When it comes to setting goals, fitness and exercise tend to be very popular. Each year, millions of people set goals to lose weight, exercise more, build muscle, win an athletic competition, or run a marathon. And each year, millions of people fail to realize their goals.
This can happen for any number of reasons, but it’s often directly tied to a lack of motivation. If you can learn how to stay motivated, you stand a much better chance of reaching your goals.
Why Do We Lose Motivation?
Motivation is at an all-time high during the goal-setting process. In fact, it’s motivation that drives us to set goals in the first place. We’re unsatisfied with where things currently are and want to reach a new status or level, so we set goals to guide us to this new/better state of being.
Once we set a goal, we then have to go through the grind of actually fulfilling the steps required to achieve the goal. These steps are usually characterized by some level of pain, discomfort, or sacrifice. (For example, if the goal is to lose weight, you have to do a lot of tough cardio work and sacrifice time that could otherwise be spent doing more enjoyable things, like watching Netflix or sleeping.)
If we get good outputs from the inputs, it motivates us and actually increases the desire to continue. But if there’s a discrepancy between the results we want and the results we get, it leads to frustration and pessimism. This is where motivation and goals go to die.
Common reasons and factors for losing motivation include:
- Lack of results. We live in a real-time, on-demand culture where we expect to get results right away. Fast-food, next-day delivery, live streaming, Google searches – all of these new developments have conditioned us to believe results are immediate. Unfortunately, health goals take months and years to achieve. Failing to keep a long-term vision can lead you to give up prematurely.
- Boredom. In the beginning, the pursuit of a goal is exciting. You can feel yourself getting closer and closer. But as time passes, it’s easy to get bored with the daily “grind.” This erodes motivation and often leads people astray from their goals.
- Disbelief. Do you actually believe that it’s possible to achieve your goal? If the goal is too lofty or aggressive, it’s easy to fall into the trap of pessimism and apathy.
- Selfishness. The best goals are at least partially tied to other people and/or outcomes that are bigger than just you. For example, you might want to lose weight to reduce your risk of a heart attack so that you can be there for your children. Weak goals, on the other hand, are only about you. This limits motivation.
More often than not, it’s a combination of these factors that leads to dwindling motivation. And while you’re always going to battle these factors at some level, they don’t have to characterize your pursuit of fitness goals.
5 Tips for Staying Motivated
Motivation is arguably the most important ingredient in accomplishing a fitness goal. If you can learn how to bottle up motivation, you’ll rarely find yourself falling behind. Here are some helpful tips:
1. Set Better Goals
The proper goal will help you stay motivated. Aside from following the SMART acronym – which says goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely – we recommend shrinking the timeline.
Most people set annual goals. So on January 1, they might set a goal of losing 25 pounds over the course of a year. The problem with this traditional way of thinking is that it takes too long. In the grand scheme of things, trying to do something for an entire year quickly becomes frustrating. This is why most people give up after four to six weeks.
The better plan is to set 90-day goals. This is long enough to get something done, but short enough that you never lose sight of the outcome. Once the 90 days are up, you set another 90-day goal (and so on).
2. Remind Yourself of Your ‘Why’
Wake up each morning and remind yourself of your “why.” Verbalize it by speaking a statement out loud at least 10 times. For example, “I will run a marathon this year in order to honor my dad who always wanted to see me run one.” Saying this out loud is much more powerful than just thinking to yourself, “I have to run a marathon because that’s my goal!”
3. Get Accountability
You’ll be much more motivated to succeed if you have accountability in your corner. This could be something as simple as having a couple of workout buddies who check in with you each week to see how many times you worked out. Or it could be something as formal as hiring a personal trainer to workout alongside you.
4. Make Exercise Fun
Naturally, we like to do things that are fun. We don’t like to do things that are painful or grueling. You can flip the way you view exercise by making it more fun. Here are some ways to do this:
- Create a workout playlist of your favorite upbeat songs.
- Give yourself permission to watch your favorite TV show while running on the treadmill.
- Reward yourself with your favorite cheat meal anytime you work out at least five times in a week.
5. Create Variety
Boredom is a big motivation killer. If you want to stay energized and focused, you have to create some variety in your workout plan. This is one of the reasons why cross-training is so effective. In addition to working different parts of your body and amplifying your results, it adds some variety to your routine.
But even if you aren’t interested in cross-training, there are still plenty of ways to implement variety. Take running, for example. If you run on the treadmill at your gym five days a week, you’re eventually going to fizzle out. Instead, try switching things up by also running in your neighborhood, at a local park, or at a nearby track. The variety helps you stay fresh.
Stay Motivated With an Online Personal Trainer
Sometimes you just need a little extra motivation. Hiring an online personal trainer can provide that additional jolt. At DeMetz online personal training, we help you develop a personalized fitness schedule that works for your goals, schedule, and individual needs. There are no templates or copy-and-paste plans here – everything is 100 percent customized.
Contact us today to learn more!
Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, Utah State University, and the ISSA College of Exercise Science.
Nathan has 20 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.
To work with Nathan directly on your personal training goals, contact him today!