Let’s take a moment to talk about motivation…
Being that it is the new year, there are a lot of New Year’s resolutioners that are out and about in the gym trying to make a difference for themselves. And then there’s those of us that have been going to the gym for a long time. Regardless of what category you fall into, motivation is one of those concepts that can be very hard to come by. As a beginner, motivation is extremely difficult to develop and to attain. As a veteran, motivation is extremely difficult to maintain and continue. But I have come to find that there are ways that you can keep yourself motivated, regardless of whether or not you are just beginning or has been at it.
1) SET SHORT – TERM GOALS
Yes, you want to lose weight. Yes, you want to tone up. Yes, you want to put on muscle. All of those are absolutely wonderful and attainable goals. But they are long term, generalized and vague goals. You want to set goals for yourself that are generally attainable within a one to 2 week period. So that could mean: losing 2 pounds in 2 weeks, staying consistent on your meals for a week, putting on a pound of muscle in week, etc. Regardless of your endpoint, you need to make sure that you are giving yourself reasonable short term goals that can serve as stepping stones towards your overall goal. You will find that you will have a lot more motivation when you start achieving the short-term goals.
2) TAKE PICTURES
Taking pictures is probably one of the top ways to keep yourself motivated. You don’t have to share them with anybody else. They are for you and only you. Only share if you so wish to. The idea behind taking pictures is that when you look at yourself in the mirror on a daily basis, it is very hard to pinpoint where you have improved or where you need improvement. When you take pictures, you can compare them side by side and are able to see those areas a little bit more clear. When you see the improvements that you’ve made through those pictures, it serves as huge motivation to continue.
3) DON’T RELY ON THE SCALE!
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone on a weight loss journey tell me that the scale isn’t changing. They tell me that they’ve been eating right, and going to the gym and working out, but the number on the scale just isn’t budging. This should actually be rule number one when it comes to anything fitness, but do not, I repeat DO NOT ever rely on the number that is on that scale to determine your success rate. Don’t get me wrong, it is a very good way to keep track, but it does not determine your achievements. The scale, in my opinion, is really just a number. You need to rely more on measurements and the pictures because, to me, they are more accurate in showing you where you’ve improved. Why is this? Because muscle is more dense than fat, meaning, that it takes less space. So a pound of muscle is still the equivalent to a pound of fat, but it doesn’t take up as much room. Maintain this mindset, and you can find a lil bit more motivation in this too.
4) STAY CONSISTENT
I will be the first to say that this is the one area in which I struggle. I know we all have busy lives: a job, kids, family, etc. But the more that you are consistent with the lifestyle, the more motivation you have to keep going. When you become inconsistent, it discourages you. It brings about self doubt as to whether or not you can do this. But let me tell you something, you can!
5) BE FLEXIBLE
Now while you’re trying to be consistent, it is definitely okay to be flexible. If you’re not competing, there is no reason to restrict yourself and separate yourself from life. Eat clean a majority of the time and indulge on occasion. Go to the gym as often as you can, but if you miss a day, consider it a rest day. And take those rest days often. Don’t limit yourself to the lifestyle. When you learn to be flexible, you develop balance. And when you develop balance, you create motivation to keep going.
6) REWARD YOURSELF
You’ve accomplished a short term goal! Congratulations! Reward yourself. Just as we reward our children for good deeds and accomplishments, the same applies to us as adults. When we accomplish something, and reward yourself for it, we are motivated to continue to accomplish more goals. So whether it’s going to buy that dress you saw, or indulging in a bowl of ice cream, give yourself the credit. You’ve worked hard.
Above all remember that you are still human. You will miss meals, you’ll miss workouts, you’ll have days that you don’t feel like doing anything at all, days where you just want to give up, days you don’t drink as much water as you need to, and days that you have absolutely no time to focus on yourself. We all have those days. Again, we are still human. Welcome to the club come there about 7 billion more of us just like you. Motivation is the struggle, but it is the ability to fall and then get right back up and pick up where you left off. It’s about not giving up and about remembering to love yourself and your accomplishments. Progress is progress no matter how small. Take it one day at a time, one thing at a time and you’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish.