I hope you’re having a great start to the week, and to 2016 in general!
So, I recently asked a client of mine if there were any ideas / topics she wanted me to discuss in my upcoming blogs, to which she firmly replied “Motivation – how do you keep it?”
This got me thinking, as it is potentially an overlooked topic for fitness professionals, given the fact we can’t usually go two minutes without telling the passer by in the street about our latest Bench Press 1RM, or how we’ve got down to the ultimate low level body fat percentage that makes us look like Bruce Lee! My point is that exercise motivation tends to be quite far down the list of priorities for someone already working in this industry, as it should hopefully be our passion and something we love doing. But what about the everyday person, slogging their guts off in the gym, no training partner, limited knowledge, late at night, hungry, tired, but wanting to change their life?
I myself have maybe overlooked such struggles the everyday person has in terms of continued exercise motivation, and I know that away from our sessions (and sometimes even in them!) many of my clients still wrestle with this exact same problem. This is why I’m going to take you through some of my key phases for maintaining exercise motivation, and how you can implement them in to your own life RIGHT AWAY!
SELF ANALYSIS / ADMITTANCE
The first thing to say is well done for admitting that you feel this way! So many people now feel that it is ‘fashionable’ to go to the gym and work out, they wouldn’t dream of telling you they actually hate every minute of it……you’ll just know because they’ll be the super regular gym-goer who suddenly just vanishes without a trace. It’s okay to struggle with motivation from time to time, even the most die-hard fitness enthusiast has their days where they can’t stand the sight of the gym, and if you always try to convince yourself otherwise, you’ll only end up resenting your fitness journey.
SET A CLEAR & REALISTIC OUTCOME GOAL
This seems like such a simple task, but is where so many of us fall down (myself included). Whether it’s dropping a stone within 2 weeks, completing a marathon on one months training, gaining a stone of muscle before the beach holiday, or being as athletic as Cristiano Ronaldo, we harbour crazy ambitions of drastic change and never have any actual clue about whether our goal is realistic, and how we go about achieving it? Try to think about the key area of importance for your fitness goal, what training you can do to support that, how you measure it and how long it will realistically take to achieve.
USE MICRO GOALS TO ACHIEVE THE OUTCOME GOAL
Once you know what the ultimate outcome goal looks like, you can then start breaking it down in to manageable, measurable chunks that will help keep you on track, focussed and motivated. For example, if your outcome goal is to lose 4 stone within the space of a calendar year, you may decide that you want to lose 7 lbs within the first month, then make the weight loss more gradual after this time. You know that you’ll need to decrease your daily calorie intake, reduce the processed sugar in your diet, limit the alcohol you drink, as well as increasing your daily energy expenditure, which you’ll do by going for a walk / run three times per week. This is a sensible, realistic and measurable way to look at the first micro phase of your outcome goal, and will give you a much closer target to aim for than the longer term outcome goal.
CHANGE YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS
So many of us fail before we’ve even started, because we are not in control of the subconscious part of our brain that’s telling us we are ‘inadequate’ or ‘not worthy’ of achieving our goals. We have an inner desire to thrive and excel, but this can be lost by our brain’s subconscious desire to just survive, especially given the fact that the subconscious reacts based on the data gathered by the conscious, which includes ‘past failures’ or ‘scary, harmful experiences.’ It is vital that we begin to regularly challenge the subconscious mind in order to create new patterns, more tailored to learning and thriving. A simple way to do this is by remembering the following acronym:
1) Awareness – you must firstly become aware of what your limiting beliefs are and why they are holding you back from achieving what you desire.
2) Challenge – you next need to challenge that limiting belief and create a new choice, one that will yield a positive response.
3) Replace – you then replace that limiting belief with your new choice, thus altering the subconscious pattern.
Each time you have a great session, eat a great meal, or make a great lifestyle choice, set an anchor for it (not literally) to a body part! Make that greatness a picture, brighten it, make it in to a little movie where you’re an athlete who is happy, excited and enjoying training. Then touch that body part to trigger those feelings each time you need that motivation and inner belief – it’s an incredibly powerful NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) tool that really can work.
BUILD A POSITIVE SUPPORT SYSTEM NETWORK
It is said that we are the sum of the 5 closest people in our lives, so that leans extra importance to surrounding yourself with like-minded, positive and supportive people who are only going to encourage you and propel you successfully towards your goals. If you have people in your life that are negative, downbeat and have their own set of limiting beliefs, do not be surprised if these thoughts, feeling and emotions begin to rub off on yourself. Your support system network really is so important, so start analysing what role the closest people in your life play in supporting your goals.
This is another area that tends to be neglected by the majority of people. It is an innate desire to crave positivity for something you have done well and succeeded in. Do not suppress this desire, embrace it and make it tangible. Whether it’s treating yourself to a new piece of gym clothing every time you hit a weight loss goal, going out for a celebratory meal if you complete your 10k race, or just sharing a progress picture to your followers on social media when you’ve achieved your best ever shape, these things matter because they create an appetite for improvement, learning and developing.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog and have also managed to take away some of the key areas to implement in your own life, as they really WILL make a difference.
As always if you have any other questions, you know where to find me!
See you next week.