After months of searching down the back of the sofa, in the cupboard and in the mystery box under the stairs for motivation, I have called off the hunt for motivation.
And I want to explain why you should stop looking for motivation too.
Motivation is that drive or desire to achieve a certain target or goal. That ‘get up and go’, the fire in your belly and burning desire to leap out of bed in the morning.
Motivation is tested, drained and stretched on a constant basis. Every decision we make throughout the day relying on us making the correct choice based on our goals and values.
This decision making ability eventually becomes tired. The cracks start to show and we begin to make choices that are not based on our goals, but instead based on our hunger and immediate desires.
This is why eventually we all lose motivation, or it at least dips off. Our only solution cannot be to just “want it harder”.
We need something more…
Relying on motivation is a bullshit strategy for most and I want to share a few tips on what to do instead.
Stop Searching and Start Doing
A lot of people I speak to want real change. Better looking bodies, stronger muscles or the confidence that goes with it.
The one thing they are struggling with is actually doing anything about it. They are waiting for the stars to align, work to be perfectly in order, no family sickness and for the house to be perfectly immaculate.
In reality, that scenario never exists.
My advice would be to take action now, even if it is not the perfect time or you don’t have the best knowledge. Imperfect action is still better than doing nothing at all.
If you don’t fully understand how to lose weight or how to get stronger, just start with what you think is right. The worst that will happen is that you fuck it up and learn the best way not to do it in the future.
Rely on Habits and Systems
Once the initial buzz and motivation fades from embarking on a new program or a new diet, the only thing we have to rely on is the habits and systems we have in place.
We don’t want to be relying on that drive and motivation to always be present and on point. We want our decisions to happen automatically, so we don’t have to rely on willpower to make the right choice.
This could be setting a schedule to workout or go for a walk. This could be the habit of fasting until lunch time or swapping out your evening dessert for a low calorie option.
This will take time to build systems and habits, but once they are there, it is much easier to maintain them. Focus on building a solid plan and find a way you can make a decision a habit to take that choice out of your hands.
Measure Progress Regularly
How motivating is it when you know the plan is working and you are getting decent results?
The answer is very!
This is why you need to measure progress on a regular basis. Too many people are relying on the bathroom scales to tell them whether they have made progress, when in reality, your goal is very rarely linked to weight.
Your goal is unlikely for a dusty machine in the bathroom reading a certain number. Most likely, your goal is to be leaner, stronger or to have sex with the lights on a feel sexy.
Measure progress at regular intervals to make sure you are on track and use those small wins to drive you until the next progress check.
Set Short, Medium and Long Term Goals
Leading on nicely from measuring your progress, it would be wise to use those regular check ins as a time to set yourself goals.
What do you want to achieve in 4 weeks from now?
How about 6 months?
And what about 1-2 years from now?
As I mentioned before, this is very unlikely to be “I want to weight XXX by a certain date”.
Have a clear plan in place to make sure you know what you want to achieve and how you are going to get there. If you are measuring progress at regular intervals and you are not on track to hit your goals, you either need to adjust your plans or maybe adjust your goals.
Understand Your Why
This one is probably the most important.
Your “why” is the reason you are putting yourself through restrictions, inconveniences and hardship. There will be times when you ask yourself “why am I doing this?”, and if you do not have a clear answer, you will struggle to succeed.
Your “why” is deep rooted reason for change, and is definitely not just reaching a number on the scales.
Let me give you an example. When I start working with a new client, we often carry out an exercise called “The 5 Whys”.
You ask your self why 5 (or more) times to understand the real reason you want to make a change, not just the superficial one you keep telling yourself. This is individual for each and every person and very personal.
“I want to lose 20 lbs?”
“To feel slimmer and fitter”
“So I can run around after my kids and feel so out of breath”
“I want to be a good role model for them and help them prioritise their own health”
After asking “why” several times we start to unearth the real driver behind the change. The person isn’t really fussed about losing weight, although that may happen as a by-product, they are more interested in becoming a role model for their children. You could continue to dig further if necessary but this is going to be individual for everyone.
Make Yourself Accountable
If you struggle to keep yourself on track and motivated, then get someone else to do it. Find an accountability partner, a work colleague, a family member or pay someone else (like me) to keep you on the straight and narrow.
Knowing that someone else is keeping an eye on your food, your workout schedule and your overall mindset is a massive driver to keep on plan.
Accountability is one of the biggest things I provide to my clients. Once I show them how to set up their diets, give them workouts, the rest is trying to help them stick to that plan. The methods that I use and adapt whilst working with each client may differ, but that is essentially what I am doing.
Enjoy the Process not Results
Whilst achieving a goal is very rewarding and motivating, it shouldn’t be the only reason we exercise or diet. We need to be enjoying the process of achieving that goal. If you constantly waiting for your generic 12 week plan to finish, so you can go back to eating whatever you want, you are not motivated.
If you are enjoying the buzz from training and feel empowered by gaining control of your nutrition, you are much more likely to continue those habits and have a higher chance of remaining motivated.
I hope you have found these tips useful and they can help point you in the right direction. If your life hasn’t been revolutionised by reading through a list of motivation tips online, then you should probably get in touch to see how I can help you further. I have plenty of online and gym personal training options available and I would love to work together in the future. All you need to do is book a consultation here.
The brains, brawn and beauty of Dackattack (basically it’s just me). A personal trainer with a private gym in Norwich, dedicated to giving out simple, actionable advice that will give you outstanding results.