I have been a personal trainer since 2001, and in that time I have lost count of the number of people who have said that they either lack motivation to train or that they felt very motivated over the first month or two of training, before gradually feeling their interest slip.
I’ve also met and spoken to many people who have moved from one big chain gym to another, tried pilates or power plate sessions or continually switched the personal trainer that they use – all in the vain hope that this time things will be different. They hope that this new gym or this new exercise class will change their body and that they will be more motivated than ever. Very rarely does this prove to be true.
In fact, regularly feeling motivated is much easier to achieve than most of us have been led to believe. It is not some magical formula, but rather a simple process to follow:
1. Your goal must really excite you
And I mean really excite you. Which is why it’s best to try to avoid setting goals such as to ‘tone up’ or ‘get fitter’. It can be very hard to get excited about something as generic as that. Your goal could be to have more energy when spending time with your children, family or friends. It could be to fit into a dress or a suit that you love, or to run a 5k event or another endurance event. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what your goal is – it just matters that you are excited about achieving your goal.
2. Know exactly what you want
When setting your fitness goals, this is no time to be vague. The more you can be descriptive and use emotional and powerful words, the more motivated you will become. Be totally specific. Don’t say ‘I want to lose a bit of weight’, say exactly how much weight you want to lose and over what time frame. The combination of setting a goal which excites you and knowing exactly what you want to achieve will not only motivate you to train, but it will also help you to make the right nutritional and lifestyle choices – such as saying no to that packet of crisps, chocolate, biscuits or glass of wine.
When setting your goal, avoid using the word ‘but’. This is generally the word that gets used just as excuses are about to be made.
3. Re-visit your goals on the days you don’t want to train
Okay, so here’s the disclaimer – you won’t feel motivated before every single training session. That’s when you need to remind yourself of why you started training in the first place, and I make no apologies for revisiting point number one. Your training goal must be a compelling one! Your vision for how healthy you look and feel, and for achieving your goals, has to be bright. At first, feeling motivated is vital because it’s what gets us started. However, over time motivation becomes less important and we can start to rely on the habits and routines which form over time. This means we can achieve our goals both in the short and long term.