How To Get And Stay Motivated
Motivation is a strange thing… sometimes it’s there and sometimes it’s not. Why do some people struggle to find motivation while others seem to be effortlessly motivated day after day?
If you are reading this, then you are likely part of the second group like most of us. First we’ll look at what, exactly, motivation is. Then we’ll explore a number of ways to find it when you need it most.
So, what is motivation? To put it simply, motivation is the reason or reasons that we have for doing the things that we do or want to do.
Some motivation is biological, like the desire to eat or sleep. We don’t have to think too much about this kind of motivation. It just happens naturally. But what about the motivation to do things that we want to do but don’t have to do? Is it something you are born with or is it something we can control?
Well, the answer is both. Some people are just naturally driven. We all known people like this. They work two jobs, never miss a workout, sleep 5 hours a night, and are always on the go. However, most of us aren’t like this. But, there’s good news. Learning to motivate yourself is a skill that you can learn.
Below is a list of proven techniques to help you get to the gym, eat healthier, and achieve any other goals that you have set for yourself. Many of these techniques are backed up by plenty of science. Try them all and see what works best for you. And please feel free to share your experiences in the comment section below.
This is possibly the most important thing you can do to help get motivated. If you don’t know what you are trying to accomplish then you don’t know how or when you’ll get there.
Make sure to set concrete goals. Don’t just say “I want to get fit.” That is too abstract and difficult to measure. Instead, say “I want to lose 30 lbs by the first day of Summer.” This gives you a goal, a deadline, and something to measure. Break it down by week and figure out how many pounds you need to lose every week to reach your goal.
Create A Routine
Fitness takes time and persistence. It is extremely important to create a routine that you can follow. You are much more likely to succeed if you build your diet and exercise program into your daily routine.
We all have routines: Wake up, go to work, come home, make dinner, watch TV, sleep, repeat. Most people follow the same routine day after day. By making diet and exercise part of your routine, it becomes second nature after a while.
If you go to the gym after work every Mon, Wed, and Fri, for example, after a few weeks you won’t even have to think about it: it’ll just be a part of your normal routine.
Keep A Journal
After you have come up with your goals, write them down. People are much more likely to achieve their goals when they write them down. Now that you have your concrete goals written down you need to record your progress.
Keeping a simple journal is the best way to monitor your progress. If your goal is to be able to bench press 315 lbs, then every time you do bench press, write it down. This way you can track your progress over time and make sure you’re moving in the right direction.
Focus On The Benefits
It can be easy to talk yourself out of achieving your goals by focusing on the negative. “I’d go to the gym but it’s rainy out, I’ll have to wear a coat, the roads are gonna be bad…” This kind of negative self-talk can sabotage your dreams quickly.
By focusing on the benefits and not the difficulties it is much easier to get things done. “That rain is gonna feel great after I blast my chest and triceps at the gym today” is a much more positive way to approach the same situation. Focus on the positive.
Get A Partner
Finding a workout or diet partner is a great way to get and stay motivated. When one person isn’t motivated, the other one is there to help them out. Find ways to encourage each other. You can have little friendly competitions. Maybe the first one to lose 10 lbs gets taken out to a nice healthy lunch by the other one. Keep it fun and encourage each other to stay on track.
Use Visual Reminders
Surround yourself with photos, quotes, and other things to help keep you motivated. If you are a bodybuilder, maybe keep a big photo of Arnold next to your bed. Or maybe keep a quote that you find inspiring next to your computer. If you are dieting, put a picture of your ideal physique on your refrigerator.
Putting little reminders of your goals everywhere is a great way to help keep you motivated. In the car, in your bedroom, and especially in the kitchen, these will remind you that you are working toward a goal.
Enjoy Goal-Related Entertainment
This is one of my personal favorite ways to stay motivated because it is both fun and motivating. If you are trying to run more, maybe subscribe to a running magazine. If you are trying to build a big, muscular physique, go to a local bodybuilding competition. Whatever your goals, find something related to that goal that you can enjoy.
Get Something New
Nothing makes me want to get in the gym more than when I’m trying a new supplement or some new kind of fitness equipment. If you are a runner, go get some new running sneakers. If you are a bodybuilder, go buy a new lifting belt. You shouldn’t rely on this one all the time, but it can help to give you a little boost when your motivation dips.
Millions of people start their day with a big cup of coffee every morning. It becomes a necessary part of their routine. Caffeine has been shown to improve sports performance and reduce perceived fatigue. Having a cup of coffee before a workout can be a great way to get that extra little boost.
Become Part Of A Community
Join an exercise or healthy cooking class, become active in an online fitness community like Reddit or join a gym and make friends. By becoming active in a community you not only find people to help keep you motivated, but you can also make some wonderful friends.
People interested in fitness often have the undeserved reputation of being judgmental, shallow, and narcissistic. This is simply not true. Most people you meet at the gym are friendly, positive, and willing to help newcomers. Everyone is there for the same reason: to better themselves.
Create Mini-Goals And Games
This is a great way to stay motivated day after day when working toward a long-term goal. If you are trying to lose 50 lbs, it’s going to take time and can get discouraging. By creating mini goals, you can stay motivated along the way.
While your ultimate goal may be weight loss, you can see how fast you can jog a mile. Or maybe how many push-ups you can do in a row. Get creative! Come up with fun, realistic mini-goals and write down your progress.
Learn To Love It!
If you enjoy what you do, you are much more likely to succeed. If you are dieting and trying to lose weight, you may find it hard because you don’t like the foods you have to eat. Learn to love it. Learn a new healthy recipe. Mix things up. Variety.
There’s no reason you can’t eat delicious and healthy foods every day. Learn to love it! If you don’t like lifting weights, learn to love it. Focus on how pumped your arms look after a few sets of curls. Learn to enjoy the burn you get after finishing a great workout. Learn to love it!
Get To It!
Now that you known how to get and stay motivated, get to it! Don’t procrastinate. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can accomplish today. Get out there and start working towards your goals right now!
And don’t forget to subscribe to the Over 30 Fitness newsletter! Not only will you get the free guide, Burning Fat and Building Muscle In Your 30s, 40s, 50s, and Beyond, you’ll have us to keep you motivated right in your inbox.