Wouldn’t exercise -or indeed LIFE be easy if we had constant and easily accessible motivation? What if we could sprinkle motivation on our oats each morning or drink a bright-coloured-fancy-packaged bottle of it before each workout? We would all be our favourite skinny jeans size and float happily around in ‘Exercise Utopia’ with our Chi or Yin or whatever all balanced and lotus-like. Not a care in the world. No complaints. No whining and no need to have an excuse.
I’m very sorry to burst the Utopian bubble but MOTIVATION is only a fair weather friend. He (0r she?) is around when we are doing well. We THINK he is there whenever we need him. We try to rely on him to get us out of bed and hitting the pavement/gym/surf/yoga mat. Sometimes though, without so much as a ‘farewell letter’ left on the hall table, he is gone. WHAT TO DO NOW??
The question is , HOW DO WE TRAIN WITHOUT MOTIVATION? Here are some tips.
MAKE DISCIPINE YOUR FRIEND INSTEAD
Where motivation is fleeting and unreliable, DISCIPLINE IS UNYIELDING. We generally don’t use motivation to wash our hair, brush our teeth, do the cleaning or do the vacuuming (can you tell I’m no Martha Stewart?) . We just do it. It is part of our routine and we accept that it just has to be done. Extend this mindset to your exercise routine. Rather than giving yourself time to wait around for motivation to visit, MAKE discipline run the show instead. He waits for no one and excuses don’t cut it. Take action instead of waiting for motivation. If you don’t think you’re disciplined , there are some strategies you can employ to help you.
Meet a friend at the same time each week for a workout. You get to exercise, solve the first world problems in your life and also feel like you’ve done something for YOU for once (can you tell I’m a mother of 4 and a dog?). Whether it’s hiking, walking on the beach ,meeting for Zumba or hot yoga, it should be something you enjoy.
Join a sports team. You will need your mate discipline to show up for practice and games.
Set a goal with your work mates. Whether it’s a stair climb challenge, charity run or stadium stomp, you’ll need to report to the boss for attendance.
Buy a dog! Yep! Archie would be most upset if I didn’t give him plenty of walks. If you and discipline are still getting to know each other our four legged friends NEED you to get up and move. What’s more, you’ll be loved for it- really and there’ll be no mention of ‘Are we there yet?’and ‘how much FUUUURTHER?, my feet are tired….'(can you tell we’re on school holidays ?)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. CONSISTENCY IS KEY! Set the alarm, put it in the calendar, prepare the bag/active wear/playlist/headphones….repeat. My most successful clients have been those who come to train consistently. Whether they’ve got a work deadline coming up, whether they’ve got a toddler and are living on 3hours broken ‘sleep’ or whether they are unwell and carry my hand sanitiser around, they are CONISISTENT. Doing any workout is better than none. Even if you modify around your situation, you are doing SOMETHING and that something counts. Whether you feel like it or not, if your workout is scheduled in , half the battle is fought and your mindset is in the right mode to continue through to completing the task. Sometimes that’s exactly what your workout session needs to be- especially if motivation has gone AWOL- a task to get done (a bit like the vacuuming, it might suck while you’re doing it but you’ll feel great after!)
Instead of hoping (and or praying) for motivation and asking yourself ‘Do I feel like working out today?’, you should remind yourself of ‘WHY am I exercising?’ . Often if our end goal is far away or perhaps feeling unobtainable on some days, we forget to focus on why we’re up at 5am pounding the pavement or covering blisters from a trail hike or following the black line at the bottom of the pool in the middle of winter. When done in a balanced, mindful way, exercise becomes a positive feedback loop for one simple reason -it makes you feel good! Perhaps if your end point seems too far into the distance you can remind yourself of the beneficial feelings you have after a great workout. With faster felt effects than dietary change, exercise gives you that ‘endorphin enriched’ high straight away. Bonus! If that’s not a great ‘WHY’ I don’t know what is!
Perhaps some visible cues might help you to remember the ‘why’? A ‘before photo’ of yourself on the fridge, a picture of you playing with the children next to the alarm, a photo of your fave celeb (hey I’ve grown out of this one but for the younger folk reading this, they might still want to believe)? I have a pair of black leather jeans I bought when I was about 22 I want to fit in to (and have JUST got back into …another day….another post). You might have a piece of clothing you want to get back into.
Remind yourself of the ‘why’ .
I don’t want to get puffed after a flight of stairs.
I want to be able to run around with the children.
I don’t want to become diabetic.
I don’t want to shop in the size 18-XXXXL section any more.
I don’t want my belt to sit around my knee caps at the front.
I don’t want to have a heart attack.
We are ALL busy, we all have different life situations, different capabilities and different reasons to workout. Hang on to your reason and push the excuses to the side. They’re just wasting your time anyway. ‘Don’t expect MOTIVATION to always be around. He is downright unreliable.
Become friends with DISCIPLINE,CONSISTENCY AND THE WHY.
BFF’S 4 EVA!
Has this helped? Be sure to let me know in the comments below!