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Published:March 31st, 2014 19:00 EST
The Power of Positive Memories to Influence the Motivation to Workout

The Power of Positive Memories to Influence the Motivation to Workout

By Ron G Anselm

The second part of the challenge of work life balance and how to obtain it by working out from my first article titled, One of the Most Stressful Things... Managing Work/Life Balance the first part of this workout article series is how to get motivated to workout. For a lot of people this is the hardest step, the motivation to work out when you are tired, unhappy, stressed or just not in the mood to exercise after dealing with those daily life challenges.

I know I have gone through it when I worked many physically demanding jobs. I would come home physically and mentally drained from that day`s work but I always or at least ninety-five percent of the time did workout. Even if it was just for ten or fifteen minutes which was better than not working out at all.

Now more research has found a way to at least turn on the motivation juices and to get you in the mood to work out and that is to think of at least one positive memory you had in the past when you did one of your many past workouts. Sounds kind of neat because this goes hand in hand with how positive thinking and influences can direct your mind in a positive direction.

This is so true in any case not just in finding the motivation to get going on your daily routine of working out and staying motivated but in any situation life throws at you. When I went through one of the most painful times in my own life my divorce, I had to admit I needed counseling. I was always the type of person that helped others in hard times but the hardest time was when I had to admit I was only human and I needed help to get through the pain of losing my wife to divorce. I guess I wasn`t as bullet proof as I thought I was.

There really isn`t much you can do when you go through a painful divorce but suck it up and grin and bear it and then move on but one thing that stuck with me that I was told in one of my counseling sessions over the years after my divorce was to think of the past before I had met her. This made sense because it took me back to how I felt in the time before I met her and then the divorce and motivated me to move on and get past the pain. And it did help because of the positive thinking I learned from doing this.

This is true when you work out. Remembering a positive moment from a time before I met my wife or now ex-wife and in this case to get motivated to workout gets you past the negative thinking. Science is studying how positive memories can influence future workouts and highlights the power of the minds memory directive to influence a new study of practical application in exercise behaviors.

Mathew Biondolillo who is a doctoral student in psychology at UNH, and David Pillemer, Dr. Samuel E. Paul Professor of Developmental Psychology at UNH commented, "This study underscores the power of memory`s directive influence in a new domain with practical applications: exercise behaviors. These results provide the first experimental evidence that autobiographical memory activation can be an effective tool in motivating individuals to adopt healthier lifestyles," (Biondolillo, M.)

I guess that was what my counselor was telling me to use to get past the pain, autobiographical memory activation to remember a past positive moment in my life before I met my wife and yes, folk it did work for me and help.

One recent study on this called on 150 college students to recall either a negative or positive moment in their memory to increase their motivation to work out. Some of the other students were not asked to recall a motivational memory in this study group. After about a week, the researchers again survived this study group and found the ones that remembered a positive exercise moment in the memory significantly had higher levels of working out and exercise than the ones in the group that were not asked to recall a positive memory.

The researchers of the group added further diagnosis on this by saying, "Without explicit direction or encouragement, our sample of college students, amidst the innumerable distractions afforded by life at a large, public university, increased their reported exercise activities from their habitual levels." (

Let`s face it, most of us live busy and tiring lives. It`s very easy to become complacent in just the same ho hum of coming home, sitting in your favorite lounge chair and becoming a lazy home junkie. Why? Life`s way too short to not have fun by working out, and reaping the benefits exercise brings us both physically and mentally and the tools it provide to be able to deal with work and stress.

Why not sit down, close your eyes and remember one positive moment or moments from some of your past workout sessions and get motivated. Then hop on that treadmill that has been sitting in the corner of your basement growing dust and jump on it like you jumped on your first date after prom night in High School and exercise!


University of New Hampshire. "Positive memories of exercise spur future workouts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 March 2014 ( Retrieved 2014.

Getting ready to play any game in sports takes motivation. Before every game I had thousands of butterflies in my stomach. Those butterflies leave after a few innings of baseball or into the first quarter in football but I also tried to use positive thinking to play like a champ.  Most athletes have a regiment before every game to get them going and to motivate them. In professional baseball to be able to hit a fast ball coming at you at over one-hundred miles an hour just sixty feet away takes positive thinking and motivation to be able to hit the ball. Baseball is a sport full of so many past moments and fun of the love of the game. Buy your copy of my book titled, Our Grand Ol` National Past Time " A brief History of Major League Baseball " and read about some o those past moments of the game and learn how baseball can be  motivation for anyone not just in sports but in life. You can buy your copy or copies by going to my website at ( or my publisher`s website by going to ( Remember, Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Our Grand Ol` National Past Time.

While you`re at it stay on the SOP`s website after reading this article and check out more of the great articles this website has to offer. The motivation of entertainment is on the SOP`s website, you just have to find it by checking out everything the SOP has to offer.