Keeping Your Motivation Levels High
Motivation is sometimes hard to come by. Recently a friend asked me how I stay motivated after following the same routine over and over again. He had lost it after being motivated for the last 6-12 months and wanted to know “the secret”, if there was one.
That got me thinking, is there really a secret? If there is one, it shouldn’t be a secret. I don’t know just one secret about keeping yourself motivated, but I do know a few tricks to keep the mind from wandering, so here are my top 5 tips on keeping that motivation level high and getting back to it when you’ve lost it.
Take A Break
Everyone needs to take a break from his or her routine now and then. Getting tired is one of the main factors in losing your motivation. You can’t be getting up early every day all week doing your morning routine and not expect that one day you’ll just feel like a sleep in or like not getting out of bed.
Months of constantly getting up early and getting your morning workout in will eventually lead to you not wanting to get out of bed. Your body wants to catch up on sleep and lets not forget that as the seasons change your body reacts as well. You’ll be tired earlier and want to sleep in later as winter comes around.
It’s important to have a rest day or 2 in your week, sure, but its equally important to take a break from your routine every 4-6 weeks. Take a week off and sleep in. Do light sessions in the evening or at lunch. Your body will thank you and after your week of change it will more than likely give you just that little bit of alteration you needed to get back in to it the next week.
Appreciate Your Achievements
You measure your weight, waistline and goal progress but do you ever measure your achievements?
It’s really important to document your progress when working towards a goal. When you do this you can take a little time each month to go back and look at where you were a month, 6 months and a year ago and appreciate what you’ve actually accomplished so far.
If you aren’t taking the time to appreciate the hard work you’ve put in to getting where you are now then you’re sure to lose some motivation and forget what it is you’re working towards.
It can be as simple as taking photos before and after, then comparing them. You don’t have to put them all over Facebook and Instagram, they’re just for you.
I remember doing this a few years ago when I decided I needed a good kick in the butt. I took before photos, did a 6 week HIIT program and then took after photos. Whilst I didn’t really notice anything looking in the mirror, the pictures showed me the progress I’d actually made which kept me wanting to make even more progress.
You can do a similar thing on a regular basis and take the time to appreciate the effort you’ve put in and what you’ve achieved so far.
Reassess Your Goals
When you set goals it feels good to achieve them. But what do you do when you’ve achieved them or lost sight of them?
I say its time to reassess them. Sit down and go over your goals. Write down all the ones you’re currently working towards and have achieved. Then write down any new ones you want to achieve.
Here’s the hard part – Cross off the ones you have achieved, good work. Cross off the ones you are currently working towards that you just don’t feel a connection towards anymore. These may have been unrealistic when you put them down before or you may just not care anymore because your priorities have changed.
It’s OK to change them. People change their minds all the time. When you’ve been working towards something for so long and you all of a sudden reach a point where you don’t care about it anymore or just can’t achieve it for one reason or another it can be pretty disheartening. But don’t lose hope because if you can reassess your goals you’ll soon work out what actually matters to you and can get back out there.
Change Your Routine
As a general rule you should change your routine every 4-6 weeks. This helps keep you entertained, motivated and improving. Do the same with meals. You can only eat chicken, broccoli and rice for so long before you become despondent and get angry at the world. Guess what, its not the worlds fault, you just need some variety in your life!
Changing your meals can be annoying – Especially if you shop in bulk. Here you can make changes in the Veges, seasonings you put on your meat, the ways you’re cooking it. Food is probably one of the most flexible things you can change so just do a little research and try a few meat rubs, slow cooks and spices to help keep your taste buds interested.
As for weights routines – most programs go for 6-8 weeks, so changing them mid way through isn’t really ideal. The main idea here is that you do change it every now and then instead of following the same routine with the same weight, rep ranges and rest for 6 months. If you insist on doing the same routine over and over again you need to realize that not every routine is sustainable over time. You need to change it to continue to develop.
Cardio routines can be a little more difficult. Essentially you’re going to default to doing the routine longer, which take more time and effort and gets really tiresome. Try adding some HIIT sessions in and changing the places you’re doing your cardio. If you’re a road runner, go run a trail. If you’re a cyclist, I don’t care as long as you’re not on the road blocking my driving lane. Do you see the pattern? Change the scenery/route and you’ll keep yourself interested.
Get A Partner
If you already have one, good work! If you don’t have one you should start fishing around with your friends to see if someone would like to come train with you. If you haven’t got anyone interested you need new friends, go make some at the gym.
Having another person on board is probably the BEST way to keep motivated. I can’t think of something more motivational than a mate telling you he’ll meet you at the gym at 6 on a day you really didn’t feel like showing up.
Often, when we train by ourselves we allow ourselves to take shortcuts by justifying it to ourselves. When we train with others all sorts of factors kick in like your underlying competitive nature, the encouragement they give you, the confidence they give you by spotting you. The benefits of this are endless.
Apart from that it’s the accountability of having someone else there by your side. Having someone who you know is waiting for you at the gym or coming by to drive with you over to wherever it is you train just adds a whole new dimension to the mental aspect of your training. In my opinion this is one of the main reasons people pay personal trainers – they need someone to train with.
Training partners are invaluable and if you don’t have one I highly recommend you get one.
Until next time