A killer strategy to make sure you don’t miss your workouts
When was the last time you had to motivate yourself to go to work? Or to take a shower? Go to the toilet?
Yeah, that last one is a bit of a stretch I know. But I think I made my point. There are a lot of activities we do for which we do not stop and go search for motivation to get them started right? And if we did, we would probably need more than motivation, as we were probably having a more serious problem underneath.
What Is Motivation Anyway?
Motivation = Motive + Action
Motivation drives us to act upon what can take us to achieve our goals. And I am sure that you do not lack reasons to want to work out. Well, maybe not to work out, but to collect the results of working out consistently.
Now there are two types of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic.
The first one is related to the outside. The rewards we get. Like recognition or praises. What others will say of what we are doing.
The second comes from within the individual. Such as our own gratification for completing a task.
One fun thing about these kinds of motivation is that sometimes external motivation kills internal motivation. The typical artist dilemma. If no one pays me to create my art, then it is the real deal (internal motivation to create). Once I am paid to create (external motivation in the form of money), then it no longer has the same meaning.
Now if we look back to why you want to work out, and if your main concern is the results that will have on your body, your motivation is probably extrinsic as it has to do with how you will look to others after. You might argue that your motivation is purely personal and related to how you feel – that is fair. But there is still one problem.
Even having intrinsic reasons to get the results of exercising, if you are still looking for motivation to execute the action, then that means the activity itself is not rewarding. There is no intrinsic motivation to perform the action of working out.
I believe this is eye-opening as it sheds light on the common advice to select an activity that we like.
What If I Don’t Like Any Activity?
Well, that was my main problem.
Before we dig into that, let us just recap. So far, we have established that the best way to motivate ourselves long-term is to find our intrinsic motivation to get a workout done. And to achieve that, we need to find an activity that gives us pleasure to perform. And jumping around or doing push-ups for the sake of doing them might not be the deal for us.
First Step. Have you really considered all possibilities?
Strength training, group classes, HIIT, boxing, dancing, walking, running. Have you really tried it all? Or have you just assumed you would not like any of them without really giving it a go?
My first challenge to you is (no, not to try them all, wait a second), to analyze all possibilities and rank them. I know there are some that you might know from the start you do not enjoy (if you are more of an introvert it might be a pain to go to classes I know). So, just pick 2 or 3 you would be willing to try.
Second Step. How do you face the activity?
Now, as we said before, the intrinsic motivation comes from within, for the reward the activity gives us. Like taking a walk in the park because it makes us feel good. But there is another way to create that sense of internal motivation.
And that is by personal improvement. We might not enjoy doing push-ups. But if we are doing them to increase our strength and core stability to be able to do a handstand (and of course, at the same time, doing a specific handstand training), then we might feel more motivated to do the parts of the workout we do not like so much. Because we feel it does help us to achieve the other goal-
So, let us say you picked strength training in the previous step. You might still not be super motivated because you do not particularly enjoy the activity. But how can you shift the way you look at it by having other rewards other than just performing it? By increasing your strength, using more weight, or improving your form. You could film yourself doing your first training to compare after how much you have improved.
The Last Step
There is one last step related now to the results you want to achieve. And that is the real motivation everyone is looking for.
The Real Motivation Based On Results
The good news is that yes, such a concept exists. The bad news, however, is that it requires something you do not have at the beginning: results.
It is when the first results start to show that we start to feel really motivated to continue to do the actions we need to do to have those results. At that point, nobody needs to look outside of themselves for motivation. It is right there in the mirror.
But the question is: how do you get there?
Prepare Your Systems
So now you know what motivation is, what kinds of motivation exist, and exactly how to get them. But to get to the best part, the one based on results, you need to stay consistent at least for some time to experience those results.
And the only way to do that is by implementing bullet prof systems and routes that do not allow you to fail. And no, that does not mean you need to jump into a crazy workout routine and stick to it. Exactly the opposite. You need to create for yourself a step-by-step approach to implementing small habits that make sure you complete the end goal: working out.
- Start slow. Like really, slow.
Decide a goal for the week that there is no way you can fail. For example, define you will work out once a week only. Make that commitment with yourself.
- Plan ahead the small steps you need to take
What do you need to have done to make sure you work out? Space? Clothes? Finishing your work on time? Define what you need and put reminders to get that ready
- External accountability
Contrary to external motivation, accountability is extremely helpful to get one to exercise consistently. Have a friend or a family member help you with this, if you have someone supportive you can call upon. If not, a fitness coach or a personal trainer at the gym can be an option.
- Make it so easy you can do it with your eyes closed
Have you ever washed your teeth almost sleeping in the lavatory? Well, I did. And you know why I can still do it almost asleep? Because it is a habit. So much rooted in me that even when I am super sleepy, I still remember to do it. And even in the days I forget, when I get to bed it just feels wrong and I need to get up again to clean them. So, my last advice for you: make it easy and repeat until it feels uncomfortable to not doing it. Because it will. In time.
One Final Note If You Still Think You Need More Help
I have a coaching program that focuses exactly on habit building. It is an 8-week program with personalized training and nutrition coaching created to help those that had troubles sticking to other fitness programs. It focuses on the exact 4 steps you just read above, and it really helps to solve this issue.
But do not take my word for it. I have a small 6-days free trial where you can see for yourself how I apply these concepts and how my coaching works. Completely free, no commitment whatsoever, and no card details required. You just need to sign up below to create an account and an email will be sent to you with the access links.
The Fitness Coach behind coachM. Extremely focused on the path ahead and someone who will make you accountable for your progress.
Always concerned with the proper form, as no results come from half done exercises. But the mind comes first, because it is the one that controles everything.