We start the New Year with high hopes and lofty aspirations. We tell ourselves that this will be the year when we break the cycle. When we will make a plan for lasting, lifelong health and fitness and, unlike the us of yesteryear, actually stick to it. However it is around this time, after the first month of the year draws to a close, when we start to hit a wall. The ambitious regimen we set out for ourselves gets harder to marry with our busy lifestyles. Motivation seems more challenging to come by and staying in shape has become a gruelling chore rather than an enjoyable and edifying activity.
In your heart of hearts you know that going on like this can only have one end result… You're giving up due to a lack of motivation and inability to adhere to the fitness plan you set yourself. But fear not! This is by no means an inevitability. There are lots of ways in which you can give yourself a motivational boost and put yourself back on the right track.
1. Bring a Friend
It’s more difficult to remain motivated when you are accountable only to yourself. When you work out alone, however noble your intentions, it’s easy to allow yourself to take short cuts. You might miss out that last set of deadlift because it might make you late to pick the kids up from school or you may feel inclined to skip your cool-down because… well… it can’t be that important, can it?
Bringing a friend can make you much more accountable and help you to stay motivated. They can prevent you from cutting your workout short, giving yourself a free pass on those last few reps and prevent you from missing your workout because you’re in the middle of an epic Fortnite session. Moreover, they can encourage you to...
2. Get Competitive
While you should avoid comparing your gains to that of others, a little healthy competition can bring out the best in us. It can push us onward when our motivation is flagging and cause us to call on reserves of energy we never knew we had. Find someone of roughly equal ability to you and keep an eye on them while you work out. You don’t necessarily have to bench what they bench or squat what they squat. But you do have to make sure that they (and you) don’t quit when things get tough.
3. Steer Clear of Hard and Fast Rules
You may think that setting yourself a rigorous and highly detailed schedule is the way to bring out your peak motivation. But the thing about hard and fast rules is that they were made to be broken! If, for example, your workout days are Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday but you find that you have to put in a little overtime Wednesday night, this may cause you to put off your workout until the next Friday. Instead, try to get in a workout on Thursday or whatever exercise you can on Wednesday night even if it’s just a brisk walk. Your body will thank you for it!
4. Use Social Media to Your Advantage
The more solitary you are, the harder it can be to remain disciplined and motivated. If you’re unable to get a friend or work colleague to pump iron with you, why not leverage social media? Post about your workout and your progress. Not only will your friends and family lend you support and encouragement, they will help you to feel accountable for your own progress. This is why at MindBodyLift we created a support group to all our personal training clients, so even when they work out on their own between sessions, they have a supporting network to cheer them on day by day.
5. Remember, Looks Aren’t Everything
Most of us want to stay in shape to keep ourselves strong and fit… But let’s be honest here, there’s an aesthetic component too. Many of us want to exercise our way to shredded abs, rock hard pecs and arms that will make our partners swoon with desire. But if you judge your progress solely on what you see in the mirror it can be extremely difficult to stay motivated.
A lot of the time, the gains you make in strength and fitness will not be immediately visible. You’ll be changing the size and shape of your muscles and crafting a better proportioned physique but the results may be hidden beneath a veneer of fat which you will shred in a later part of your regimen. Keep yourself motivated by focusing on (and celebrating) your progress rather than visible results.
6. Bet on Yourself
Finally, what is it that makes you miss your workouts? Often we give them a miss because we make it so easy not to hit the gym. But when we have money riding on our progress, we’re far less likely to back out of a gym session. There are fitness accountability apps, like Diet Bet, which allow you to set a workout goal… But if you fail to meet it, it’s gonna cost you. Literally!
On the other hand, meet your goals and you’ll get your money back, plus a little extra. It’s a great way to keep yourself on track and accountable. With a little extra motivation you can smash your workout goals and stay fit and healthy for life.
Have questions on any of the above points or you'd like a fitness professional to help you set your goals? Feel free to get in touch.