“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily,” Zig Zaglar.
So, you finally decided to take action and commit to your health. You have thought about what you want to accomplish and set some goals for yourself. The question that everyone tends to ask themselves is, “How do I fuel my motivation? How do I stay focused and keep my energy and commitment engaged?” Just like the quote states, we need to keep adding wood everyday for the fire of motivation to keep burning. Below are some quick tips to help you stay focused and motivated.
1. First write it down. This is to act as a constant reminder that you have given yourself a challenge. It also allows you adapt and change your goal to your requirements. Make sure the goal is challenging, but also a realistic target. You may well believe you have the potential fitness of an Olympian, but set yourself stepping stones to get there.
2. Break it down into small baby steps. People tend to be afraid of change because change is hard and the status quo is easier. But if you take a big goal and break it down in achievable smaller goals. For instance, if you have never worked out before and you are just beginning, set a goal of perhaps 15 minutes every day. Once you are used to the 15 minutes, increase the time by 5 minutes. You can do this with almost any goal and eventually as you succeed, you will see the fire of your motivation light up.
3. Use time management to stay motivated. If a plethora of to-do’s is getting you bogged down, stay motivated by prioritizing.
- Do today – Focus on what needs to be done immediately.
- Do later – This is what can be done after your urgent task for the day is completed. If you get your “do today” tasks completed, consider these bonus accomplishments. These are items that can be pushed back to a later time if needed.
- Do someday – These are things that you are striving for on a long-term basis. They may be things you have always wanted to do and will be able to eventually. Though, despite your excitements about these items, if you have more urgent tasks get those done first.
4. Focus on a positive image of yourself looking fitter. Imagine other environmental factors such as other people admiring your physique; perhaps on a beach on holiday. Imagine the emotions you will be feeling when you are happy with the way you look. Try looking from a different perspective, i.e. imagining what you look like from the third person. It is important to constantly feed yourself positive messages alongside imagery e.g. “I can do it”!
5. Monitoring your progress. This concept can involve keeping training logs, online blogging and exercise calendars. Keeping track of your exercise progress is always a good tactic in maintaining motivation. It gives you a chance to register improvements as well as acting as a drive to push yourself harder.
6. Gather as much social support as you can. An exercise partner, an exercise blog, posting your accomplishments on social media, telling your friends and family or your goals, etc. Unlike interactive apps giving you the push to train, using another person to exercise alongside you is also an effective method of keeping motivated. Smith, Ullrich-French, Walker and Hurley (2006) found that having a friend to take part in sport and train with results in higher sense of motivation.
To summarize, there are many different ways in which you can fuel your motivation to exercise or just about any other goal you set for yourself. Hopefully some of the methods presented in this article can give you a few ideas. It takes about 30 days of you consistently doing something to make it a habit, so FUEL THE FIRE!