As we hit February that initial flood of motivation and desire to train has probably faded from its January highs.
But before you completely fall off the 2019 fitness wagon, consider that motivation, much like your muscles, must be worked to remain strong.
With the right approach you can strengthen your resolve and reaffirm the willpower to stick to your programme and achieve your goals.
Here are 5 tips to boost motivation levels and keep them elevated throughout the rest of the year:
1 Change it up
A new challenge is a great way to revive waning motivation levels to keep your training interesting. Sign up for a group class if you really feel like you’re going to skip your workout, or switch up your training with a few fun outdoor activities on days when you don’t feel like going to the gym. That way, you get to work out and experience something new and different, which are great ways to revive your motivation.
2 Shift your mindset
The source of our motivation and actions are, first and foremost, our thoughts. So, when we change our thoughts by making the conscious decision to clean up our mind and our thought processes, we will transform our actions.
Studies in psychology have found a direct link between a person’s emotions and their levels of motivation. People who try to accomplish tasks with a negative mindset are far more likely to quit before accomplishing their goal than those who started out with positive thoughts. For this reason it is best to think about the positive aspects of your workout, rather than any negatives.
3 Be prepared
One of the biggest reasons why people fail at their plan is because they don’t prepare properly. For instance, if you fail to prepare your food for the week, you’ll need to apply a lot more willpower and self-control trying to avoid fast foods.
The same goes for workouts. Planning your workouts and packing your gym clothes ahead of time takes the most difficult part of working out, out of the equation – the physical act of getting to the gym. Once you’re there, the rest is easy.
4 Remember your ‘why’
Finding your ‘why’ – your intrinsic motivator – will carry you through difficult days or through those times when your motivation levels are at their lowest. When determining your ‘why’, ask yourself, “what drives me? What is my greatest desire?” Purpose gives us energy, focus and perseverance during our most trying times. Remind yourself why you started your journey, because this will motivate you to get to your goal.
5 Just do something
If all else fails, just do something. Best-selling self-help author and blogger Mark Manson advocates an approach to overcoming procrastination he calls the ‘Do Something’ principle. In a blog post on his site markmanson.net he explains that “the “Do Something” principle takes advantage of the fact that action is both the cause of motivation as well as the effect.
When we give in to the impulse to skip a workout, most of us will notch this up to a lack of motivation, which results in inaction. However, this association between motivation and action is wrong. Most people mistakenly believe that motivation must precede action – that before you do something you must first feel motivated to do it.
The fact of the matter is that in most cases action precedes motivation. This happens because taking action, be it putting on your shoes or getting in the car to drive to gym, initiates motivation, which then gathers momentum and it then becomes increasingly easier to continue what you’ve started.
And once you take one small, simple action, there’s a momentum that builds inside you, making the rest easier.” His advice is “if you want to do something — anything — then you just start with the simplest component of that task.”
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.