Why Can’t I Stay Motivated to Exercise?


resting (Photo credit: liber(the poet);)

Good News: You are probably not lazy!

Bad News: You may never find exercising a joy.

A person’s perceived lack of motivation to exercise is actually his/her natural response to his/her need for leisure and rest. Some people naturally need to exercise and find it energizing and fun.  Other people need to relax and lounge around and find exercising exhausting or at best a necessary evil. They can’t wait for exercising to be over.

Dr. Steven Reiss, Ph.D. developed the Reiss Motivation Profile ® which measures 16 human needs/motives that are common in all humans. One of the measures is the need to be physically active. If someone is naturally wired to need physical activity, then s/he is motivated to be active physically and feels frustration if the need is not satisfied to the extent the person feels is needed.

When I work with helping an injured athlete understand his/her valued needs for example with a high RMP score in physical, s/he often reports significant mental distress and frustration at being unable to satisfy his/her need to exercise due to the injury.

Someone needing physical exercise tends to report a feeling of rejuvenation and satisfaction when working out. Someone who needs leisure and rest typically reports exhaustion and fatigue following their self-forced exercise.

A Reiss Motivation Profile ® is an amazingly predictive and illuminating tool to understanding one’s needs and behaviors. For someone with a need for leisure, a greater need than the need to be physically active will be necessary to motivate the person to endure exercise. For example, if a person values tranquility, then s/he is motivated to avoid risk, pain, injury and death. If his/her physician prescribes exercise as a way to avoid the painful effects of diabetes, then the person’s higher need for tranquility will override temporarily their need for leisure and s/he will exercise, albeit reluctantly and probably will be counting the minutes until the exercise is over so s/he can relax again.

A leisurely person may find low impact physical activity more tolerable, such as tai chi, yoga, walking, cycling or other less strenuous forms of exercise.

If you are having trouble finding your motivation to exercise,  is it possible you have a leisure deficit?  When was the last time you felt fully rested and rejuvenated?  If you are motivated to seek leisure and are not well rested, then you will probably not have the energy or motivation to force yourself to exercise because you need to rest first.

Understanding one’s needs is the key to understanding one’s behaviors and predicting future behaviors.  By appealing to the most appropriate need,  a person is able to complete a behavior she might otherwise not find naturally attractive or desirable.

For those interested in learning more about the Reiss Motivation Profile ® I recommend, “Who Am I?” and “The Normal Personality,” both by Dr. Steven Reiss.  Dr. Reiss also blogs regularly for “Psychology Today” and you can read more about common human motivation on The World Society of Motivational Scientists and Professionals site,www.motivationscience.org.

If you want to experience your Reiss Motivation Profile, contact me at andy@lifematchesbook.com.

Get Past the ‘Crunch Point’ – The Key to Changing Behavior

Cover of "Who Am I?: The 16 Basic Desires...

Cover via Amazon


Are you trying to change your natural needs, wants, desires, values and/or motives or simply a learned habit that is not performing well for you?


Changing a habit is much more likely to be successful than changing your need for the 16 common human motives as measured using a Reiss Motivation Profile®. Natural needs/motives/values do not tend to change much as humans age. Habits are often not easily changed, but are more likely replaceable.


You may have developed a habit as a way to easily get one or more of your natural needs satisfied.  If so, it will be very frustrating to change the habits unless you are able to figure out an alternative way to satisfy those same needs.


I follow and read Dr. Denny Coats, Ph.D.’s Tweets daily. I admit to being a big fan of Dr. Coats.  Here is a link to his blog featuring a terrific post on changing habits:


Get Past the ‘Crunch Point’ – The Key to Changing Behavior.


If you would like to discover your natural motives, contact me at andy@lifematchesbook.com to schedule a Reiss Motivation Profile® and personal telephone consultation.  You may also read, “Who Am I?” and “The Normal Personality: A New Way of Thinking About People” by Dr. Steven Reiss, Ph.D..


Doing What You Like Is Being Who You Are!

Who Am I?

Why do you do what you do? Why do we really like doing some things and really hate doing other things while someone else likes and hates doing the exact opposite things?  Are we weird or are they? From our perspective, we usually can’t understand how anyone can love what we hate.  But yet, the evidence constantly proves that people like doing different things.  Are we the only “normal” people on earth?

According to Professor Steven Reiss, PhD., who created the Reiss Motivation Profile (RMP) ®, we are all most likely mentally “normal.”   According to his comprehensive research, we are pursuing our individual mix of 16 primary needs/desires/motivations that are common in all human beings.

I spent a couple of days with Professor Reiss and his wife Maggie, a school psychologist, learning how to help people interpret their RMP ® results and find Reiss’s work fascinating and highly helpful in describing why we tend to like what we like and do what we do.  In general, to be happy and satisfied in life, we pursue our natural heart’s desires.  When we temporarily satisfy our strongest desires, we are content and feel good.  When we are unable to satisfy our desires, we become frustrated and this can lead to challenges in one’s sense of life satisfaction.

Reiss has written two excellent books on our 16 basic motivations. “The Normal Peronality: A New Way of Thinking About People” and “Who am I? The 16 Basic Desires that Motivate Our Actions and Define Our Personalities.”

“The Normal Personality: A New Way of Thinking About People”

As a RMP Master, I can coach  people to help learn about what is most important to their sense of well-being and explore positive ways to pursue and fulfill one’s desires.

If you are interested in completing a Reiss Motivation Profile ® and a personal RPM ® coaching session with me, please send me an e-mail at andy@lifematchesbook.com.

Learning what will be most satisfying to you is an important first step towards living Fired Up!


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