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Motivation - Find it. Keep it.

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

Top Tips on finding motivation and then keeping it!





As we face unprecedented circumstances, our health is now our number one priority, so focusing on efficient movement, balanced nutrition and a positive mindset are more important than ever before. You may be finding that the current lockdown is making sticking to your routine far more difficult, in fact, you may have already had to implement a brand-new routine entirely. Are you finding yourself escaping to other activities, procrastinating, or simply avoiding exercise altogether? I understand that finding motivation to get moving can be tricky at the best of times despite the chaos going outside our door.

Here are some of my top tips for finding motivation and then sustaining it.

Move in a way that you enjoy

Firstly, you’re never going to do something if you don’t enjoy it. Alan Thicke said “Fitness needs to be perceived as fun and games or we subconsciously avoid it.”

Improving fitness, balancing nutrition and becoming more self-aware takes work. But we shouldn’t choose to think of it in that way. We need to be committed, yes, we need to apply effort and focus, but instead, think about approaching your health like you would a hobby and not another ‘job’ on your to-do list. A hobby is something you enjoy, something that you want to do and therefore you create time for it and make it a priority.

In order to want to get up and move more, it is important to find forms of exercise you enjoy to the extent that you don’t have to worry whether you do them or not, because you will as a matter of course. They become habitual. You will repeat them over time and suddenly find yourself following an exercise regime – you just won’t be doing it consciously or in the most conventional way. But any movement is better than no movement at all! Ask yourself what broad forms of exercise appeal to you. Try not to constrain yourself when considering forms of exercise. Remember – anything that involves elevating your resting heart rate should be considered exercise. Don’t be afraid to get creative. The crux is this: exercise should mean something to you. You should find yourself wanting to do it, not because you feel you should, but because it provides you with some value.


Push the button. Get Started.

Don’t think that you need to become a home-workout connoisseur overnight. Don’t expect to be running 10km PB’s. Everything is different and we need to manage expectation and cut ourselves a little slack. “Too often, we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action.” – James Clear author of Atomic Habits. How often do you psych yourself out of a workout before you’ve even started? You start making every excuse under the sun of why it’s going to be too hard, I don’t have enough time or energy. The issue here is, you’re looking up at the whole ladder rather than just the step that is right in front of you.

We need to prioritise and then simplify the process. Do you need to do a 60-minute workout or can you just start with 10 minutes? Do you need to do lots of complex movements that you don’t really know how to complete correctly or should you do the basics and do them well?

“Success is the product of daily habits and not once-in-a-lifetime transformations. You’re not suddenly going to get fit overnight and wake up shredded. You won’t suddenly understand the calorie content in a plate of food just by looking at it. You won’t suddenly become an expert at meditation and mindful journaling. But, you can’t make any positive steps in the right direction, if you don’t event push the start button.

Small wins, accumulate into BIG changes. If you make a choice that is 1% better every day, then over the span of days that makes up your lifetime, these choices will determine the difference between whether you achieve your goals or not.

If you’re moving more – no matter how inconsequentially – you’re exercising more. And if you can move a little more week by week, before long, you’ll be on the trajectory of where you want to me.



Accountability

Accountability is about accepting responsibility and it can be personal or public. High-performance coach, Fitness expert and author of ‘The Perfect Day Formula’ Craig Ballantyne promotes five key pillars to successful thinking. Two of these pillars are professional accountability and positive social support and they can be applied to helping you keep motivated.

Professional accountability.

Research shows that when you’re accountable to a professional, you’re going to get expert advice and you’re going to do the work. It has to be a mentor/mentee relationship, because a friend or spouse isn’t going to be hard enough on you. You need somebody to draw the hard line and that’s what a coach or personal trainer can provide.

Positive social support

Now this can be from friends, family or a community or positive and like-minded people. These people are your cheerleaders who are going to pick you up when you’re feeling down. This is why group fitness is so popular, people like to train with others for the social accountability and shared experience.

Share your goals.

Whether in a group or with a couple of friends, share your fitness goals and timelines. If you have a friend who is also focused on fitness, commit to keeping each other accountable. Ask each other questions about your workouts each week. There is power in numbers. Alternatively, post your fitness goals on social media or find an accountability group online.



Make it easy, obvious, attractive and satisfying

In James Clear’s book Atomic Habits, he describes the Four Key Laws for Behavioural Change that help you to build better systems and shape better habits. “Sometimes a habit will be hard to remember and you will need to make it OBVIOUS. Other times you won’t feel like starting and you’ll need to make it ATTRACTIVE. In many cases, you may find that a habit will be too difficult and you’ll need to make it EASY. And sometimes, you won’t feel like sticking with it and you’ll need to make it SATISFYING.

I’ve already talked about a few ideas to help improve and sustain motivation which can be applied to other areas in your life, not just your health, but here are some more specific example that we can apply the Four Laws too:

Create a workout schedule

There’s something about seeing your workout schedule written down. Put it on a calendar somewhere you will see often throughout the day. Cross out each workout as you go and be accountable to yourself - Progress is a great motivator.

Alternatively, write your training days down in your diary like any other commitment, schedule it in as a priority and daily non-negotiable.

Consider a long-term program

It’s much easier to stick with a long-term fitness program than to choose random workouts and classes as you go. All the planning and organisation is done for you so you can dive straight in to the session and not waste time. Failure to prepare = prepare to fail! With a programme, all you have to do is stick to the plan each day. You are also often committing up front for an extended period of time which again provides accountability. When you pay for something and invest in it, you are more likely to make it a priority. Long-term programmes should also be long enough for you to form new habits and break old ones. If you have the means, consider working with a personal trainer, nutritionist or mindset coach.

Disconnect all devices

Get rid of distractions. Your digital devices offer many options for skipping out on workouts. Social media, streaming videos and games are all common ways to escape your routine. If you need your phone for your programme, just put it on airplane mode so you don’t get notifications buzzing though. Do away with all distractions.

Prep your workout clothes

If you’re scheduled to work out in the morning, try laying out your clothes before you go to bed. This gives you more time in bed and means they are easily accessible first this in the morning. Remove the hurdle and make the task easy and obvious.

In summary, choose a method of movement that is enjoyable for you.

· It doesn’t need to be overly complex; it just needs to be effective.

· Simplify, prioritise and then just start. Start with 10 mins and it will build from there.

· Find yourself some accountability and a support network.

· Create systems around your routine that make the process obvious and easy.

· Know that by making your health a top priority you are benefiting yourself and your loved ones.


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