Motivation – Finding it, losing it and how to maintain it

“I’ll start again Monday”, “I don’t know what I want to achieve”, “I can’t do it “, “I’ll go to the gym tomorrow”, “I’ve not got enough time” and finally “I’ve got no motivation to do it”. I can honestly say I have been guilty of saying all of the above at least once in relation to my health and fitness regime. 

In this week’s short blog I’ll be talking about common health and fitness motivational drivers, reasons why people lose motivation as well as techniques for maintaining it once you have got it.
My thoughts for today are purely based on my own personal experience of the last 16 years of my adult life being actively health conscious, playing sport and gym training. I’ll also combine this
with my experiences as a Personal Trainer.

As defined by Wikipedia “Motivation is a theoretical construct used to explain
behaviour. It gives the reasons for people’s actions, desires, and needs. Motivation can also be defined as one’s direction to behaviour, or what causes a person to want to repeat a behaviour and vice versa”

Health and Fitness Motivational Drivers

Nowadays its fair to say we are a lot more ‘health conscious’ humans. We have access to a wide range of online resources and we’re constantly bombarded with news and media articles on best health and fitness practices. As an individual reading this it’s likely you’ll relate your current health and fitness approach to one of the following descriptions.

-Someone who dislikes exercise, eats mainly ‘Junk food’, however understands the importance for a change in your lifestyle.

-With the advances of science and technology, a health related issue is detected early and you have the chance to make an active change in your lifestyle to improve your health.

-Suffering an emotional trauma from seeing a friend/family becoming seriously ill to trigger that decision to make a change to your lifestyle.

-On the other end of the scale you may already enjoy being active and health conscious and see this as an easily maintainable lifestyle.

-In addition you may also be the individual that wants to be better at what you do (functional or sport related).

-Similarly you might want to challenge yourself to try something new and out of your comfort zone.
If none of the above relate to you and you feel you want to make a change, one suggestion could be to write down all of the things that are important to you. Next you can highlight all of the items that you can directly influence by a positive change in your health and fitness regime.

Potentially this could trigger that emotional response that you require to make the start.

Losing Motivation

Given more freedom to waffle on I could list many more of the following reasons why we at some point will lose motivation.  Here a few examples of what I have found to be common reasons.

– Lack of results or change 

– Injuries

– Time constraints

– Little or no enjoyment 

– Festive period creating bad habits

– Financial costs

– No training goal

Again, I have at some point suffered from one of the above and whilst it is a struggle to pull yourself out of that hole, you can do it!

In the final part of this blog I have listed a few techniques I use with myself and clients in order to help maintain motivation. 
– Create long term lifestyle or training goals (6-12 months)

– Create short term lifestyle or training goals (1-3 months)

– Create a measurable tracking system related to your training goal. For example if you’re looking to improve your endurance running, schedule in distance assessment tests to ensure your times are improving

– Create accountability to either yourself or someone else

– Tell other people about your targets. When we speak to people about our goals it makes it more real to us. Also those individuals you tell will likely ask how your progress is going

– Don’t set the bar too high. Make sure your target is realistic and achievable

– Don’t be afraid to fall short. I have many successes in my sporting career but at the same time many failures. However the failings are reasons for us to come back stronger next day.

– Create habits and keep things varied. Whether if your goal is health or fitness related.

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