I'm sure everyone reading this has had the experience of getting extremely excited about a fitness goal and then losing their motivation a few weeks i...
I’m sure everyone reading this has had the experience of getting extremely excited about a fitness goal and then losing their motivation a few weeks into the program.
It’s only natural! It’s the same reason why you can’t stay in that passionate, wild stage of “just fell in love” forever. Human brains and bodies can’t sustain that level of chemical stimulation forever. We have to face it: whether it’s love or fitness, the sad truth is – the honeymoon ends!
So, how do we solve that? How do we refill our motivation levels and make it to the end of our fitness goals?
Here are a few ways that have worked for me, my colleagues, and my students. I hope one or more of them can ultimately help you meet your goals, as well!
1) Eye on the Prize
Don’t forget what made you decide to start this journey in the first place. Think about what your specific goals and rewards are, and keep them in front of you every minute of every day. Write them down on 3×5 cards and keep them in your purse. Cut out photos and paste them in your planner. Never let yourself lose sight of why you started this.
2) Create Small Milestone Goals on the Way to the Big Goal
If your end goal is something which is far in the future, like losing 100 pounds in a year or running a marathon in 6 months, it’s very difficult for your brain to maintain a zealous level of commitment to training over that kind of timeframe. It’s not how we’re wired.
Think about The Biggest Loser. Do they diet and workout and weigh in once at the finale? NO! They are weighing in every week, and every single week there are stakes attached to that number. Every single week is a mini-milestone on the larger journey.
You can do the same thing! Get out a calendar, and figure out how many weeks you have left to achieve your goal. Figure out where you need to be on the path by the end of each week, and write it in your calendar. This way, when you’re training, your brain isn’t focused on the huge task that needs to be done in five months, but rather the reasonable task that needs to be done in two days. It’s much more in line with how our brains work!
3) Stimulate All Your Senses
When keeping your goal in front of you, it’s not enough to merely know what it is, and think about it. That won’t sustain excitement. Rather, you need to get all your senses involved if you can! Say your goal outloud so you can hear it. Write it down, multiple times! Cut out or draw photos that represent your goal to you. Make it fun, make it personal, make it engaging! The excitement will naturally follow.
4) Celebrate Small Victories
For most people, it’s so much easier to berate themselves for falling of the path than it is to congratulate themselves for staying on. After all, logic dictates that staying true to your plan is what you’re SUPPOSED to do, that’s just the norm. So why would you pat yourself on the back just for doing what’s normal, what’s expected of you, what you are supposed to be doing? Falling off of the path is the deviation, so that’s what deserves attention, albeit negative. Staying on your path doesn’t merit attention.
However, that is simply not the case! What is actually “normal” is to falter. Human beings are not perfect, we are in fact highly fallible and weak in many ways. It is not unusual for us to fall short of our potential best in multiple ways every single day! Therefore, staying true to your program actually IS an unusual accomplishment that is worthy of celebration, and of giving yourself a huge pat on the back!
Not to mention, every time you simply sit back and let yourself feel proud – of your actions, of your accomplishments, of yourSELF – you build your confidence. The higher your level of mental confidence, the more likely you are to defeat temptation the next time it rolls around!
5) Eye of the Tiger
We started with an “eye” and we are ending with one, as well! The eye of the tiger. Sometimes, even the best of tips and tricks to refill and maintain your motivation levels won’t work. Sometimes, the only thing you have to rely on is sheer mental toughness.
Of course, this method of white-knuckling it through your training program will not work forever, and possibly not even for long, but on some days it’s all you have!