10 Strategies to Regain Your Motivation
Training hard and eating clean have been a priority in my life for many years. Eating clean came a few years after training hard if I’m being honest… Nowadays these two habits are an integral part of my lifestyle. However, that’s not to say that I don’t lose motivation to train or eat right sometimes. I go through phases where I just get bored with my training or where I fall into a tailspin of just eating whatever the hell I want. I honestly can’t even count how many times it’s happened and to me it’s something that’s completely normal. Let’s face it; you are not going to do everything right all the time. You’re going to fall off the wagon from time to time.
If you are going through a phase of low motivation and struggling to get back into a healthy lifestyle, stop beating yourself up. You’re not a failure. I can tell you from repeated, personal experience that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Using these experiences I have put together a list of 10 strategies to help you regain your motivation.
- Hit your workout earlier in the day.
We’ve all been there. You start the day planning to work out later in the afternoon or at night, but when that time rolls around you just can’t drag yourself to the gym. A big reason for this is that you just went through an entire day of work and other stresses, requiring you to make decisions. So, when the end of the day rolls around you can experience decision fatigue, or the deteriorating ability to make good decisions. In other words, what sounded like a good idea at 7 AM when you were fresh somehow sounds like a bad idea at 7 PM due to this fatigue. By working out earlier in the day, you can avoid missing your workout due to decision fatigue.
- Make a bitchin playlist!
In my experience a good playlist can work as good as anything to give you an immediate motivation boost. Put this on as you are getting ready to go work out, when you are cooking a healthy meal, or going grocery shopping. Maybe you make multiple playlists depending on if you want to feel good or need a little kick to get going. The songs on these playlist should be positive and speak to you in some meaningful way. They should also probably vary in intensity. For instance, my playlists range from “Love Myself” by Hailee Steinfeld to “Go Forever” by Rob Bailey. Train your mind to know that when that playlist comes on, it’s go time.
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- Set a very reasonable short term goal.
A goal is the perfect way to set your intention for working out and eating clean. However, if you have been struggling to find motivation, it’s important that this goal is not too daunting at first; make it something that you know you can achieve with a little bit of effort. For instance, lose 1 pound this week or add 5 pounds to your back squat this month. By setting a reasonable goal and achieving it, you experience one small success. Then, you can make another perhaps slightly larger goal. This is a great way to gain momentum through continual demonstrated success.
- Take baby steps at first.
This one goes along with the setting of very reasonable short term goals, but refers to the daily execution. Do not try to go from not working out at all to hitting the gym 5 days per week. This is too much of a shift and not easy to maintain. Instead, start with 2 days per week. Also, when just getting back into working out don’t try to commit to 2 hour long, crazy, intense workouts. This too will seem daunting. Instead, just commit to showing up to the gym and doing one thing. That way you know that as long as you show up and do this one thing, you get a win and usually once you’re there you are much more likely to do a little more.
- Do workouts that you find enjoyable.
I can’t stress this one enough. If you want to make working out a lifestyle and something that’s maintainable, you have to enjoy what you’re doing. Now, I do think it’s important to occasionally do things you’re not good at or to try new things, but if you are coming out of a slump I would start out only doing things you like. So, if you love lifting weights, but hate running, don’t join a running club. Go to the gym and lift weights.
- Create built in reward days.
This is a very effective strategy for eating clean that I use pretty much weekly. It can be very hard to say no to foods that you love when trying to clean up your diet. However, if you allow yourself 1-2 planned meals throughout the week where you get to indulge in your favorite “cheat foods”, it becomes much easier to eat your chicken and broccoli, because you know that you get a burger and fries soon.
- Work out with a group.
Working out in a group class setting can make it a lot easier to work out, because the instructor tells you what to do and how to do it, and there is a social element to your workouts. You and the rest of the group get to share in the suffering of the workout together, encourage each other and create friendships. It becomes a lot easier to show up when you are surrounded by great people.
- Get outside.
I always feel better when I get outside and soak in the sun and fresh air. Whenever I’m experiencing a funk and don’t feel like working out, I just take my workouts outside. Getting out of a stuffy gym can literally be a breath of fresh air. Run outside, go for a hike, take a swim, just get outside.
- Get enough sleep.
I’m not going to lie; I am the biggest baby ever when I don’t enough sleep. When I don’t get 7-8 hours of sleep at night it becomes very hard for me to get motivated to do anything because I’m so tired. I know I’m not the only person like this, because a lot of the excuses I hear from people for not working out is because they are too tired. If this is the case then you need to make a sleep a priority and get your 7-8 hours. Not only will you have more energy, but it is probably the easiest thing you can do to lose weight.
- Track your progress.
If you are trying to make working out and eating clean a lifestyle, it is important that you track your progress. Track it in many different forms. Keep track of how many pounds and inches you are losing or gaining. Keep track of the weights you are lifting and your scores on workouts. Take progress photos of yourself periodically. By tracking your progress in as many forms as possible, you can celebrate your successes and always find something to motivate you to work towards.
That wraps up my 10 strategies to regain your motivation. I hope that these help you when you are struggling to break through a phase of low motivation. However, it is important to remember that these are just strategies to help you along your path. The real key to long lasting commitment and motivation is to remind yourself why you started the journey in the first place. Was it to feel happy with your body? To gain more confidence? To be around longer for your family? To push yourself mentally and physically? Be very honest with yourself about why you started this lifestyle and if you’ve never thought about it, then it is time to define your why. If you are experiencing a lack of motivation it could be that the path you are on now is not aligned with why you started this journey in the first place. Whatever your reason was for starting your fitness journey, you must keep that in your mind and use it to guide you on your path. When your actions are aligned with your inner values that is when you will experience long lasting commitment and motivation.
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