I think we’ve all been there; it’s time to get our workout in and we have never been less excited about anything in our entire lives. The thought of throwing on our gym clothes and getting after it is about as appealing as scraping fingernails on a chalk board. But we know that it’s good for us; we know we should be doing it. So how do we get through these periods of low motivation?
Here are 7 strategies that can help you find your fire when motivation is running cold:
- Remember why you’re doing this.
Only you know the reasons why exercise is important to you. Health benefits aside, we all have our own reasons for working out. It could be to look good for an event, to increase our strength or musculature, or to improve our 5K run time. Simply taking a moment to reflect on why exercise is important to you can make a big motivational difference.
- Set a competitive goal.
This is a very simple and often overlooked motivational tool. Despite our best intentions, sometimes we procrastinate. People typically make something a priority if it has a deadline, and exercise is no different. This could be a walk/run event, a lifting competition, or even a weight loss challenge between friends.
- Find someone to exercise with.
Hiring a personal trainer is one of the best investments for your health that you can make. Trainers are professionals who earn their living by motivating and guiding others. If a personal trainer doesn’t fit into your current budget, simply exercising with a friend or attending a free group fitness class can help keep you accountable.
- Make exercise fun!
Exercise doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Technology allows us to bring our favorite music, podcasts or tv shows with us. Hop on a treadmill and watch your favorite show or listen to your favorite album while you’re getting your exercise in!
- Don’t always think about the now.
While living in the moment is important, sometimes shifting your focus to the past or future can be a big source of motivation. If you’ve lost weight or gained strength, think about a time in the past when you were struggling. If you are about to embark on a health and fitness journey, think about your destination! We are all a work in progress, and focusing on your goal physique or health status can go a long way to helping get you into the gym.
- Teach yourself the difference between “want” and “need”.
There is a massive difference between something you want and something you need. You may want a fancy car or boat, but you need food, water and oxygen to live. There are countless studies proving the benefits of exercise on quality of life and health. Exercise isn’t always something you want to do, but it is something you need to do if you desire to live a healthy and strong life.
- Learn what really motivates you.
Humans are either intrinsically or extrinsically motivated. Intrinsic motivation comes from within. For example, feeling like a champ after a great workout is a form of intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation comes from the outside, like a kid hitting a home run just to get a dollar reward from a parent. Food is a common extrinsic reward, but may not be the best when weight loss is a goal. On the flip side, buying clothing that will fit your new, healthier body may help give you the motivation you need to get your workout in when you’re not feeling it. Find out where your motivation comes from and work sensibly to build on it.
These are just a few suggestions on how you can find or create motivation on days when you may be lacking it. Remember to listen to your body; sometimes you may need to take a day off from a scheduled workout, and there is nothing wrong with that. Learn to know the difference between needed breaks and simply lacking motivation.
Your body will thank you in the form of health and wellness if you give it what it needs to thrive. Remember, you are in control of your life. The decision you make can have a lasting effect on how you look and feel. Don’t settle for anything less than the best. You deserve it!
Fitness Director Steve Boring MS, BS, ISSA-CPT Certified Personal Trainer has degrees in Exercise Science and Speech Communication and is currently pursuing a PhD in Human Performance. He is a competitive Strongman and Powerlifter. He has multiple State Championships, two AAPF National Bench Press National Championships, and is the current AWPC World Bench Press Champion. Steve’s passions are centered on fitness and his love of helping people reach their goals. His door is always open to talk about fitness, health, and lifelong strength!
Contact Steve Boring at (507) 287-9312.