One of the most common questions I am asked on socials is;
“How do I keep myself motivated to exercise & eat well?”
Especially in this current time, post-Christmas, the house is still full of goodies lying about plus the news of Lockdown 3.0 for many of us our motivation is currently rock bottom.
People often set themselves goals as a means of motivation, which is great & I do so with all my clients.
But often it can be an end goal with a reward at the end such as;
“When I hit X kilos of weight loss I will treat myself to a Dominos.”
Having this goal set up with a definite finish line & reward at the end can motivate you but it is certainly not the best way to motivate yourself. Having this finish line in sight will make you focus on hitting the end goal as opposed to focusing on the journey of getting there & appreciating the hard work that will need to go into the process. If you end up not achieving the goal in the end then this can make you feel completely unworthy & like you failed.
Using end goals & rewards you are focusing on the short term results & changes as opposed to changing your outlook & perceptions of fitness & health. Rather than focusing on hitting a goal & rewarding yourself first of all you want to focus on your mindset.
Say to yourself daily, I am an active person. As opposed to saying this year I am going to go to the gym, I am going to get fit, just tell yourself that you are already that person. Immediately that will help you to believe in yourself that actually yes, you can do this. Daily affirmations will help you to no-end in all aspects of your life.
Setting yourself a routine within this mindset is the first place to start. Anyone who thinks they will just start a new exercise routine & be immediately motivated every single day is being completely delusional. Even for those of us who are experienced training individuals, motivation is not just sat there in abundance every day, we make our training & fitness part of our lifestyle & these sessions then turn into habits. Over time these habits then motivate us to work harder & harder in each session to achieve the changes we want, but we never focus on a set end goal always focusing on progressing.
Often goals can be very short term focused which is all well & good to start with. At the start having that goal to achieve within 8 or 10 weeks will keep you motivated, you are wanting to reach that reward at the end so you focus on doing everything you can to achieve that. But like I said at the start then you forget the process & don’t actually enjoy the journey.
If you set that end goal it can actually become very demotivating for many as you realise that actually, that end goal is pretty far away & you may not hit it in the timeframe you set yourself. You’ll end up feeling like you’ve been short-changed & are constantly working towards a never-ending goal.
As you go through your journey, progress & grow your goal will constantly change alongside your body. Goals can be used & are a fantastic way to set progress markers but we should focus on using them to get us towards the next stage of our journey as opposed to an end goal or specific reward. This will help to keep you focused on your current stage of training & also help you to stay present without constantly trying to jump forward & hit that goal whilst you totally forget about actually enjoying the journey & appreciating the hard work it took to get there.
Rather than focusing on your end goal, focus on your process goals & always progressing. You’re never going to be perfect but you can always progress & become better. Setting yourself process goals can help to give you motivation as you know you are working towards a particular improvement, then when you achieve that you work towards the next process goal & so on constantly focusing on improvement.
You need to focus on shifting your mindset away from the constant thought of achieving the end goal & hitting a specific milestone. We’ve been influenced by the modern fitness industry to think we must all do this when in fact it is unnecessary and in the long run, can actually do more harm than good for your motivation.
Move your mindset & values to more positive ones that encourage you to focus on improving your fitness as you go, recognising your wins along the journey & enjoying the process on the way. This self-recognition & positivity will go a hell of a lot further than just aiming to hit X many kilos down on the scales & if you want to make fitness part of your lifestyle & be motivated to train then you need this positive mindset.
Focus on telling yourself you are that active person. Trust me if you say it it is a lot easier to believe it. Then focus on doing things you enjoy to get started & get you active, whether that’s walking the dogs, doing HIIT, yoga or riding. Set yourself a schedule & be realistic with how much you can fit in, start easy as long term it will be far more sustainable. Focus on the task at the time & enjoy the wins of each session, always look for the positives in every session & recognise that you are working hard in order to achieve your ambitions. In time this alone will be enough to motivate you & make you realise that motivation is not a physical thing, it is part of a positive mindset but it can take you a long way!
In these current times, I think we can all apply this thinking to all aspects of our life.