Motivation is so important when it comes to success, and it’s often the hardest thing to find. If you want to lose body fat, hit that personal best, or obtain those muscles you want, motivation is key. So the best thing you can do is find something that motivates you, find something that’s going to keep you on track, find that thing that’ll keep you going when things get tough. Because unfortunately, there will be times when things get tough. There are times when I don’t feel like working out, I feel tired, or I’d rather be distracted by something else, and that’s when my self-motivation needs to kick in.
And if I had one piece of advice to give when it comes to motivation, I’d say make it something that comes from within you. External motivations are great, but they can change, they can be affected by things out of your control. And having control is important. If your motivation comes from a partner or a training partner, that’s great, for a while. What happens when they pack it in, what happens if they become unreliable, what happens when their progress is better than yours? Your motivation may be affected, by something you can’t control. If your motivation comes from the Instagram model you follow, or your friend’s body transformation, or that magazine article, that’s great, for a while. I’ve spoken before about how these inspirations can quickly become a negative influence on you, how they can act as a comparison for your progress, rather than motivation. Again, not really something you can control.
So try to keep your motivation internal, find something that you can rely on when you need it. There are whole variety of tactics you can use, like visualising what you want, constantly keeping that image in your head, telling yourself you need to do X, Y and Z to achieve it. Or set yourself small manageable goals. Often there’s nothing more motivating than knowing you’re making progress, no matter how small it is. It all adds up. Maybe it’s a trigger phrase that you say to yourself, something you know will give you that kick up the bum, that reminder of what you’re trying to do. Maybe it’s finding a workout you love, something that will encourage you to keep going, especially during the times when you’re feeling meh. Maybe it running, maybe it’s weight training, maybe it’s circuit training, maybe it’s Zumba! Who cares, whatever works for you. But I would also suggest that you be flexible rather than rigid. Give yourself wiggle room, try not to set definite timings, try not to set extreme goals, because there is nothing more demoralising than failing to stick to some strict rule you’ve set yourself. The old classic is people HAVING to work out on a Monday, or the week is ruined. Not every Monday is going to be great for you, don’t let it ruin everything else.
Personally, I have a few coping mechanisms. I have certain things I enjoy more, so when I’m not feeling up to it, I can do them instead, postpone what I was “supposed” to do until later on in the week when I’m feeling better. Or build in that buffer, so I can postpone something and still fit it in somewhere down the line. Sometimes I’ll even barter with myself, ‘Get this done, and you can treat yourself to whatever.’ We all struggle with motivation at times, sometimes even your motivation tactics won’t work, but you’ve just got to draw a line under it, and get back on the horse. Remember every day is a new opportunity, and if yesterday was crap, it doesn’t matter, it’s in the past now. Press that big old reset button, and go again. When you find the motivation that works for you, it’ll work most of the time, and when it doesn’t, a little stumble isn’t the end of the world. So long as you pick yourself up, and keep heading in the right direction again.
Set yourself reasonable goals, markers along the way, find the motivation that works for you, ignore the speedbumps, and focus on the endgame. Good luck, and I’ll see you next week.
Body Fuel Personal Fitness Trainer