Written by R. S Jacobs
Sometimes it takes a lot of determination just to get out of bed, let alone thinking about an early morning workout. Hitting the snooze button in the hope that by giving yourself another 5-10 minutes sleep you will have a magical energy boost. Perhaps you are one of those people who come home from work tired, exhausted and stressed, and the last thing on your mind is working out. Trust me, you are not alone, we all struggle with trying to stick to a fitness and diet regime whilst juggling with everyday life and avoiding constant distracting temptations.
For me, the key to staying motivated is simple, do not try to pressure yourself into doing something for the sake of it as this will result in it becoming a chore rather than part of your routine. Your diet and fitness regime should be valued on the same level as eating and breathing; it is an essential part of maintaining your all-round wellness and should be a way of life. Therefore, you should try to see it as a habit or your own personal project. Nobody can train your body for you, you are solely responsible for making sure you treat it with respect. If you follow a routine that is actually enjoyable, it will encourage you to maintain it as part of your normal day-to-day life.
Another great way to stay motivated is by tracking your results and creating specific milestones to help you monitor your progress. You should create realistic mini goals and work towards achieving them, anytime you encounter temptation you can remind yourself of what you want to achieve. By doing this, you will be holding yourself accountable for your choices and actions, which will encourage you to stay on track. Having a sense of achievement will be a constant justification of your hard work, and no temptation can replace the taste of satisfaction when you accomplish your goals.
It’s human nature to want to succeed and achieve our goals; it fuels us and challenges ourselves even further to stay on the path of self-actualisation. If your goal is to lose weight, build muscle, maintain your physique, or perhaps increase your cardiovascular health, then endeavour to chart your journey by taking before and after photos. Ultimately, you will be significantly encouraged when you start to see how much progress you have made over a period of time.
Many of us place a lot of pressure on ourselves and expect immediate results. At times, we set unrealistic goals which normally end in discouragement e.g. Not losing 20 kg in a week, or having a movie-star 6 pack after 50 sit-ups every day for a week. The reality is that change takes time, and something that didn’t happen overnight will not be fixed overnight. Do not fall victim to the false claims that social media bombard you with on a daily basis, anyone who claims to have achieved wildly unrealistic success is most definitely not telling you the full story!
Not only that, what works for one person might not be suitable for you, so try your best to ignore all external influence and concentrate on your own journey. Don’t worry if you are still feeling like you have a long way to go after 6 months of dedicated hard work, accept that long-term changes take consistency over time and you will thank yourself in the long run when you look back and see how far you have come rather than seeing what you still have to achieve.
Top tips to stay motivated
* Choose Convenience. The number one way to stay motivated is to think about a routine that actually fits into your daily life. Pick a fitness regime that doesn’t put you out, for example, if you know you won’t make it to the gym every day, why not find a home workout video that suits your goals.
In addition, always plan ahead! This is crucial to staying on track, even just preparing your gym clothes so when you wake up you can get ready quicker, or planning your meals ahead of time will not only be more convenient but will significantly improve your chance of success. Don’t sacrifice your own convenience otherwise your routine itself won’t be fun as it should be and you will be more inclined to fail or go off track.
* Exercise Buddy. We are more competitive when we exercise with someone or in a group, either consciously or subconsciously. It’s human nature to want to push yourself harder when other people are present. If you are someone who struggles during your workouts, find a workout buddy who can train with you. They can help to push you and often they can give you the tough love approach and support which is sometimes necessary to stay motivated.
* Music Playlist. Listening to your favourite music can help you to stay on track. For example, if you time your workouts in terms of songs rather than minutes you will be more focused on getting to the end of each song rather than the length of time. If you don’t like music while working out, why not try listening to podcasts or motivational lectures. Listening to something while working out can increase your endurance as it distracts your attention away from the negative side of the exercise such as aches, pains and lethargy.
* Mindset Shift. There are going to be inevitable setbacks in your fitness journey and this is when you need your inner strength to help you get through it. Throw away the guilt and don’t create excuses for yourself. Fitness is not only about physical but also mental strength, make sure you train both. Try to compare and contrast your choices and the possible outcomes based on each scenario. For example, what are the consequences of staying in bed vs working out, or eating cake vs eating veggies. When you adopt this mindset, you will learn how to rationalise positive choices rather than negative ones, and you will push yourself towards making smarter decisions.
* Avoid Monotony. It really is true when they say that variety is the spice of life! One of the best things you can to do to stay motivated is to mix up your exercise routine. Even the most motivated person will get bored easily if they stick to the same exercise every single day. Instead, create a routine that has a nice balance of lifting weights, cardio or even yoga and try to keep them up as efficient as possible. Better to work to top capacity for 30 mins every day, rather than drag your heels for over an hour. Don’t limit yourself to just one form of exercise, broaden your horizons to keep yourself motivated.
* Set Targets. If your goal is to fit into a dress or clothes you have always dreamed of wearing, set yourself a tangible target that is measurable and remind yourself why you are doing it. Do not accept defeat and strive for it like there is no tomorrow. Remember that the only thing between you and your goal is YOU!
* Celebrate Achievements. Make sure you take the time to acknowledge even the smallest accomplishments as these will encourage you to keep going. Why not treat yourself to some new gym gear or a massage. A new wardrobe might be just what you need to show you how great you are doing. Always ensure the reward system is something external, as many people fall into the trap of rewarding themselves with food which cancels out all your hard effort.
In conclusion, staying motivated is as much about the mind as it is the body, and you must be prepared for a mental battle. Make sure you enjoy what you are doing and maintain the enthusiasm by regularly mixing things up. Change your mindset to see your fitness journey as an essential part of your life like air, water and food. Try to focus on the sense of accomplishment once you achieve your goals. One of the most powerful tools that God gave us is the power to choose one thing over another, no one can take that away from us. Don’t waste your God-given right to choose the best life for yourself every single day!
Stay strong, warriors.
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Content on this blog is provided for education and information purposes only. The Information therein is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. Lean Waist Warrior urges all users to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical question.