When it comes to my fitness routine, I feel like I’m constantly getting questions around how I stay so motivated. Well, let me tell you something – I don’t. Not all of the time. There are several moments where I lack the discipline, the inspiration, the interest, the motivation. There are days I hit snooze or turn off the alarm all together. There are days I indulge and days that I skip the gym.
If there is one thing I’ve learned over the past several months is that all of those things I listed above are OKAY. Falling off track for a day or three doesn’t mean you’re done making progress. Taking your time to rev up and find a cadence that works for you doesn’t mean you’ll never get there. Finding motivation at any stage of your journey can be tricky and staying motivated despite what life throws your way is an even bigger beast. I don’t have all of the answers but there are a few tips that I’ve picked up for those indays when I’m feeling uninspired or need a good pep talk with myself.
Internal vs. External Motivators.
I’ve been doing a lot of research lately about the mind and it’s connection to health + fitness. When it comes to motivation, there are two types that play a major role in how we pursue things. The first is through intrinsic motivation. This means that someone is internally motivated because of the joy something brings to them. Someone that is intrinsically motivated might go for a run every morning gat 5am because it truly brings them joy. Spoiler, few people are motivated strictly by internal motivators. However, most of us are motivated by the external stuff. When someone is extrinsically motivated, outside factors like a spouse or weight loss or money might keep them motivated
The point of all of that is this: Find out what motivates you. Why do you want to pursue a health journey? Why do you want to go to the gym every day? Why do you want to eat healthier? When starting out, most of us have only external motivators and that is 100% normal and okay. But as you start making habits out of the gym or a better diet, take note of the parts of this new routine that bring you joy and incorporate more of that.
For me, I don’t always love going to the gym but I do love kickboxing classes. I feel like a total badass and every single time I’m in a class, I’m genuinely feeling that joy element. So, if there is a day I don’t feel like going to the gym for a regular workout, I book a kickboxing class instead of cancelling a sweat all together because I know I’ll look forward to it. Same goes for my diet. I don’t eat great all of the time but anyone that knows me knows that pasta brings me SO MUCH joy. Since it would be impossible for me to maintain my progress and feel good on the inside if I ate loaded pasta at every meal, I opt for healthier alternatives that still spark that happy feeling but also align with my health goals.
Your goal should be getting to that point of intrinsic motivation while also identifying a few external motivators that will keep you on track.
This is the thing that helps me most. Structure. I schedule out my workouts in my calendar at the start of every week like I would an important meeting or appointment.
Another great form of structure to help keep you on track is writing out your workouts before you head to the gym or mapping out a menu/meal plan for the week. Every Sunday night, I do both of these things. If I’m doing two spin classes and three gym days, I’ll go to the Notes app on my phone and list out the exercises I’m going to do for Gym Day 1, Gym Day 2 and Gym Day 3. I also write out my meals for the week and try to do as much meal prep on Sunday or Monday as I can so I have no excuses.
For me, having this layer of structure helps to keep my accountable and I avoid that whole “I don’t have time to go to the gym,” or “I don’t know what to do at the gym,” or “I only have time to grab fast food since I didn’t cook last night” thing.
Surround yourself with a hype team.
This is probably not a surprise at all but I think it’s a much needed reminder. I’ve had so many people reach out to me saying that they felt motivated to go the gym after they saw that I struggled to get to the gym that morning but made it. Take that same concept and apply it to your life. Surround yourself with people that are on the same journey as you. Whether it’s a boyfriend, best friend, family member or fitness account on Instagram, connect and engage with people that motivate and inspire you without stirring up that nasty feeling of comparison or self-doubt/negativity. Seeing someone else progress might inspire you to keep going. Hearing about someone having a similar roadblock but overcoming it will totally give you the push you need to power through. Having someone that you can vent to and share war stories with and also celebrate the accomplishments with – that’s what we all need.