We are beings of emotion. It’s one of the things that make us human. Some of us are more emotional than others, but at some point we all feel happiness, love, sadness, and depression. Our feelings will have a big factor on our motivation in the gym and overall health progress. When talking to new training clients at my gym one of the biggest factors holding people back from their fitness aspirations is a lack of motivation.
Here are 5 ways to stay on track regardless how you feel and if the motivation counter is down to zero.
1. Prepare a battle plan. Wars are won with strategy. It goes the same when it comes to our own daily battles with meals and finding time to exercise. My personal battle plans are devised weekly and daily. On my weekly overview I am making sure groceries are kept up and checking my work and family schedule for any irregularities. Then each night I think about the following day and prepare accordingly. Can I eat at my normal times? When can I workout? I do a mental rundown of the day. I try to plan for anything that might be thrown at me to mess up my game. I also pack my lunch for the next day and set out what I can to make preparing breakfast easier. Do what you can today to make your tomorrow easier.
2. Be consistent not perfect. I find that a lot of people’s worst enemy is the quest for perfection. If a workout is skipped or a chocolate donut devoured they just fall off the wagon and quit. If in a 100 day period you were spot on with nutrition and exercising 80% of the time you would look and feel amazingly better than if you were 100% spot on for only the first 50 days. It’s the long run that counts when it comes to your health and fitness. Realize that “life” happens and nothing will ever be perfect. Do your absolute best and when you slip up get right back on it. Shoot for consistency over perfection.
3. This is bigger than you. One of the forces that drive me to live a fit lifestyle is that I love being a dad. It’s really what I do best. I want to be around as long as possible to be with my family. I also realized that my kids are watching me. I can easily lead them down the path of laziness and obesity with my life choices or I can teach them through example how to be healthy. The thought that really blew my mind was that how my kids live will influence their kids and so on. My choices today will affect generations of my family to come. It starts with me! It starts with you! Include the family into some fun weekend exercise. Don’t let the kids dictate what they will and will not eat. Put some fruit and veggies on their plate every day.
4. Iron sharpens iron. Exercise with a dependable partner. This doesn’t mean just anybody as the wrong partner can work against you. Your best friend may not be the best choice. I prefer to lift with people who are stronger than me and always on time. Yes, you want to get along and joke around, but keep the talking to a minimum as you are there to work. I am highly motivated and can have great workouts by myself, but since lifting regularly with my friend Matt I’ve made tremendous progress this last year. The right lifting partner can be very difficult to find, but many times worth the effort. If you are new to fitness and cannot find a partner you might consider hiring a qualified personal trainer.
5. Get regimented. The truth is we all feel unmotivated at times. So the best thing to do is plan for this eventual scenario. I keep a fairly regimented schedule when it comes to my meals and workouts. I eat around the same times each day (give or take 30 minutes). This helps tremendously on the days when motivation is lacking. I just stick to schedule. Don’t let “feelings” derail your progress.