 30 + day Challenge! The challenge is to establish a new routine of yoga/core/mind/body fitness in my home. My motivation is to stay healthy, strong & fit during these worrisome times! (Mary)

  • The challenge motivated me to go to as many classes as possible. I encourage others to try different (online) classes and to try doing more than one a day. Exercise feeds the body, mind, and soul. Being home so much as gotten me to go outside and take more walks with my dog. (Sue)

  • Quite honestly, though I was exercising every day, I didn't love it.  It was something I HAD to do for health reasons.  YHC really changed my outlook by making fitness and yoga FUN! (Sheila)

  • Been taking daily walks, practicing yoga and meditating regularly. This is a difficult time for the world and if each of us stays strong and supports each other we will come through this. Being outdoors also helps, as does this Zen folk saying:  Everything changes in this world. But flowers will open each spring. Just as usual. (Nancy)

  • What keeps me motivated? The joy of being physically active, and having strength both physically and mentally. Also, I value the beautiful gifts which I receive—happiness peace clarity strength and joy plus a whole bunch more. (Aline)

  • I have a one and three-year-old, practicing yoga helps keep me less prone to injuries and now it’s easier to bend down and pick both of them up. It’s also a healthy way to take a break from the kids. (Jeremy)

Third, if you have extra time, do a little research about ways to keep you motivated. For example, in the general field of psychology and in its specialty offshoot—sports psychology—there have been many studies and findings about what keeps people motivated to move—move forward, move ahead, move on, move, move, move…you get the point. Let’s begin with a few quotes from some well-known sports greats to inspire you:

·Set realistic goals, keep re-evaluating, and be consistent. –Venus Williams (Tennis Champion)

  • I don’t run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run toward it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your feet. –Nadia Comăneci (Five-Time Olympic Gold Medalist in Gymnastics)

  • The best motivation comes from within. –Michael Johnson (Gold Medal Sprinter)

  • Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision. –Muhammad Ali (World Heavyweight Champion Boxer)

According to general psychology, all humans have three basic needs (the 3 Cs) that serve as benchmarks for psychological wellbeing: 1) connection, 2) competence, and 3) control. The idea goes that when you perceive that you have control (i.e., a sense of autonomy) over your life, are competent in what you do, and feel connected with others (and yourself), you experience fulfillment and wellness. Let’s apply that idea to get you to work out at home regularly. First, connect with the desire you have to take care of yourself and be moved by your inner fire. Next, do something that you’ve done proficiently in the past, such as finishing a 7-minute HIIT workout (competence). Lastly, control the amount of time you dedicate to your workout and choose a space and time in which your workout will not be sabotaged by interruptions. You’ve got this!

If you want to go deeper than the 3 Cs with motivational theory, I suggest that you explore the work of humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow. He created a more elaborate five-tiered model (shaped like a pyramid) explaining his views on motivation and human thriving. He named his model the hierarchy of needs. Explore it if you’re intrigued.

For our more academically-minded readers who want more specifics, here are some relevant excerpts (in italics) from an article about the motivation that will get your mind moving (Source:

Motivation is a fundamental component of any credible model of human performance, and has been a core focus of industrial and organizational (I/O) psychology for many years (Cerasoli,  Nicklin,  & Ford, 2014).  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is the fundamental motivation theory that has influenced current theories and models of motivation in the workplace. The common element among theories of workplace motivation is that individuals are motivated by internal and external factors. Motivational forces can be described as either extrinsic or intrinsic, guiding the direction, intensity, and persistence of performance behaviors (Cerasoli,  Nicklin,  & Ford, 2014).

Extrinsic motivation involves external factors, such as recognition and reward. Cerasoli, Nicklin, and Ford (2014) explain that extrinsically motivated behaviors are influenced by the prospect of instrumental gain and loss (e.g., incentives), whereas intrinsically motivated behaviors are engaged for their very own sake (e.g., task enjoyment). Intrinsic motivation involves internal motivating factors and personal gain. Intrinsic motivation is dependent on the individual’s personal interest and sense of satisfaction derived from a job well done. 

The most effective way to enhance performance is to increase both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. External incentives and intrinsic motivation are not counteractive. The research found that external incentives can coexist in a symbiotic way with intrinsic motivation. So there you have it. And then some.

Now get moving closer to wellness! We know you will succeed. YHC is here for you all the way.


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