How You Can Learn to Love Exercising

Motivate Yourself With Subconscious Conditioning

We all know we should be exercising on a regular basis, especially if you are amongst the majority of us that live relatively sedentary lives. The challenge isn’t the undeniably positive logic behind exercise; the challenge is the negative emotion behind exercise. Certainly there are those of you who will preach about the “runner’s high” and how exercise makes you feel awesome. Unfortunately, this is easily crushed at the more influential subconscious level by the stronger emotional attraction of junk food and a Netflix binge, creating a version of you that you don’t want.

Why would the latter be a stronger emotional attraction? The brain makes about 35,000 decisions every day, only a few of them consciously, the rest subconsciously. Because of the sheer volume of decisions to be made, the brain will take the easiest route possible, simply to save on resources. Therefore, for someone deciding at the end of a long work day whether or not they should go to the gym followed by a home-cooked meal versus going home to watch TV after picking up some drive-through, the brain will subconsciously tell them “gym equals hard” and “take-out equals easy” and the drive-through will win.

So what’s the solution? To tip the scales toward making the gym the easier choice, we need to make the gym more emotionally rewarding and therefore an easier decision to make. For example, if at the end of the aforementioned day, the person had a gun held to their head and told to go to the gym, the brain would make the easy decision to say an unequivocal “yes!” because of the emotional fear of death.  Short of having a gun held to our heads, we need to create enough positive (and selectively negative) emotion to move us to the tipping point of saying yes to the gym. One way to do this is to actively, via the conscious mind, remind ourselves of the short and long term emotional benefits of exercise, as well as the short and long term emotional risks of not exercising. This can be done by simply writing out these lists and reading them twice a day to condition the mind subconsciously to make the decision to go to the gym easier to make. When we do this enough times, and experience real emotional and physical results from our efforts, the choice of going to the gym becomes second nature. Another way is to find a friend who will co-commit with you to go to the gym so you have the emotional leverage to avoid disappointing each other.

Why do we have to actively condition the mind to get what we want? Because we have unknowingly conditioned the mind to do things we don’t consciously want, in some cases for decades. If you want to understand why you do the things you do today, simply look back at your routines of the past. By conditioning the subconscious mind, and establishing new thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, you will create the version of you that you really want.

Combining almost 30 years of fitness and wellness, Rod is the vice president of canfitpro, the largest provider of education in the Canadian fitness industry. Overseeing this dynamic 100,000 member organization, Rod continues to propel its growth and position as a leader in the global fitness industry. Rod is also a best-selling author, editor, cross-Canada cyclist, NLP Practitioner, RYT 200, Certified Coach Practitioner, and 4-time Ironman finisher.    


Categories: Exercise Tips & Techniques