Let’s cut right to the chase. So we know we want a fit bod. Now what? How do we reach our goal? A lot of us get pumped and hit the squat bar, weights, and stairmaster, but only last so long before realizing it’s been quite a few weeks (or months) since we last used our gym membership and we’ve been ordering pizza more often than we leave our house (guilty!) What happened?
What it always comes down to is motivation. Starting a workout may be exhilarating, but staying committed to it week after week and month after month can get old, especially if fitness isn’t exactly your passion. If it’s not, I won’t kill you. I will get your butt through your workouts so you can build a body you’re proud of though. If we want to be successful and reach the goals we set for ourselves then we must strategize. Motivation is key. These 6 insights are what help me find motivation that not only keep me feeling great about myself, but keep me coming back to the gym for greater results over and over again:
1. Mental Strength
The number one source to your success is your mind. Everything begins right here. What do you allow to influence it? What do you let occupy it? What free rent do you give out that negatively impacts the rest of you? We let the opinions of others, hurtful words, painful memories, judgments, comparisons, setbacks, and disappointments slip into our minds and take control. Allowing this is like puncturing a ship with holes and hoping it will somehow float. It will begin to fill up with water and gradually sink. Your mental strength keeps you focused. It protects you from sinking and gives you the power to fill yourself with fuel to overcome negative thought patterns and to embrace a healthy mindset. Think positively. Believe in yourself. The physical strength you wish to obtain begins with mental strength. To find this motivation you first must know yourself. If you know you need a support system find some workout buddies, join a group, or sign up for classes. If you know that by others motivating you will increase your mental strength, do it. If you’re the type of chick who finds people distracting and you can focus much better when alone then take a pre-workout drink, throw on some headphones, and listen to music that will fire you up. Mental strength is not optional if you wish to obtain great results. It is what brings results.
It can be challenging to walk into a gym and not compare yourself to others and want their results. To mentally block this out may take some work, but until it’s done those comparisons will only distract you and keep you from the results you can gain. Comparing only causes discouragement and pulls you off track. The only person you should be comparing yourself to is who you were yesterday. Look at yourself in the mirror. This is your competition. Forget about trying to outdo everybody else. Focus on trying to outdo your past self. Focus on where you are at and what needs to be done to get where you want to be. By doing this you train yourself to be a winner. Winners put their hard work and sweat into the details that nobody else wants to do. Winners never quit. They keep striving to conquer an old self with a better self. This is how they win.
How bad do you want results? What are you willing to sacrifice to get where you want to be? What will it cost you to achieve your goal? Before you throw yourself into a workout program and end up dropping out because you discouragingly realize you’re a lot more out of shape than you had anticipated, think about these things. Know where your body is at and make reasonable goals. Know what it will take of you to accomplish these goals. Once you are knowledgeable and ready to make the investment, you must discipline yourself. You must learn to say NO like a boss. You must learn to say no to weakness, no to excuses, no to distractions, no to procrastination, no to unhealthy foods, and no to tiredness. Never underestimate yourself. Your willpower will push you through all of these if you discipline it. You will achieve great results through discipline. We all have human weaknesses, cravings, other hobbies, and comfy beds that are always calling our names. Disciplining ourselves through learning the power of saying no strengthens our self-control and character.
This is my biggest weakness. I can be so eager to do better that I try to take on more than I can handle, which can result in disappointment or even injury. Patience needs to be taken seriously. We will not accomplish our end goal overnight and the faster we can accept this the easier it will be to get there. Though eagerness can be a great thing and keep us driven and pumped about our workout, if we are too eager it can harm us and sometimes set us back. This will drive anyone, especially an impatient person, crazy. Take your time. Make short-term goals as you continue working toward your end goal. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Be patient with your day to day progress and someday you will be able to look back and see how amazingly far you have come.
We all deserve a pat on the back when we’ve accomplished something great, even if it’s something as great as a short-term goal. It keeps ourselves motivated, our spirits lifted, and allows us to feel proud of ourselves. Nothing feels better than knowing we’ve accomplished something in our lives. Celebrate the little victories, but in a healthy way. I think we all allow ourselves to have a cheat meal now and then, but by eating unhealthy every time we accomplish something healthy is kind of contradictory and would not help our progress. Find a way to celebrate that won’t defeat the purpose of working out. I like to celebrate in a few different ways. Sometimes I will treat myself to some cute new clothes I had been eyeing at the store, or a classy pair of heels online (I buy them ahead of time and then don’t allow myself to wear them until I achieved my goal.) Another way I celebrate is by watching a movie I had waited to see, or watching the next episode of a show I had been following on Netflix. Keeping these rewards for when we’ve accomplished a goal will not only keep us driven, but will discipline us as well.
A few years ago I was contacted by a young woman who wanted to work on fitness. She asked me if I could teach her my routines and if she could join me for workouts. I was excited to help her out and agreed. Unfortunately, I learned through the daily meetups she was extremely pessimistic, had an awful tendency of complaining, disliked every tip, suggestion, and feedback I gave, and maintained such a negative mindset that even Robin Williams could not have cracked a smile on the face of this defeatist. Although the energy she brought to our workouts was quite detrimental, what it opened my eyes to was the gift of gratitude and how absolutely necessary it is for us to embrace it. For us to rise to our abilities, keep striving for better self-improvement, and for greater results we must be grateful for what we have been able to accomplish thus far. We must acknowledge our achievements, our efforts, and milestones we’ve reached. We must find gratitude in these moments and be thankful for having the ability to achieve them. Without gratitude we take everything for granted and don’t see the value nor the beauty of our own strength and abilities. Gratitude strengthens our mind, it influences our attitude, our outlook on life and self-image, and teaches us that we are enough. To have a grateful heart creates a peaceful mind and a happy life.
I believe that as long as we can keep ourselves motivated we are unstoppable. It doesn’t matter if we’ve been working out for years or for two days, anyone can lose motivation at anytime unless they strategize. These six insights are how I strategize. Not only have they kept me motivated at pursuing my goals, but gave me the strength to surpass them and accomplish much more than I had planned. By sticking to these I keep surprising myself with greater results. Give it your best shot and see how amazing your results can be!