Fitness motivation is a constant challenge for so many of us. Staying fit can be of the utmost importance to our happiness and general well-being, and even more so still for those of us transitioning out of a structured military lifestyle. Lifting, running, yoga; any kind of endorphin-stimulating activity makes you feel great, right? Even though endorphins are designed to keep you coming back for more, so many people have a difficult time sustaining that motivation to exercise. So, if by chance your New Year’s resolution isn’t getting the job done, here are five other motivators that might do the trick.
5 Essentials for Fitness Motivation
Much has been written on PTSD, and helping to break the cycle of PTSD-related depression is a wonderful reason to hit the gym. Although combating depression effectively will likely require exercise in conjunction with other treatments, working up a good sweat is an easy way to get a rush of positive feelings. Being able to do this on a regular basis, with or without a workout buddy, will get you on the road to better mental health. (See PTSD Recovery Methods.)
If you’ve made the transition to civilian life, there’s always the possibility that your new occupation won’t offer the same high stakes that your past one did. If you feel like you have a drive, focus, attentiveness, etc. that is untapped in your new station in life, then put all that energy to good use by getting ripped! OK, you don’t have to get ripped per se, but maybe you want to shave another minute off that mile time. Maybe you want to find a recreational basketball team to hone your athleticism. The point is, many veterans have skills and smarts that aren’t always put to their best use in civilian life. Keep those skills sharp and maintain all that excess energy by maintaining your body. Don’t lose it! (And if you feel like you have, reclaim it!)
3. Joining a community
Everyone has a specific job to do. That tends to be true in both the military and civilian life. Even with specialized jobs, human beings are social creatures. But the tight-knit communities found in military life don’t always have a one-to-one equivalent in the civilian world. It usually takes some work to develop a good thing like that. Gyms offer all kinds of potential communities. You might find exercise classes, running groups, intramural leagues, etc. that can offer camaraderie, goal-oriented workouts, and a healthy dose of competition. If you have a hole where there once was a close group of friends, getting active is one of your best bets for find a productive re-entry into the social world.
Everyone wants to look good. A sudden jump from a physically demanding career in the military to a more sedentary lifestyle can have drastic effects on the human body. If you look in the mirror and decide that a more active life is what truly looks best on you, then you have your work cut out for you. Sure, for some, it all comes down to diet, but for others, there’s no replacing the physical component. And usually, it’s a combination. Good choices beget more good choices.
5. Keeping up with the Joneses
This guy’s doing it. Don’t you want your own rad success story about transitioning from military life to civilian life? Sometimes knowing about the successes of those with whom we relate helps us take action in our own lives.