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How to cultivate motivation

Updated: Apr 8, 2023

The word ‘motivation’ comes from a Latin word meaning ‘movement’. Bear that in mind when reading what follows…where you will also find the nearest I can get to a ‘magic bullet’.

‘I wish I could get motivated’. How many times have you heard that? How many times

have you said that? Wishing won’t get you far. But at least the question acknowledges that motivation is up to you.

No-one else can do it for you, though you can, and I hope you do, seek out friends and colleagues who will encourage you in your search for motivation.

So how do you do it? Specifically, how do you motivate yourself to take up some kind

of exercise regime?

To start with, you need an incentive of some sort – which I assume you have, if you are reading this.

Let me tell you how I did it. It’s all down to my GP who suggested exercise as a way of

supporting all-round physical and mental health, perhaps swimming or yoga. Yoga

might be good but where do I find a class and what sort would be best? One of my

friends is very fit, always doing classes, and she swears by her personal trainer. Oh, no, that sounds too much like hard work! And then I did something. Motivation isn’t where you start: action is. You will never do anything unless you do something. Move, even if it’s only as far as your screen and keyboard. It only takes one thing, and that one thing could change your life. It changed mine. All I did was type ‘Personal trainer’ and my postcode into Google. I could never have imagined how it would work out. I have had two different trainers and am still expanding my range of activities (the latest is a trampoline).

I am over 70 and have arthritis and, believe me, that is no barrier to exercising. And it’s fun, it’s liberating, it’s good for your physical and mental health and your self-


I promised you a ‘magic bullet’, didn’t I? Apart from the occasional attempts at yoga

over the years, I had never done any exercise. Except that I walked, the result of being

brought up in the country, I think. And that had given me a head start. So if you do

nothing else, walk! It’s free, it’s easy and you can do it anywhere. It’s also a way of

meeting people, as a lot of us may have found during the pandemic.

I can’t motivate you: all I can do is tell you how it worked for me. So try it, you’ll never

know if it would work for you unless you do something about it!


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