Finding Your Motivation

By July 25, 2018Blog
Finding motivation to exercise can be hard at times. When its cold and wet your motivation levels can dip more than the temperature in the middle of winter.
 
You may have experienced it before.  You start a new exercise program.  You’re excited.  You’re going every day for the first couple of weeks, but then you get bored.  The novelty wears off and the training becomes monotonous.  It doesn’t seem as fun as it was to begin with.  You miss a session, then another, maybe even a few days or a week.  Then you stop going altogether.
 
If this has happened in the past, you may feel frustrated or discouraged. Don’t be.
 
We all have bursts of motivation, generally followed by periods of wavering enthusiasm.
Having strategies to maintain your motivation levels long-term is important.
 
It is not always easy, but here are some tips to help you build your motivation.

Find Your Why

One of the most important factors for maintaining motivation is being clear on your why.  Why are you doing what you do?
 
A strong desire for a dream or goal can motivate you into taking action towards achieving it.
 
Intrinsic motivators tend to be more powerful than extrinsic ones.  Learn to identify your own personal desires.  Tap into what inspires you and use this to motivate you through the tough times.  Remind yourself of what these are when your motivation starts to wane.

Set A Goal

Having a short-term achievable goal can also be a great motivator to keep you on track when things are going tough.  The goal can be anything you like. Lose 2 kilos, string 20 double unders together, train more than 3 times a week.  Doesn’t matter what it is as long as it fits within your lifestyle.  It should also be achievable and have measurable parameters.
 
Be as specific as possible and set a time frame. Write it down somewhere, or tell others about it.  This helps keep you accountable, on track and motivated towards achieving that goal.
 
Long-term goals are good too.  Break them down into shorter, more achievable goals to help keep motivation levels high while working towards that long-term goal.

Harness the Power of Others

Humans are social creatures, it’s in our nature to want to be with and around other people.  The sense of belonging or being part of something can provide us with a strong source of motivation.
 
Joining a gym, sporting team or community can be a great source of external motivation.  At CrossFit Bayswater (shameless plug), we are not just a gym but a community of like-minded individuals.  This awesome community helps to keep our members motivated.
 
The key is finding somewhere that feels right for you.  You want it to be enjoyable.
 
To get the most from a community, become active within it.  Don’t stand in the corner and work out alone.  Join in the banter, have a laugh and use the energy to motivate you.

Fun and Variety

As well as being social creatures, humans are also playful and like to have fun.  Even while we’re working out.
 
Adding variety to your training helps keep things interesting.  It makes exercise more enjoyable and easier to stick to.  Workout variety challenges your body and can introduce you to muscle groups you didn’t know you had.
 
Try out new things.  Attend a yoga session, go rock climbing, throw in a trail run or mountain bike session.  Exercise doesn’t have to be something you hate.  Find something that you love and have fun with it.

Get Some Help

Find a friend with the same interests or passions that you have.  Join a gym together, schedule a workout together, go try something new together.  Hitting the snooze button and rolling over is easy if it’s just you, but a lot harder if you know someone is waiting on you.
 
The right training partner can be a great motivator.  You have someone to share the fails, successes and all the ups and downs that go along with training.  It’s much easier to push through a painful session with a friend by your side than it is going it alone.
 
Make sure it’s the right person though. The wrong person could have the opposite effect on your motivation levels.  You could end up being a counselor for your friend rather than a training buddy.  No one wants that.

Change Your Perspective

Instead of looking at exercise as a chore, look at it as a privilege.  If you are telling yourself you “have” to go to training, this can often take the fun out of it.
 
Think about the reasons why you want to be there. The sessions are fun, I get to hang out with my friends at the gym, I always feel better after going.
 
Relate these reasons back to your goals. Shift your thinking from couch potato mentality to thinking like an athlete.  Always look at the positives rather than the negatives.

Schedule a Regular Workout Time

The most committed people generally have a regular workout schedule.  Whether it is before the sun comes up or late at night when the kids are in bed.  Find what works for you and make it part of your routine.
 
If it’s in the morning, try to have your stuff ready to go as soon as you wake up.  Pack your bag the night before.  If it’s after work, try to fit it in on the way home.  Motivating yourself to get off the couch after a long day is a lot harder than going straight to the gym on the way home.  Whatever works with your schedule, try to make it part of your regular routine.

Find a role model

Find someone you look up to.  This may be someone at your gym, one of your friends or even someone that you follow on social media.  Having someone to look up to who possesses qualities you are aiming towards can help keep you stay motivated towards your goals.
 
Be careful not to let this become a negative and make you feel worse about yourself.  Use others as motivation.  Don’t compare yourself to them.  Everyone is at different stages on their journey.  We all have different genetics, body types, strengths, and weaknesses.
 
Social media can be motivating but is not always a true reflection of someone. People only show what they want you to see so you shouldn’t read too much into it.

Be flexible

Rest or adjust your training when you feel the need for it.  Nobody operates at 100% all the time.  If you need a break, take it.
Recognise that you are on a journey.  Recognise when you’re tired or stressed and adjust your training to accommodate your mood and interruptions of daily life.  
Sometimes it is okay to do less rather than more. Burning yourself out is one of the easiest ways to sap your motivation.

Recover

Make sure to recover properly after your workouts.  Eat well, sleep well and manage your stress levels as best you can.  Feeling tired and beat up from one day to the next will not help your motivation levels. Be mindful of how you are feeling and look after any niggles before they become injuries.

At the end of the day don’t be too hard on yourself. If you miss a session, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself and have a beer or burger every now and then if you want to.

 

 

 

 

 

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