Sensei Mike Swederska has been practicing aikido for twenty years. He’s seen other practitioners come and go, and he’s taken occasional breaks from the mat himself. But he’s always come back. Why? Because for Sensei Mike, aikido isn’t just an exercise; it’s a lifestyle.
We know it’s easy to get caught up in those day-to-day challenges that make up our lives. When you feel busy all the time, and the fire to keep training doesn’t burn as brightly as it used to, it’s easy to stop.
Whether you’re having trouble motivating yourself to train or have fitness resolutions you’re determined to stick with through the spring and summer, let us help you find the motivation to keep going.
6 Tips for Staying Motivated, No Matter the Goal
(1) Change Your Perspective
Don’t like exercising? Instead of focusing on the negative, think about it in a positive way: You’re setting a good example for your kids! If this motivation doesn’t work for you, consider how lucky you are to be mobile. It feels good to breathe deeply, to walk in the sunlight, to do something healthy for your body. It’s self-care, really!
By changing your thinking about exercise – fixing your attitude and altering your perspective – you find more reasons to get out there and do it.
(2) Set a Workable Goal
Another great way to get yourself motivated is to set a goal … one that is realistic, and one you share! Sign up for a 5K, even if you don’t think you can run it the whole way. Invite a friend to go hiking with you on Saturday … there are plenty of beautiful spots in the St. Louis area. As long as you make your goal real and practical, and take baby steps toward it, you’re on your way.
(3) Schedule Your Routine Until it Becomes a Habit
Take advantage of the human mind’s need for routine. If you can schedule your training as if it were part of your weekly routine, you’re much more likely to stick with it. So, start something small that can become as automatic as remembering to brush your teeth or take out the garbage. Develop a habit of walking the dog after work every day or stretching as soon as you get out of bed in the morning. These little, scheduled efforts all add up to better health.
(4) Mix Things Up from Time to Time
Tired of doing the same thing over and over again? Consider other disciplines! Give Tai Chi a try or take a boxing class. You’ll improve your aikido practice if you can become stronger, fitter, and more flexible through activities like weight lifting, cardio, or yoga. No matter what you do, try to mix it up. That way your body and mind won’t get bored or plateau. After all, human beings need variety.
(5) Get a Little Help From Your Friends
Another thing human beings need is support. Have you told your friends and family about your fitness goals? Can you bring a friend to your next aikido class? Recruiting others makes your time exercising more enjoyable.
(6) Cultivate This Valuable Part of Your Life
Think of your fitness or training goal as a part of your life you want to cultivate. We imagine it this way: To be an artist, a writer, a chef – anything, really – you generally have to find something to love about your particular craft again and again. Will your feelings about the practice always stay the same? No. But you’ll find new aspects of your practice to appreciate as time goes by.
It’s like a relationship. You grow with it. And as you do, you realize that you’re developing a very important part of who you are.
Recommit to Your Aikido Practice
At Shin-Gane, we charge per 6 week session. We don’t lock you into a year-long contract. That’s because we understand you may have to stop training from time to time. But if you’ve recently fallen off of some of your training goals, begin again! There’s no time like now to take a step that will improve your health.
We believe the lasting benefit of aikido comes in mindfully training your body to respond in a harmonious way to conflict. For us, it’s simply life-changing. That’s what keeps us coming back. What about you?