Most of us who work out on a regular basis have experienced times when we really lacked the motivation to exercise. Once you make a decision to get into shape and start working out, you have certain expectations about the results of your commitment and how soon they’ll come. If the expected outcome isn’t achieved in the period we imagined, we tend to get frustrated and simply give up.
All those crises appear when negative thoughts start creeping in and those thoughts are always a consequence of the discrepancy between our expectations and reality. So, what can we do to overcome or prevent such moments?
1. Set realistic, specific and attainable goals
If you set yourself a goal of becoming fitter, you might have problems measuring your success. Instead, you should be more specific and focus on measurable goals, such as losing three inches from your waist or five kilograms. Once you set a goal, define a realistic period during which you’ll work towards achieving that goal. Significant results can’t be achieved overnight, which is why you shouldn’t expect a miracle.
Similarly, setting a goal that is too easily achieved will not be challenging enough, which ultimately leads to boredom, i.e. the ultimate buzz-killer. If you’re not sure what is realistic, you might want to talk to your fitness coach who should be able to help. Fitness apps and fitness trackers are a good way of being coached and recording your workouts.
2. Put together a fitness plan
Once you’ve set your goal(s), you need to come up with a strategy that will help you reach them. You need to be aware that there are always many different roads you can take on your way to success, so you need to carefully choose the most effective one. This plan might include regular visits to a gym or some form of outdoor exercise, such as hiking, cycling and jogging.
Again, it would be wise to consult an expert, who will help you with your choice and give your daily goals. Having a well-structured plan is crucial to maintaining or even boosting your motivation.
3. Know your limits
After the initial success that ensues once you start exercising, you fall into the trap of increasing the intensity and duration of your training in order to reach even better results than originally planned. This is dangerous because you might get frustrated or become disinterested if your new goals are not met. What’s more, you’d be running a much greater risk of injuring yourself, which will not only bring about new problems but also prevent you from continuing with your exercise.
4. Treat yourself
It’s important to reward yourself occasionally in order to celebrate the results and provide motivation for future challenges. The reward may come in the form of some new training equipment, nicely designed bodybuilding clothes or anything else that will make you happy.
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5. Keep a record
If you’re diligent enough to keep a record of the time you’ve spent working out and the type of activities you’ve done, you will have an excellent reminder of how far you’ve come, which is a great motivator when times get tough. It can also serve as an inspiration for future tasks since you’ll be able to see how much you’ve already done and you’ll see that you are capable of taking up new challenges.
6. Introduce variety
Getting stuck with the same training routine is quite detrimental to your motivation. That’s why you need to introduce some variety to your exercise plan. Mixing up your training with some cross-training will help you prevent becoming demotivated and bored. Apart from this mental aspect, you need to be aware that certain parts of your body that are under a lot of stress during your routine exercise deserve a break.
7. Find a role model
You need to be constantly aware of the reasons why you’ve taken up exercising in the first place. It may be anything from being a role model for your kids to running a marathon for charity. In any case, thinking about the reasons why you’re working out will help you maintain the level of motivation necessary for achieving your ultimate goal.
What you need to know is that the most important thing is the first step, i.e. the fact that you’ve started working towards improving your health and fitness. All other obstacles can be overcome with more or less effort, but they are by no means insurmountable, as long as you remember why you’re working out and what you want to achieve.