How to Stay Motivated In 9 Easy Steps
It's easy to lose focus, it happens to everyone! Below is a list of 9 steps to help if you need to stay motivated.
1. Set yourself a plan
When it comes to keeping yourself motivated to stick to your workouts, the best way to begin is by creating a plan that you will adhere to and can follow to help you achieve your goals.
When creating your plan, think about your goals, think SMART (Specific, Measured, Achievable, Realistic, Timed). By choosing SMART goals you will not only achieve your goals faster, but it will also keep you motivated to know that you're moving in the direction you need to achieve them.
If you aren’t confident in creating your own plan, I would highly recommend searching for a trainer in your gym or a local personal trainer in your area. They will help you by creating a plan to achieve your goals.
2. Visualize your success
Thinking positively and focusing on your success can help to keep you motivated until your success is realized. Great feats are created firstly in your thoughts before becoming a reality. How would you talk to your best friend about their goals, the things they want for themselves? I can guess the words used would be largely positive.
Take a moment now to close your eyes, sit still, and imagine yourself having already achieved your goal. Feels good, doesn’t it? This is known as intrinsic motivation - motivation created by your own ideas of what you want, and your feelings towards those ideas. It can spur you on, driving you to tackle the barriers facing you before you can achieve your goal. So, before you go to sleep every night, visualise how you would feel if you already achieved your goal. For external or extrinsic motivation, consider how others you care about would see you. Do you feel fitter and healthier? Are your friends and family complimenting you on how your body has changed? Are your coach or training partner congratulating you on reaching a new personal record?
Whatever your goal may be, just remember to visualize it and keep that vision in your mind until it becomes a reality.
3. Slow and steady
You’ve heard it before – we’d better get all the gardening and painting and power hosing done before the good weather is gone. Two days later, you’re still wiped out and realising that the rain doesn’t last either. What you did in a day could have been divided out across a week or two. It is no different with your training goals. Trust the process, and the rewards will come in time.
It is as the old saying goes ‘slow and steady wins the race’, so take your time to do things correctly and don't try to rush the process. Your body is a biological organism, ever changing and ever responding to it's environment. It has adapted to take you to today, and it didn't do so over night. We tend to underestimate the time scale involved in reaching goals, so don’t get disheartened. The bigger the goal, the harder the effort and the longer the time involved but the greater the reward and satisfaction.
4. Count down those reps
10, 9, 8....1 and done. Try counting down your repetitions instead of counting up the way. Your motivation can lapse if the numbers are increasing.
By counting down instead of up, you are less likely to fall into the ‘one-more rep’ mindset. This can sometimes inhibit your progress rather than help you along. Start with the number you want to complete, and finish at zero.
5. Tick off those workouts
Grab your calendar and mark in your training days. You can feel motivated as you complete another workout. Having something visually and physically in front of you will reaffirm that you are on the right track toward your goals.
Tick off the workout on your calendar. It can help to keep a training diary. Write a brief few sentences to reflect on how your workout went. It’s invariably satisfying to finish off a workout, creating a good feeling about your own ability to get things done. Remember – tick off and reflect.
If you need someone to hold you accountable, I recommend hiring a good personal trainer. They will help to guide you along your journey, although their role is not to be your sole motivational source. Your motivation is for you and you alone to find, so get inspired and tick off those workouts one session at a time!
Remember you need to show up to make changes and move forward. What better place to start than showing up to your next workout.
6. Prepare your meals
Preparing your meals will allow you to remain on track with your targeted calories and macronutrients.
Preparing meals for a few days, or even the week, will save you time that you can allocate to other, more valuable tasks. You might decide to batch cook once or twice a week, refrigerating or freezing the extra meals. This can be hugely beneficial as it may allow you to have more down time for your rest and recovery. It may also limit reliance on the convenience of takeaways. Take a meal from the freezer, defrost, and you will have a nutritious, tasty meal in a matter of minutes.
Having an idea of what you are going to be eating for the week can help resist temptations. We are all human, and sometimes we don't feel like getting up to prepare a meal midweek. It’s been a long day, and all you want to do is kick back and have something easy. The Thursday-you will appreciate the Sunday-evening-you all that much more for having predicted the attraction of a quick fix, and the pre-prepared meals will be a massive benefit here. Support for Hump-day!
You will also have less food wastage from preparing your meals, and this will save your pocket in the long run. More money for the things you need. Why wouldn't you want to meal prep!?
7. Remove any temptations
Removing temptations will allow you to be worry-free about falling off track and will help you stay focused on your goals. If you find yourself mindlessly snacking on sweets during a movie, try to swap it out for something lower in calories, like low-cal popcorn.
Think about the cause of your snacking. If you just like the crunch, swap it out for carrot sticks or something healthier and lower in calories that has a crunch to it.
Perseverance will always keep you motivated and moving in the right direction.
8. Small wins equal big victories!
Taking the smaller steps will help you snowball into the bigger victories. Got up this morning, made the bed, made breakfast, got your workout in – tick, tick, tick. Acknowledging small wins is hugely worthwhile, and helps to build confidence. By rewarding yourself for smaller feats daily, you will have the motivation to continue to an even bigger victory!
It is important to keep a balanced outlook if you are using this approach. Don't put incessant pressure on yourself to achieve those big victories. Putting in the hard work every week is enough – there is no place for unnecessary pressure. Be patient, and remain consistent. It is a process that takes time, and it should be something that adds enjoyment to your life – training can be an appreciation of movement and how your body adapts to what you do with it.
9. Don't be afraid to check your progress
Taking mirror selfies under similar conditions e.g. lighting, clothing, and time of day, will allow you to track your body changes most accurately.
It can help to make a folder in your phone to keep track of your Progress Pictures. Build on them every so often, and remember where you started. You may not see your progress coming through day-to-day when stepping in front of the mirror, but you will see it most clearly in your Progress Pictures over time.
As mentioned before, keeping a training diary can help too, as you can make note of strength increases, or your ability to complete a task that you hadn't before. For example, chin ups or weighted pull ups. This is different for everybody, and it can remind you that the only true comparison is yourself. This can be a major benefit to you as not only is this motivating to see progress in pictures or in writing, but you can also inspire others around you to take a step on their own health and fitness journey.