Motivation is tricky. Sometime you have it and sometimes you don't. When you lose it, it's really hard to get back. But without it, it's hard to get anything done. There are plenty of trick to get and keep yourself motivated, but do any of them really work? Most of the time once you've started whatever task you were struggling with (cleaning the house, exercising, etc.) it seems silly that it took you so long to get your butt in gear.
We all struggle with getting motivated in all kinds of different situations, but probably the biggest complaint I hear is people not having enough motivation to exercise. I'm definitely not even close to perfect in this area, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve to get myself out the door. It doesn't always work and sometimes I skip workouts when I really should have gotten them done (and 100% of those times I find myself wondering why I didn't just go do it).
Here are a few things that can help get you out the door more often than not:
1. Create a routine.
This sounds both simple and like it's not going to work. But it does. If you get up every morning and exercise, eventually your brain and your body will just expect it to happen and it will be no big deal. Getting to this point can be a challenge, but it's worth the struggle.
When you don't feel like working out your brain kicks in and then you have to make a choice. Whereas if you are in the habit of doing something, it happens relatively subconsciously. Making choices always makes situations more complicated and gives you more opportunities to talk yourself out of working out.
One great way to develop a routine around working out is to join a group or a class. I go to swim group every Tuesday morning and run group every Thursday evening. I would be far less motivated to get up at 5:30am and get in the pool if I hadn't paid for the class and if it wasn't fun to go and workout with others, I would have to make a choice about whether I wanted to work out or not.
Another thing I've utilized in the past is the "just put your clothes on" approach. If you put your workout clothes on and still don't feel like working out...you don't have to. If you can get out the door and start your warmup and still don't feel like working out...you can go home. Sometimes my run workouts turn into run/walk or just walk workouts, and that's ok. You do need to listen to your body, but you should at the very least test it out and see what it says.
2. Just do it
Sometimes you need a little tough love. If you have a day where you are just completely unmotivated and uninterested in getting out there, remind yourself that you did not get to wherever you are today by being lax and not getting things done.
Push yourself to just get in 5 minutes and if after that time you still don't feel like continuing, you don't have to, but at least you tried!
3. Focus on right now
Rather than thinking that you have to do whatever it is you don't want to do everyday, forever, focus on doing it right now. Don't think about skipping dessert forever, just focus on right now. Don't worry about the hard workout you are dreading next week, focus on the one you need to do today.
It's easy to get overwhelmed when you look at the big picture (but you should keep the big picture in mind), so if you are unmotivated or overwhelmed by the big picture, focus on the right now instead. Break it down into pieces. Get dressed, go outside, do workout.
Are you still stuck? I've got a bonus tip for you if these three things just aren't cutting it!
Remember that none of this is about perfection. It's all about doing the best you can and feeling good about it. So, don't beat yourself up for missed workout days or meals where you made less than desirable choices!
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