Whether it’s cleaning the house, doing a workout or prepping your food for the week – do you ever find yourself looking at the to-do list that you wrote with the best of intentions but now it comes to it you just can’t seem to get going? Motivation may seem to be something that some people have by the bucketload, but the truth is that the vast majority of us struggle with it at some time. Over the last year we have constantly battled gym and sports club closures, restrictions on who we can see and when, changes to our working situations and so much more. With the confusion and anguish this has caused, it’s no wonder that so many of us are finding our motivation at an all time low. Our goals and good habits may well have fallen by the wayside and so here I am with some of my top tips for getting yourself going when your motivation has got up and gone…
1) Make it enjoyable – This sounds almost too simple but it’s a really helpful tip! Let’s be honest, it’s much easier to motivate yourself to do something you actually ENJOY, right?! When it comes to exercise, try and choose something that best suits your personality, for example a dance class if you like a good boogie with other people or a bootcamp or personal training session if you prefer a more focused approach. Some people love the gym environment whilst others prefer to exercise outdoors, so it’s worth considering all the different ways you can exercise and making sure you’ve found the best one for you. You could also try listening to music or a podcast whilst you work out, teaming up with a friend you can catch up and have a laugh with or treating yourself to some new workout gear that you literally can’t wait to put on!
2) Get a workout buddy – Closely linked to the above point but definitely worth a mention in its own right. Committing to working out with someone else often means planning in advance for a time you’re both free and therefore helps to avoid the issue of just not finding time. Even if, when the time comes, there are other things you could be doing, you often don’t want to let your workout buddy down and so you get on with it anyway. If you don’t feel you have someone to buddy up with, try booking some personal training sessions which give you the same sense of commitment or attend classes where you may well meet like-minded individuals who are looking for someone to encourage them too.
3) Plan in advance – Even if you’re working out alone, try and plan your week in advance and allocate time for physical activity. Again, this helps to avoid the common excuse of ‘just not having time’, because you’ve set some aside solely to get it done! Write it in your diary just as you would a work meeting or event and be sure to specify exactly what you plan to do e.g. walk, gym class or home workout. Prepare anything you can ahead of time such as laying out your workout gear and a bottle full of water so that sticking to your plan is as easy as possible, with minimal chance of finding excuses.
4) Know your why – Goal setting is a key motivational technique used by coaches in many areas, certainly not just fitness. Having goals helps you to remember WHY you want to do the tasks you’ve set such as working out or making a meal from scratch. Whilst wanting to fit in a certain sized dress is a great goal for many, try and dig deeper and find your emotional motivation. This may be wanting to boost your confidence or feel a sense of pride in yourself or even wanting to improve your fitness to join in with your children or grandchildren’s games. In times where the task at hand seems less than appealing, try and remember your WHY and that these actions are a key step towards achieving your desired goals.
5) Reward yourself – When you want a child to do something or form a habit, you may use a sticker chart or similar system to track how they can earn a reward. This is often highly effective as even when they don’t want to do something, they want the promised reward so much that it provides them with enough motivation to carry on their good habits. The lure of a reward certainly doesn’t cease to be effective when we become adults and so try making a deal with yourself that if you complete your weekly workouts or hit your fruit and veg target or whatever else it is you’re aiming for, you get something you truly desire. This doesn’t have to be an expensive reward and if you have health and fitness goals try not to always make it a food treat. It could be a massage, a soak in the bath, a movie night or whatever else floats your boat – the key thing is it’s something you really want and will smash those tasks to get!
6) Change your language – A lot of the above tips essentially encourage you to change your approach to exercise to a more positive one and changing your language around working out can really help with this. Try saying ‘I get to work out today’ as opposed to ‘I have to work out today’, thereby viewing exercise as a celebration of what your body can do instead of just another task on your to do list. Try categorising exercise with other ‘me time’ or ‘self care’ activities, as it is one of the best investments you can make in your health and wellbeing. Additionally, if motivation is low try to avoid talking to yourself in negative way. We often use words such as ‘failure’ or ‘lazy’ about ourselves, thus making us feel even more battered than we did before. Try moving away from negative statements about yourself and exercising and reframing to positives such as ‘my energy is a little low right now but I will feel much better after working out’ or ‘some exercise will help me to cope with the more stressful tasks on my to do list.’
Whilst the above tips may well help to boost your motivation to get going again with your healthy habits, please remember that sometimes you will miss workouts or grab takeaways because mentally or physically you just don’t feel up to much else and that’s absolutely fine. We are always aiming for a healthy balanced lifestyle and these tips are great if you find that you make a habit of putting off tasks that deep down you really would like to get done. Please let us know if you find any of these tips useful or if there’s anything else that helps to motivate you that we can share in addition to this blog. Until next time, stay well.
Beverley Meakin – Personal Trainer/Exercise Referral Officer and Complementary Therapist. Instagram : @mind_body_spirit_you