“Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.” – Corrie Ten Boom

Memories bring us excitement, making us laugh or even cry.. They remind us where we have been and what we have done. It can tell us we are capable of more, that we enjoy the struggle, and most of all that we have enjoyed the taste of victory. Memories help us to forget the non-essentials in our midst. Why focus with dread on the new exercise Dr. John wants you to do? What if you could get to class with anticipation instead of stress and anxiety? There is actually a very simple way to do this and it has to do with your memories.

A 2014 study showed that memories can motivate us. In this study, college students completed surveys and assessments about exercise-related attitudes, motivation, and self-reported behaviors based on their experiences at college. In the same study, college students who could describe a positive memory were more motivated to exercise, but also exercised more often within the next week. Those that had negative memories did not exercise as often.

This study linked positive exercise memories with exercise enjoyment. When Michael Phelps won the 200-m IM and was crying on the block, it made me think:

Do positive exercise memories of other people increase exercise enjoyment?

Keeping a picture with a signed autograph from  Michael Phelps in the gym so swimmers can see before a race is another positive motivator, because you will remember how you felt watching him kill it in the butterfly.. It is still a positive memory, it just happened while sitting. I think we can all agree that watching the Olympics makes us want to get up and exercise! How many of you bought Speedos this week after not swimming for years…I’m sure all of Dr. John’s friends who are former swimmers are getting their suits out!
So this week try this idea out. Use your good memories to motivate your exercise. Keep a picture of yourself when you were on the soccer team, or keeping a 5k medal in your gym bag. putting songs in your exercise playlist that remind you of a specific time you danced your heart out, put a picture of you swimming your first race in your gym locker. Maybe you did the Ironman in Hawaii? Keep a seashell or a keychain in your bag. Or wear the shirt you got when you did the race. Whatever it is, push those negative memories out and reopen those good chapters in your life so you can get the results you want.