Training animals is like having a bank account. Except for money, we are saving up trust with the animal. Keep a fair amount of trust in your account, and the relationship stays stable. Too little trust, and you go bankrupt.
A Trust Account
Every time a trainer has a good session, doing things the animals like, they deposit a little more trust in their account. So, when you scratch your cat behind the ear and they purr, you put more trust in the bank. When you give a dog a treat for sitting, more trust is deposited.
The more trust you accumulate in the bank, the better your relationship. A better relationship means the animal is more willing to work for you.
Every time an animal has a negative experience with us, trust is withdrawn. When we take our pets to the vet, or clip their nails a little too short, we lose a bit of trust with the animal. Lose too much trust, and animals won’t do anything, no matter how simple it may be. There is no trust there. Going bankrupt makes it incredibly difficult to rebuild trust again.
A Motivation Account
In fitness, we aren’t keeping a bank account with money, or with trust. It’s all about motivation. Every time we experience an exhilarating workout, a delicious and nutritious meal, or a positive incentive for completing a new healthy habit, we put a little more motivation in the bank. Maintaining motivation in the bank means we keep progressing forward, creating new habits, continuing our workout routine, developing healthy meal plans.
But what happens when our motivation falters? We make a withdraw. When you don’t feel like working out, look at your track record. The longer your streak, the harder it is to give it up. If you have worked out 20 minutes five times a week for over a month, do you want to quit that winning streak? I may just be speaking for myself, but I would find it really difficult to let that go. To me, it’s more difficult to lose that streak than to skip the workout.
Building Your Account
You deposit motivation in your account each time you have a pleasant and enjoyable experience in your fitness. In order to maximize your wealth, so to speak, you have to invest. Invest in tons of activities, and find what works for you. Try different eating plans- vegetarian, Paleo, Keto, Mediterranean. Experiment with different exercises and workouts. Go to a new gym and see if there are classes you enjoy, or if the hours mesh well with your schedule. Discover a new passion- kayaking, hiking, roller blading, yoga. Find something that moves you- a park, a type of tea, a cookbook with exciting recipes.
I’m currently finishing up a book which will help others find habits, eating lifestyles, workouts, and conservation actions which work well for them. My hope with The ZooFit Safari Guide is to empower readers to create their own Motivation Bank Accounts, and find what sustains them. After the five weeks, ZooFitters are encouraged to try out their habits for a longer stretch and see what kind of difference they can make in their health and well-being, as well as the planet.
What activities can you do to increase your motivation account? Let me know in the comments, and remember to always Train Positive!