First off, to be clear, I believe there is a big difference between motivation and inspiration. I explored that in this blog post here.
Great music inspires me. It changes the way I feel. It makes me want to move. It’s part of why I loved being a DJ in college so much (that is me in the yellow shirt).
Let’s get to the three weird ways I use music to inspire me.
1. If we listen to the same song over and over again (I used to be guilty of this when I’d find a new song I loved) it starts to lose its effect on us. Now when I discover a new song I love, I don’t listen to it over and over again, as much as I might want to.
INSTEAD, I only allow myself to listen to it while I’m exercising. There have been many times I’ve exercised just so I can listen to music.
2. Varying the volume of your music. I’ve been blasting music for a long time now. And with the advent of iPods, people are blasting music practically 24/7. But just like yelling at kids non-stop eventually loses its impact – so does loud music.
That is why I’ll constantly vary the volume when I’m exercising. Hard set coming up? Pump up the volume! Taking a break? Turn it down. Big hill to run? Pump it up! Going down hill? Lower it. Feeling tired at first? Pump up the volume!
3. Using music to change the way I feel.
Most people act BECAUSE of the way they feel. Feeling tired? Usually, when we’re feeling tired, we lounge around. Really what we’re doing is perpetuating that feeling. What most people don’t realize is that we feel because of the way we act.
If we act energized, we’ll feel that way too. It’s amazing what jogging in place, or doing jumping jacks can do for us when we’re feeling tired. It physiologically changes the way we feel.
Whenever I find myself on the couch wanting to exercise but lacking the energy — I’ll turn on my stereo until I find a song that does it for me. Sure, sometimes, it takes a little while to find the one, but there is always a song. The music we’re looking for is music that inspires us. Music that makes us want to move. Music that makes us feel good. Music that compels us to get off the couch!
I always find it funny when I’m in a restaurant that’s playing loud, energizing music. Why? Because the last thing I want to do when I’m feeling good is stuff my face with food. I want to move when I hear good music, not eat. In fact, there have been times when I’ve walked into an unhealthy eatery feeling tired and lethargic ready to eat poorly, and loud music was playing – ya know the, ooontz, ooonnntzzz type – and it changed my mood immediately.
Why not use music to change the way you feel as opposed to food? Music helps me to think rationally and long term, and it’s helped me many times to fight through cravings and urges.
No matter your age, we all have music that inspires us. I bought my mom an iPod a little while back and we downloaded a ton of oldies but goodies for her. She said her exercise was taken to a whole new level.
If you’re not a fan of today’s music, why not go back to the music you loved when you were a teenager? Just like smells can bring us right back to a moment, so can music.