As I mentioned in a previous post, my number one tool for beating negative symptoms in schizophrenia, lack of motivation included, is lifting weights. Now, I know what you’re thinking:
“Ian, that’s all fine and dandy, but in order to get to the gym I need motivation in the first place!”
Oh, believe me, I know. Even though I am kicking ass at managing my mental illness, getting myself to the gym continues to be a struggle. I have found that the best way to defeat my lack of motivation is by doing at-home weightless exercises. Weightless exercises mean you don’t have to go to the gym to lift.
There are a ton of great online resources for weightless / bodyweight exercises. I found this one on Weight Watchers that I found was of particularly high quality compared to the other dozens I’ve reviewed. I also made a video on YouTube that goes over my top 4 that I do (releasing Feb. 19th at 9 am PST). With all of these exercises, you can literally get off of your chair right now and get your body moving. I encourage you to do so. In fact, I mean it. Stop reading this right now and do one or two of those exercises!
Did you do it? Of course, you’re probably out of breath and doing it kind of sucked. But, do you feel your head? Does it feel clearer and more alert? For me, it does. I am always blown away by how rocking some push-ups and mountain climbers can make my brain feel. Like it just drank a cold, refreshing glass of minty water. If you like this feeling, chase it. It will give you that small bit of motivation you need to get your body moving. Even talking about it makes me want to get up and move my body.
The key is not to disappoint yourself
Don’t set unrealistic goals for yourself saying that you’re going to exercise X number of times a week. Simply exercise when the idea pops in your head. The quickest way to never reaching my exercise goals is to set up an unrealistic set of expectations for myself. I can say all I want that I’m going to go to the gym 2 to 3 times a week. The reality is, I should try for once a week. Leading up to that one time per week, I should set myself up for success by doing the at-home exercises. This will build up the motivation I need to get out of my house and do weights.
From schizophrenia lack of motivation to bodybuilder escape velocity
Have you heard of something called escape velocity? In a nutshell, it is how quickly an object needs to escape the gravitational forces of the Earth. Once escape velocity is reached, the object can reach an infinite distance away. The idea of doing weightless exercises is to get your motivation to the point of escape velocity. In this case, what we’re trying to escape is being stuck with a lack of motivation. With not being able to accomplish your goals.
When you do enough exercises at home, you can reach escape velocity from sitting at home. It will propel you to the gym. Once you’re lifting at the gym, you’ll be more motivated to go again. The more you go, the more discipline will set in. Once discipline sets in, it’s as if you have a Star Trek warp drive. You can travel anywhere in the universe. This is what works for me. I know it will work for you. So, get off that chair, drop and give me 20! Okay, okay, 10 will do. Or even 5. Just get moving!