5 Ways to Get All the Motivation You’ll Ever Need (for Exercise and for Study Life)

1 month ago Dustin Kim Comments Off on 5 Ways to Get All the Motivation You’ll Ever Need (for Exercise and for Study Life)

Why should I stop watching Law & Order today and get off my cozy couch?  Maybe we don’t care that much about being fit and between work, school, socializing, and family life, there isn’t enough time anyway.  But I’ll let you in on a personal thought.

My reason to exercise is not to get fit.  In fact, I don’t exercise primarily for any physical benefit at all. Those are merely pluses. I exercise to think better and feel better emotionally.


2) Realize that all your decisions, actions, and interactions rest upon your ability to think. Your ability to think is greatly improved by exercise in intricate ways. This affects your opportunities, your work, your relationships, and almost everything about your experiences.

Every action is based upon thought. To change our actions, we must change our thoughts by taking care of our mind.

“…I give more time to exercise of the body than of the mind, believing it wholesome to both.”

– Thomas Jefferson

A) For mental clarity and to think more efficiently.  To be more focused, increase learning, and make better decisions.

If you do not play on a school sports team, than the field for collaboration may be a work project or college presentation.  I was stressed when I was writing my first grant. I could not think clearly at all after hours of attempted concentration. Sound familiar?

The solution: Run Away!

But then come back.

I returned refreshed with blood flowing instead of pooling.  Mix in the raised endorphins and neurotransmitters, and I was back on my writing streak.

Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” – John F. Kennedy

Understanding the drastic effects exercise has on our minds gives us motivation because we can do what we have to do and want to do better, more efficiently, and with a better attitude.

University of British Columbia analyzed a multitude of neuroscience studies and found that exercise improved human cognition, neuronal proliferation, neuroprotection, and neurogenesis (2).

With age, the hippocampus in our brain shrinks and neurons deteriorate, but exercise actually reverses this, and even further increases learning and memory capability (4, 5).

Are you a student? Those who exercise perform better on tests than their peers.  Want to learn faster and retain more information?  Exercise vigorously for 20 to 30 minutes minutes and then study.

With these benefits of the mind, how can we not make time for exercise?  It gives us the basis to be more efficient and creative in all of our pursuits.

B)  To be more emotionally resilient, available, and stable for myself and for others.

If the body be feeble, the mind will not be strong

Exercise and application produce order in our affairs, health of body, cheerfulness of mind, and these make us precious to our friends

– Thomas Jefferson

Want to have less stress? Be able to repel negativity during the day? Deflect depression?

Regular exercise has an incredible antidepressant and mood strengthening effect through the increase of endorphins and various neurotransmitters affecting mood and motivation.  Worrying about the past keeps me out of the present, so I exercise to be more fully present when I’m with family and friends.

You may have heard that exercise can prevent diabetes or even cancer. While that is true, for some that may be a vague, far-away notion. But exercise can also help the present. Exercise reduces cortisol, a stress hormone, and therefore will allow us to think and act less inhibited by our worries.

Less stress and less worry effects our capacity to make decisions, be more emotionally available and aware to our partner or friend, allowing us to communicate better and see things clearer.

The body and the mind are inextricably connected. In short, I exercise for the internal benefit of being the best me, and also being the best me for others. I do it for an efficient, sound mind.  What would be some internal reasons for you?

It can help you be more emotionally resilient for whatever life throws at you. Exercise won’t solve your problems, but it can help you solve them.

C) The ripple effect & thresholds (aka the butterfly effect)

Physical health is directly connected to mental wellbeing, which effects our self-esteem, mental clarity, and motivation (4). Combined, what if exercise gave you just that little extra edge to be a bit sharper or have more self-confidence? What if this reached a threshold for making a small action that made an impact on your life or even a potentially life-changing event? Here’s just a personal example.

I walked right out without even asking for her number…

” what if she liked me?”, I thought.  I was very shy about this kind of thing.

I had so much self-doubt.  But something inside started to doubt that self-doubt. I was still afraid, but I stopped walking away. I was reaching the threshold in my mind.

That something inside of me barely matched the fear of rejection.  I had reached the threshold that started the impetus of me walking back in the room and taking a leap of faith: “hey…I meant to ask.. what was your number?”


She shortly became my girlfriend from high school into college, being my longest relationship up until that time.

And to think, I almost missed out.  How is this related to exercise? Well, I was on a competitive team swimming several miles per day.  After being on the team, I felt a little better than I normally would and had a bit more self-confidence.  The little bit was just what I needed. I was performing as a better me in other areas of my life.

What if that little extra bump gave you the confidence to do something you wouldn’t have otherwise?

Maybe apply for that job you don’t think you’d get? Go for that kiss you’ve been hoping to happen? Or do something small that starts the avalanche for your next adventure in life?

Don’t underestimate the power of small things. A little exercise could go a long way in helping you physically, emotionally, relationally, academically, creatively, and in so many other ways.

When it comes to making important decisions,  I’ve learned: don’t stress. Run.

Once we realize the extent of exercise’s effects on our mind and our experiences, motivation comes.  Whatever we do, exercise can only help us mentally and emotionally do things better. We are not just exercising to get in shape–it directly affects the quality of our life through it’s effects on our mind.   Once we incorporate and connect this thought, the meaning of exercise for us starts to create internal motivation for bettering our life in so many ways.