Creating Self Contracts and Motivational Lists-Your words are powerful!

In past blogs, I’ve talked about the importance of having concrete, realistic goals to help you stay focused and motivated. I’m sure all of you keep these goals and dreams in your mind, and resurrect these thoughts as you search for motivation. But, keeping your dreams and goals alive only in your mind may not be enough to keep you on track, as our internal self dialogue of negative thoughts and feelings can often override the positive nature of our dreams and goals. Instead of just thinking about your goals, why not put these goals and dreams into words? Concrete writings that you can see and read over and over when you need the motivation!

A client of mine recently had this revelation, and decided to enhance her motivation by making a list of the disadvantages of not exercising, and the advantages of exercising. Her list included:

  • Not exercising puts me at risk for diabetes and heart disease.
  • Not exercising makes me feel overweight and weak.
  • Not exercising will make losing weight harder.OR- in a more positive tone:
    Exercising makes me feel accomplished and energized
  • Exercising helps my blood sugars and reduces my risk of heart disease.
  • Exercising will help me lose excess weight and make me feel better about myself.

Another type of motivational writing is making a “Contract with Myself”. To do this, you must have very concrete ideas about your exercise goals, and what you need to do to achieve them. For example- if your goal is to lose excess weight, you must also know what types of exercise and how often to exercise to achieve these goals. THEN- create a written contract on which you write down -in your own words- what your goals are, including the specific actions you must take to achieve these goals. Thus, if we use weight loss as a model for this, you may write:

“I desire to lose the 20 pounds I gained from quitting smoking”
“I commit to losing this excess, unhealthy weight in the next 6 months” (this is realistic)
“I will lose this excess weight by”: (be specific)

  • Walking 4 days a week for 45 minutes
  • Strength training 2x a week for 30 minutes
  • Meeting with my trainer 1x/month to assess change
  • Keeping a food log on a daily basis for the next month to learn about my eating patterns.

Next, sign it and post it where you can see it on a daily basis! Supplement with exercise logging on a calendar and posted motivational sayings and you’ll be on your way!