How To Stay Motivated While Chasing After Your Fitness Goals
Last week you were motivated, but now going to the gym feels unbearably difficult.
If this is you, then you're not alone. Many of us (myself included) have inconsistent waves of motivation. The secret that some forget to mention is that relying on pure motivation is a sure-fire way to not accomplish your fitness goals.
Just as the clouds come and go—motivation is propelling us one minute and then abandoning us shortly after. Without motivation to rely on, you might be inclined to rely on willpower. However, you'll also want to avoid relying solely on willpower. Willpower is a resource that is easily fatigued and drained as we go about making our daily decisions.
If you can't rely on willpower or motivation—then how can you accomplish your fitness goals?
It starts with developing a proper mindset built for success. This mindset is built on habits, behaviors, and a realistic approach. All the nutritional tactics and workouts mean very little if your mental approach isn't up to par.
Would you go build a house without a sturdy foundation? How about building a car without a running engine?
Of course not. This is how you should view the mental aspects of fitness. Before analyzing the type of diet you're going to implement and your training split—use these four principles to develop a plan that will keep you going without relying on motivation.
Be specific about what you want.
Instead of " I want to lose some weight", think instead " I want to lose 20 pounds". Instead of "I want to build some muscle", think instead " I want to build 10 pounds of lean muscle."
Being specific with your goal allows you to have complete clarity about what you're working towards.
After you decide on your goal, write it down somewhere easily visible. Hang your goal on the fridge, your bathroom door, or in your room. Displaying this goal and seeing it each day reminds you of your purpose when those inevitable days of not feeling inspired to eat healthily nor exercise comes along.
Be 100% realistic.
If you didn't gain 10lbs overnight, don't expect to lose 10lbs overnight. 10 pounds of muscle isn't going to arrive in a month's time. Patience and perspective are two of your best allies when it comes to your fitness goals.
But, we, unfortunately, live in a world where we're allergic to patience; instant gratification is the norm. However, we have to give things time to become successful.
Ambition is great, but ambition without perspective is a dangerous game to play. Without controlling our ambition, we're much likelier to quit on our goals if they're not attained in the short time that we unrealistically placed them under.
It's great to set challenging goals and push ourselves, but make sure that the goals are attainable.
Take a step back and assess the situation. If you're a busy professional, expecting yourself to follow a strict 6-day bodybuilder split with a strictly regimented meal plan isn't setting yourself up for the highest likelihood of success.
Set your goals to be tailored 100 percent to your specific lifestyle, capabilities, and desires.
Make a deadline.
Now that you know what you want and that being realistic is essential, you still need to set some pressure on yourself to accomplish your fitness goal.
Every day, many of us state an assortment of desires and wants, but many of those will never happen because we forget to add a deadline to them. A deadline raises the stakes of the situation and brings some accountability to the situation. Deadlines exist to ensure you finish what you've started. When you lay the gauntlet down and set a time to complete your goal, the chances of completing your goal rises.
Saying you want to lose 20 pounds of fat isn't enough. Saying "I want to lose 20 pounds in 8 months" is a more realistic and effective plan because now you've added some stakes to the situation. This creates a sense of urgency and requires you to be stringent with your workouts and nutrition in order to accomplish your goal on schedule.
Have a huge goal, then break it down into small chunks.
Stephen A. Brennan is quoted as stating "Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success."
Clarity with your goals is essential. Why do you want this goal? What do you really want to achieve out of your training program? What does your ideal body look and feel like? Once you're able to define that big long-term goal— you can reverse-engineer the large goal down into smaller chunks.
The long-term goal will take time to happen, which is why setting micro goals are crucial. If you want to lose 20lbs so you can perform better in a marathon or play with your kids without losing your breath, or so you can live a longer and higher quality life—micro goals are essential. An example would be to set this 20-pound goal into small chunks of 5 pounds.
Setting and accomplishing your micro goals will provide you encouragement and satisfaction. This will positively reinforce the habits you have built and thus keeps you on track to success.