We want to. Really. But … somehow … hmpf: Sometimes the inner bastard presses our motivation through the thought wheel until we crawl exhausted before it. What we need is a strategy against the blocker in the head. Or rather several.

There are these sentences that you once heard as a child and that later crawl out of your mind. A situation, an old smell. There is nothing you can do about it. “There is no wrong weather, only wrong clothes,” is one of these sentences with me. He was pronounced by Mr. Martin, our class teacher in eighth grade. Mr. Martin has sunk an eternal sentence with me: “Papperlapapp, don’t think so much, just do it!”

“Don’t think so much, just do it!”

Back then, the sentence helped me to resolve the 3rd binomial formula. Or to focus not on the unreachable high pole, but on the optimal start. And today? Would I be stuck without him because I’ve always been very good at avoiding exertion by constructing outrageous excuses. It was particularly bad with sports – until I started to patter sayings like this when I realized that the project could fail:

I don’t feel that way today … “Papperlapapp, just do it!”
But it’s raining! “Then you just get wet!”
The sports clothes are still in the laundry! “Then you just wear the sweaty ones for once!”
The cat was alone all day and absolutely wants to play! “The sooner you go, the faster you’ll be back. And honestly: How could he be mad at YOU? ”
Isn’t it already too dark? “Lace up. Yours. Shoes! ”
You already had a stressful day at work, so it doesn’t have to be sport. “Papperlapapp! That will help you! “

Such simple motivational sayings can be crowned with success – but very often they are not. But why is it like that? In order to be able to successfully trick the inner bastard, it is helpful to understand its function: Sport is physical exertion and costs energy – and that is exactly what the body tries to save, because it must be available in an emergency. The pig dog wants to protect our energy reserves. And to achieve this, he works with irrational tricks, which you yourself can not only get to with more effort, as health psychologist  Prof. Sonia Lippke  knows.

How do you properly tackle the inner bastard?

Lippke researches the topic at Jacobs University Bremen. “The inner bastard makes us weigh up (” I could go tomorrow, too “ ), tells us that we are tired, gives us negative thoughts (” it doesn’t do anything anyway “ ) or makes us old habits tasty (” on the It is much more comfortable on the couch ” ).“ For us, it feels like an insurmountable gap between intention and behavior.

According to the expert, the best trick is to raise the inner pig dog instead of fighting it. This is achieved “by finding a balance between yourself and exercising”. It is good that the bastard wants to bring us to recovery – but then you should put a strain on yourself. The expert FITBOOK revealed which strategies she considers particularly effective.

Set realistic expectations:  If the motivation is unrealistically high, it is more likely that the goals set will be quickly abandoned. You don’t have to walk the ten kilometers from a standing start in under 50 minutes. The feeling of being able to cope with something is an extremely effective remedy against our inner bastard!

Have a specific action goal : Plans increase the likelihood that you will actually achieve your goals. The more specific the goal of the action ( e.g. I walk from door to door),  the easier it is to draw attention to the goal and the sooner it will pass into the initiative.

Seeking support:  Whether motivation develops also has to do with the need to be active in a social environment and to be accepted there.

Imagine how proud and relaxed you are after your training:  The idea that you can satisfy your needs and achieve your goals is motivating! For example, remember the good feeling you had after the last run. This triggers psychologically beneficial processes that make an action more likely.

The desire for health:  Does the idea of ​​living healthier motivate you – or is your health restricted and do you hope to improve in the future through sport? Both are good, because: Health motives have a great influence on our behavior.

Social recognition:  For motivated and determined people, the recognition of their own performance by others is a great motivator.

Promise yourself a reward:  for example, watching a favorite program after sport. Very important: ONLY reward if the goal has been achieved!

Take advantage of the power of habit:  If you make it a ritual to go to sports directly after work, you avoid having to pull yourself up from the sofa at home. For example, get used to always having your packed sports bag with you.

Creating a playlist for your workout: Which three songs are you in top form? Everyone has a different style of music that pushes them – and that usually changes. Electro, dubstep, or rather hardcore beats? Try it out and create a playlist for your workout.

Excuses we introduce a parrot parroting: You can get rid of negative or obstructive thoughts quite well by imagining him as a parrot parroting (“But today my favorite series is coming!”). On the contrary, wouldn’t that be a great reward after training? Why are there media libraries after all! Another option: get a motivation saying as described at the beginning and chatter away in the weak moment: “Don’t think so much, just do it!”

How do I find out which strategy works for me?

Try out! “See if it fits. If not, keep trying, ”advises Lippke. “And try something new every now and then, so that it doesn’t get boring even for the inner bastard.” 

Women are motivated differently than men

Incidentally, men motivate competitions and the associated social recognition much more strongly than women, as a US study showed. Another US study, on the other hand, suggests that women seem to be more motivated to exercise by health motives.