Written by Studio Pilates
It’s a simple fact of life that motivation ebbs and flows for all of us. What drives you towards a goal, gets you up in the morning, keeps you working through a pursuit and determined to succeed no matter what, can abandon you from out of nowhere. Yesterday you were pumped and ready to put everything into this you could – and today – well, not so much.
Even the most committed fitness enthusiasts face roadblocks to staying motivated. It can start with illness or an injury, the pressures of a hectic calendar, feeling overwhelmed with what your week is offering up – or an unidentified, very resilient flat spot for no apparent reason. It happens. But you CAN do something about it to get your mojo back.
- Are you getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet? Those questions your mum asks are for a good reason – both these things provide energy, and energy fuels motivation. Five hours sleep is NOT going to help you jump out of bed when the alarm goes off, and skipping meals or eating rubbish is going to put you in an afternoon slump. Think carefully about how you are treating that temple of yours, and it will repay you in kind.
- Remind yourself why you want this goal – that will help you build a bit of fire in your belly helping keep you focused on your “destination”. Decide on a goal, write it down and keep it somewhere prominent. Do you post that goal on your bathroom mirror? On your screen saver? On your desk? On your mobile device? You need to be in touch with that goal daily so it’s a high priority in your mind. Put your activities in your daily calendar and reminders, find a picture that represents how you’ll feel when you reach your goal, and what it will mean to you – visualisation is a huge motivator.
- Find your support network – whether it’s family or friends or an online forum – find your supporters when time gets tough – and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Keep focused on your goal date – knowing you have an endpoint, a contained timeframe in which to ramp up your activity, should make it easier to tell yourself to stay on task for a little while longer. You were strong enough to get this far, so you are strong enough to keep going.
- Negotiate with yourself – sometimes the hurdle is just in getting those runners on and getting out the front door. Once you’ve made it that far, the rest is easy. Don’t give yourself time to make excuses. You could promise yourself a reward at the end “let’s get this done, and then I can relax with a book.”
- Focus on the benefits rather than the difficulties – give yourself a pep talk: stop focusing on how hard this is, and instead focus on what you will reap as the rewards. Think about what you’ve achieved so far – you can’t throw in the towel after all that great work to date. Visualise yourself achieving those goals.
- Don’t let a slip-up stop you in your tracks – nobody says it better than Confucius: our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
- Commit to one step towards your goal every day. One step at a time. One step in front of the other. That’s all it takes.
- Pare back on your “to do” list – choose one goal at at a time – say, your fitness, and give your energy to that. Then, when that’s a habit, start on your next one. Ditch some of the things that aren’t going to give you value for your time (screen time, perhaps?).
- Find some external inspiration – read articles, success stories, biographies, blogs; listen to music that inspires you, be with people who motivate you, and find yourself some key words of wisdom that really resonate with you.
- Put yourself in someone’s else’s hands – now, we’re all for taking responsibility for your own actions, but what we’re talking about here is the benefit of doing structured activities under the guidance of an instructor: they’ll push you a little further than you are likely to push yourself; encourage you when you might be berating yourself; adjust your form, so you get the most out of your workout; hold you accountable for your appointment time; and have a laugh with you to stop you taking yourself too seriously.
- Recognise negative head chatter – which is what is causing your slump. Monitor your self talk. Is it actually true what you are saying to yourself? Would you say that to a friend in a similar situation? Have you got things in perspective, or are you letting your emotions skew the way you are seeing the situation? Is there a more positive way to look at this? Is there something you could change about what you are feeling bad about? Tell yourself you can do this. Because of course, you can.
- Break up your goal into smaller, easier, achievable chunks to help you build your confidence and allow you to plot your progress and see your cumulative successes. Then you can reward yourself along the way. And who doesn’t love being rewarded for their efforts? Suddenly everything seems worth it.
- It’s always more fun with friends – working out with others can be super motivating – besides holding you accountable,especially on a cold, wet morning, friends can offer encouragement and shared experiences experiences.
- Play up – compliment your Pilates with cardio that is fun. If you hate the treadmill, and it’s holding you back from getting to the gym – find something instead that feels more like fun than hard work – dancing, tennis, kayaking, cycling, hiking – the list is endless (aka no excuses!)