As I sit here, trying to write a blog about motivation and how it works and how to keep it up, I find myself ironically struggling to start. However, I love writing and I love informing people, so I still am sitting here, trying to find the words to start this post. Why do I keep staring at a blank computer screen, trying to make the words flow, when it seems like they just aren’t coming? It’s simple, my motivation to keep writing and keep up with posts and my audience are driving me to keep trying. Motivation is a funny thing, it comes and goes, but it drives every action in our lives. Why do you get out of bed to go to work? You’re motivated to be successful. Why do you spend time picking out a nice outfit and looking presentable every day? You’re motivated to present the best image of yourself to the public. So if you’re so motivated doing these everyday tasks (whether you know that you’re motivated or not), why can’t you stay motivated to work out and stay healthy?
It’s not just you. Almost every person I’ve talked to, client or not (because everyone tells you their fitness goals the second they learn you’re a fitness professional), has goals relating to their health or appearance, and almost every goal is followed by a “but”. “I want to lose weight, but I don’t have the time.” “I want to eat healthy, but it’s so expensive.” “I want to go to the gym, but I have so many other things to do.” All of these “buts” relate to why it is so hard to keep your motivation. The fact is, is that these goals really aren’t important to you. I know you’re sitting there thinking, “yes they are, thats not my issue,” but yes it really is. Yes, fitness and health may be important to you, but whatever excuse you have to not keep up with your goal is more important. So how do we keep this motivation up for our health and fitness goals? We need to find our why. The goals are important, but not nearly as important as the reasons behind the goals. Once you truly get in touch with your why, you will keep up with it. Every time a client tells me a goal, such as wanting to lose 20 lbs, I always ask why. Why is 20lbs the number you chose? What’s so special about 20lbs? Usually, it’s along the lines of remembering how they felt when they were 20lbs lighter, and all of a sudden, its not about the 20lbs. It’s about how they feel. As long as you keep that feeling, that why, in your head, your motivation will stay. A number is unimportant, it’s that emotional response behind the number that matters. I’m not saying that’s easy, or that it’s impossible to lose your focus even with the why, but it definitely helps. I lose my motivation too, and remembering how I feel when I’m in the gym and on my grind, really helps push me to get back to it. Over the years, I’ve learned some tips to stay motivated, here they are:
Tips for Staying Motivated:
1. Find your “why”
2. Set small goals. Instead of a huge goal of 20lbs, break it up into smaller goals, such as 5lbs by X, lose a pant size by X, or even hit the gym 4x a week, run a mile for time, or track your food consistently.
3. Reward yourself for achieving these small goals. Buy yourself a new workout top, try out a new restaurant with friend (within reason), or splurge on a massage, a physical reminder of how far you’ve come can be a huge help in continuing to move forward.
4. Remind yourself how far you’ve come. (Compare progress photos, exercise intensities, how clothes fit, etc)
5. Remind yourself of your why whenever you feel like quitting. Remember why you started.
6. Find something to keep you going. This could be a workout partner who’s counting on you to show up to help with their goals, a personal trainer who you pay to show up, or something as easy as picking a show on Netflix and only watching it when you’re on the treadmill.
7. Make it enjoyable. No one says you have to lift heavy 6 days a week, maybe you like circuits better. No one says you have to jog 5 miles a day, maybe you like shorter duration cardio or a class like Zumba or spin. Fitness isn’t one size fits all. Make it fun and you’re way more likely to continue.
8. Whatever you do, don’t give up.