I have chosen to write this article, because over the last number of weeks, many people have expressed their difficulties in finding the motivation to make a start on their 2017 health (lifestyle) and fitness goals. So, here are my tips to help you get the wheels turning.
- Identify why you want to achieve this goal.
- Find your intrinsic motivation.
- Make a list detailing each of these rewards and how completing the task leads to each reward.
- Keep that list close to an area where you spend most of your day, to remind you of why you have chosen this goal.
- If this feels too daunting take your current goal and list 5 benefits of completing it.
- Then list 5 benefits of not completing it.
- Look at these two lists and compare the consequences and rewards.
- This will help you to work out what’s gone wrong, and to take steps to sort any underlying issues.
- That you’ve identified a problem is an important first step. It shows you want to make a change.
- The key now is to do something about it.
Set Attainable Goals
Smaller goals are often easier and quickly offer a sense of accomplishment.
Make a list in two columns:
Column 1: What are your most important goals?
Column 2: What’s on your to-do list?
If your items in Column 2 have little to do with your objectives in Column 1, you have a problem. To solve it, you may need to rearrange your time and devote more energy toward what counts. This will help you build momentum. The key is to think both short-term and long-term. For example, if you’re having trouble achieving a 100kg bench press to the gym because it seems too difficult, then, don’t focus on that final number. Consider each step of your training routine separately. Now you’re dealing with a familiar task, not unlike hitting a big lift you’ve succeeded in performing before.
Acknowledge your Achievements
When you’ve got momentum going, it’s tempting to jump from goal to goal. Sometimes, though, this can make you feel stressed, like you’re not getting enough done. Instead, pause after you’ve reached a goal or give yourself a quick reward. Chill out, go to the cinema, catch up with a friend, have a few drinks, do whatever works for you.
Rehearse activities in your head so you can see they are achievable. Visualize how you will appear when you have achieved some of your longer-term goals, such as when you achieve that 10lbs weight loss goal.
Examine your Emotions
People find it hard to motivate themselves when they’re upset, anxious, depressed, stressed or worried. Think about how you manage these difficulties and how much you link the negative emotion to the work. Whatever the cause of this, such emotions impede your ability to work at full capacity. Talking to others, gentle exercise, relaxation, sleeping well and other forms of self-care can help you to manage the negativity. Try to manage your time effectively and recognize it is vital for you to have time for fun and relaxation.
Recognise and Challenge your Negative Thoughts
Most of us are so good at concentrating on the negative we don’t even notice that we are doing it. It is very hard to want to do something you tell yourself you can’t do. Notice when this happens and challenge it. If your friend was struggling with their work would you be overtly critical? Probably not, you would be supportive. Can you be your own friend?
Examine your Self-belief
All activities involve a degree of personal competence. Some people can only succeed with a goal if they receive encouragement from others (extrinsic motivation). It’s therefore important to establish what skills and knowledge you have and recognise areas that need work. This will help you establish a sense of competence and self-esteem based on self-worth, rather than on approval from others. Research reveals that people who believe they can perform well at a given activity are more likely to fare better at it and persevere, than those who expect to fail.
We are people of habit and we get into patterns of behaviour. If you’ve ever been swimming or running and then you stop for a moment it can be very hard to start again. Think of that time when it felt impossible to get out of bed and go the gym. Then think about the time you were training really hard just before a holiday in the sun. When you are on a roll try to keep going just a little longer. Remember that you have found your motivation before. What helped then and could this help again now?
Understand that there’s no Simple Solution
Motivation is present whenever there is a clear vision, precise knowledge of what one wants to do, a strong desire and faith in one’s abilities. This is a tough combination to maintain which is why staying motivated is a struggle. Everyone faces doubt. Don’t be too hard on yourself when you are having a bad day. Refer back to the strategies you have created to ensure that because of one bad day, your motivation doesn’t crumble. There is no simple solution for a lack of motivation. Even after beating it, the problem can reappear at the first sign of failure. The key to overcoming it is understanding your thoughts and how they drive your emotions. By learning how to nurture motivating thoughts, neutralize negative ones, and focus on the task at hand, you can pull yourself out of a slump before it gains momentum.