Motivation is the key; its the deciding factor in whether or not you’re going to make it out the door at 6 in the morning when it’s still dark and bitterly cold outside, whether you make it to the gym in the evening after a long day at work or find the strength to keep going when you hit the proverbial ‘wall’; its the only thing that’s going to help you face the music, get up, put your feet on the ground and keep moving when everything in you wants to give up.
Motivation. Lets talk about motivation for a moment. What does it mean to you? Are you motivated? How can you improve your motivation?
I’ve come up with a few ideas about how to help keep myself motivated recently, some have worked, others haven’t, but I’m hoping that one, if not more of these, might apply to you. Or if not, at least it will give you something to think about and hopefully spur you on to find your own motivation. One piece of advice I can give you – Don’t Give Up, no matter how hard that road you’re on seems, don’t give up, because the pain you’re going through now and the battle you’re fighting in your mind will all be worth it in the end.
The race is long, and in the end it’s only with yourself.
Motivational Strategy #1 – Set Goals and then Break Them Down
One thing I’ve noticed a lot of us get wrong is not that we don’t set goals, but that we set unrealistic goals or unrealistic time frames. Not only that, but we set such enormous goals that we forget to focus on the immediate future and then become impatient and are disappointed with the length of time it takes to see improvement.
Take the time to break your goals down into smaller segments which are achievable in the short term; each time you reach one of these smaller goals you will feel a sense of achievement and it will encourage you to keep going. Reward yourself every time you reach one of these smaller goals!
Don’t be too hard on yourself – nobody is perfect, the only thing you can do is turn up and do your best; because at the end of the day if you turn up, you’re already half way there!
Motivational Strategy #2 – Have Fun
Don’t take yourself too seriously! Whatever you love doing, whatever you enjoy most in life be it music or friends or setting yourself challenges, use it to your advantage by integrating it into a part of your training. Train with someone you can have a laugh with (and learn to laugh at yourself). Listen to music if it helps you or train in the park if you prefer to be outdoors.
Maybe even take on some extra activities, try something new that you think looks like fun like a team sport or ice skating, horse riding, tennis or swimming – it will help break up your usual training and make it feel less monotonous, and you will still be getting active and doing something good for yourself.
Motivational Strategy #3 – Go It Alone
Sometimes training can give you some much needed alone time if work and home life is a bit hectic and you just need some breathing space. It’s the one thing I love about running, there’s just me and the road, I don’t have anyone to answer to and I don’t have to worry about what anyone else is doing.
Take a time-out from the stresses of life, turn your phone off, leave it at home and just get out there and do something that gets the blood pumping. It doesn’t matter if you’re the kind of person that wants to go take your frustrations out on a punching bag, or chill out in a gentle yoga session. Find something to restore the calm in your life and give yourself time alone.
Motivational Strategy #4 – Get Social
If you get enough alone time already, find a gym buddy or join a club; when you have other people counting on you to be somewhere at a certain time, you’re less likely to skip it. There are more and more amazing fitness groups, running clubs, healthy social clubs and activities opening up all over the place these days that you would be hard pressed NOT to be able to find one near you!
Motivational Strategy #5 – Change the Way You Think
Easier said than done, I know. Think of it this way; if you change your attitude towards fitness, you will change your actions! This is about making a lifestyle change, and that takes time; exercise should never be a chore – yes, it’s going to be damn hard some days, but if you keep reminding yourself of all the reasons why you started this in the first place and of all the goals you have yet to reach, slowly you will begin to change the way you see things.
Whatever mental triggers work for you, use them. If you need to have post-it notes and pictures on every wall in your house with motivational cues then do that! If you need reminders set on your phone, then set them. Go out and learn, take in as much information as you can about the things that interest you and then use the information to your advantage. Surround yourself with positive people and positive thoughts and remember, you’ve already started, you took the first step; hell, you may have taken several steps, hundreds even. So why stop now? Don’t ever give up; remember, it will be worth it in the end.