For the vast majority of people there are times when we struggle to remain as focused, committed and motivated towards our training and healthy eating programs. This may be because we are tired, bored or simply struggling with our energy levels and focus in general and while motivation is unfortunately something you cannot bottle, there are a few powerful questions that you may be able to ask, that may help to clarify what exactly you are doing when it comes to your commitment to health and fitness, and why you are doing it.
Locate your driving force
In busy lives it can be easy to forget why we do what we do – we get so caught up in our day to day lives that we fail to remember the very reason that we began a hobby, pastime or activity. You may have started to train regularly to get fit, or to get out and enjoy nature more often. You may have started to make new friends or build a life outside of work or you may have simply always loved to exercise and needed to schedule it in to make sure you did it. Whatever the reason, rather than looking at eating well and exercising as an extra on you to do list, when motivation is waning take time out to remember the real reasons that you choose to look after your body and your health. Once you remove the ‘must to’ from your mind, you will be driven by enjoyment and pleasure, for which motivation is far easier to find.
Seek out new experiences
As is the case with anything we do regularly, it can be easy to become bored, particularly if you have followed the same training program or healthy eating program for months if not years. If you are not feeling overly challenged with your current regime, it is time to mix things up a little. Have your training program altered, try a new eating plan, or seek out a new buddy to train with. Sometimes a simple change in scenery is all we need to regroup, re-energise and rediscover the passion and enjoyment we have for our training and our food.
One of the biggest issues when it comes to behavioural change is that we follow an ‘all or nothing approach’ – it is not good enough to do one ride each week, if you have not done five, it is not worth it. The same eat pretty well, your diet has to be ‘perfect’; you go off the rails and overdo things at one meal and then ride off the rest of the week. When motivation is lagging, the best thing you can is be kind to yourself and start with small changes. Start with planning your foo in advance and work towards eating well most of the time. Or if you do not exercise regularly, start with just one set session a week. Once you have some basic habits instilled, you can continue to build from there.
Don’t think about it, just do it!
Ruminating over what we ‘should’ and ‘should not’ be doing has to be one of the greatest time wasters of all – if you have a tendency to overthink things it is time to shift these thought patterns to ‘doing’. When you notice yourself starting to play mind games, it thing of excuses and options to eat rubbish or to skip training, shift your thought processed to ‘doing’ by asking the question, ‘what can I do right now that will move me forward’. Controlling undermining negative thoughts is a powerful aspect of managing energy levels and ultimately motivation.
A common characteristic of people who do what they set their minds to doing and those who do not is that those who keep focused and on track, tend not to resort to excuses. Instead they are constantly looking for ways to achieve things rather than for reasons not to. Once we commit to the mantra of ‘no excuses’ on a daily basis, the need for motivation becomes less and less relevant.