What if I told you finding your movement mojo had less to do with that elusive magical unicorn of “motivation,” and more to do with you finding the joy?

Um, sounds kinda “airy fairy” Gillian. I know, but walk with me (literally, if possible).

Why joy matters:

Us humans are pleasure seekers. It’s just how we’re wired. There has to be something in it for us to repeatedly do things that are in any way “challenging.” And expending energy through movement – is innately “challenging” on our system (in a good way). So yeah, we need to find the JOY.

But the typical approach in fitness is not about finding the joy, is it?! In fact, “joyful movement” is kind of the opposite of Fitness Culture. The typical approach in fitness is more of a punish yourself with mind-numbing fitness programs or doing workouts that you dread because you feel like we have to (thanks Diet Culture). And that mentality my friends…it’s stealing our joy (and our movement mojo).

Think about it this way – is there anything you’ve really stuck to as a habit that isn’t at some level – enjoyable? Either because it’s innately enjoyable or the outcome is so rewarding that the dangling carrot of that reward is enough? Right.

Now think of a habit you have that happens no matter what – like you don’t even have to think about it to make it happen. Is there JOY there? Is it relatively obvious what’s in it for you? Cool, right?!

So, how can we make movement matter (to us) through the lens of JOY?

If you’re struggling to move (your body or your mood), bring your focus to amping up the JOY in your activities. And notice what shifts. How can you bring the joy to your movement?

Here are 8 ideas to inspire you to bring the joy and get moving!

1. Music

Find a playlist that moves you (literally). Feel free to search me on Spotify too (user: gilliangoerzen). I’ve got playlists for yoga, fitness and running. I’m also currently digging the playlists that Spotify picks for me (and no I’m not being paid for this suggestion). I love that Spotify notices what I listen to and makes suggestions that are usually spot on. This playlist is one such suggestion. Sure, the fact that it “knows” what I like is a bit creepy, but honestly, it serves me. So I’m cool with it. Because this playlist is the bomb. I dare you to listen to it and NOT want to move your awesome body and feel a smile creep onto your race. It’s called “Feelin’ Good” and includes hits from the Jackson 5, The Supremes and Stevie Wonder. Fun fact: I loved Motown growing up. And it still makes me smile to this day. Enjoy!

2. Move together, but apart.

Find a buddy and get moving – together. This can look a lot of different ways. Here are a few ideas:

  • Set a “walking date” with a friend and walk and talk (on the phone). I have one client who does this regularly with sisters who live at a distance. They even take pictures along the way and text them so they can share what they’re seeing! Almost as good as walking together!
  • Have a zoom workout date! I have a few members in the StudioCrew who do this. They both hit “play” on the same workout and can chat/ visit while they workout. BONUS: you have accountability as well as the joy of camaraderie!
  • Share a new walking or running route with a friend. Do it at different times, but share the experience.

3. Challenge yo-self. 

Have a friendly challenge with friends or family members to move. This might be a daily steps or a weekly movement minutes goal. Just don’t get too attached to the “quota.” This binary thinking can lead to being hyper-critical of yourself if you don’t hit your number and is then counter-productive to the joy. Keep it simple and make sure you keep JOY at the forefront!

4. Inspire your ears.

Listen to an audiobook while you move! I really enjoy listening to a great podcast or audiobook while I walk. Especially a good non-fiction especially memoir style self-development. I love hearing people’s stories and how they inspire deeper introspection and thought. Other people love fiction while they exercise – because it inspires them to keep moving as they want to know more. Whatever you “can’t put down” – listen to that. And set a guideline that you can’t listen to it unless you’re moving. Set that specific book aside for only your activity time. I know…tricky!

5. Wear bright colours.

Specifically, wear orange. What? According to the science… orange increases oxygen supply to the brain, produces an energizing effect, and stimulates brain activity. Yup, I’d say that’s advantageous when you want to be energized and focused to move! Want to know more about colours and their effects your psychology? Check out this blog from one of my faves Vanessa Van Edwards.

6. Find NEW spaces that inspire you. 

Walk or run in a new to you neighbourhood. Do the stairs at a different location. A change of scenery can go a long way to inspiring your brain. And finding your mojo is 100% about inspiring your brain! If you workout inside your home this environmental shake up can extend to the space you workout in. How can you make it more JOYFUL? If you sweat it out in a basement or garage how can you make the space more inspiring and joyful – to you?!

7. Do it LIVE! 

Do a livestream fitness class and sync your movements. What? This is a real thing. It’s called a “cooperation high” and it essentially found that when people move together there is increased JOY! There are so many people teaching LIVESTREAM these days, so just find an instructor who is qualified, insured and that is a “fit” for you. If you can try one class before you commit to a package or membership so you can be certain their style is a fit for you. Hey, want to check me out? Try this Simple Strength Circuit FREE on YouTube and see what you think! If you like it, I offer LIVESTREAM options as well as pre-recorded videos you can do on your own time!

8. Go green.

Get outside. I know I’ve talked about this before…but it’s legit. Getting outside in nature amps up the joy factor – big time. There’s research to prove it. One study I read found that moving outdoors has been shown to reduce anger and depression and improve mood (Barton and Pretty, 2010). I’ll take that. Test these findings for yourself!

Whatever you do to inspire you to move, get at it. Because once you’re moving, that too will boost your mood and enhance your resilience.

As this excellent article from Harvard Health put it: “Your mind and body are intimately connected. And while your brain is the master control system for your body’s movement, the way you move can also affect the way you think and feel.”

Find ways to move that are JOYFUL for you and benefit from the physical (and mental) benefits!

Looking for some support? I’ve got you (and options!)

Want to harness that “cooperation high?” Join me for a LIVESTREAM class on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays! Bonus: my witty antics and side-bar stories are kind of epic (or so I’m told). JK. But seriously. Join us. First class is free (so really, you have nothing to lose, and much to gain…aka JOY!).

Looking for a goal to chase down? Awesome! Consider joining me for the Move With Meaning OneRace in support of Haven Society. I’ve donated 100% of my time as a coordinator and coach – so legit ALL proceeds go to Haven. What is OneRace? This is a virtual charity “race” unlike any other – YOU choose the event and distance that works for YOU and I help you get there. It’s not just a virtual race (including swag and a medal), but also a training clinic to help you get there. You’ll receive training plans for swimming, biking, walking, running and multi-sport (triathlon or adventure racing). And as part of your registration you also get access to all the tools you need to be successful! Plus a RAD (virtual) community to cheer you on the whole way. You can learn more here.

Simply looking for virtual community? I’ve got you covered there too! Join me and the OneCrew Coaches (Kate, Danielle and Jessie) in the OneCrew Community. OneCrew includes support from our team of coaches, access to training plans for a variety of activities) plus online resources and more. In the OneCrew our objective is simple: move your awesome body in ways that work for YOU! Yup, in the OneCrew we’re ALL about the JOY. In fact this spring we’re doing a 3-month long Scavenger Hunt ALL about bringing JOY to the journey. Check it out here.