Did Your Motivation Run Away and You Can’t Find It? Here Is How to Get It Back
So, you want to start living a healthier lifestyle? We all have different motives, maybe your goal is to lose 20lbs, get six pack abs or it’s as simple as get healthier. No matter what your end goal is, you are bound to hit roadblocks on your journey to a healthier lifestyle, it happens to each, and every one of us. You make it to the gym three days in a row, you’re feeling great and you go to bed excited to get up early the next day and hit the gym before work, but you wake up and have zero motivation, does this sound familiar? This happens to everyone, its nothing out of the ordinary, but its how you manage to overcome obstacles like this that will make you successful and help you live a healthier lifestyle. Below (in no particular order) are 19 ways to overcome that voice in your head that says, “You can just go to the gym tomorrow” or “Is it really worth getting out of bed to go to the gym?”.
1. Make a list of foods you can and can’t eat
It is best to do some research before making this list, so you can determine what kind of diet you would like to start. You might be saying, “How do I know what is healthy or unhealthy?”, this might be a little easier than you think. Do you think a Big Mac should be on your list of “Yes” foods? Of course not! Everyone knows that! Your diet is the biggest factor in getting in shape. You can work out all you want, but if you aren’t eating right, it won’t make much of a difference. A great way to determine what diet is right for you is to consult a personal trainer or nutritionist.
2. Clean house of all the bad food you own
I can hear it now, “But I spent a lot of money on this food, I should eat it and not waste it!” I hear you, but think about this, if you eat the food, will the money you spent on it suddenly show back up in your bank account? No! This is looked at as sunk cost, you already spent the money on it, it doesn’t really matter what you do with it now. I’m sure you have a family member or neighbor who would love it if you gave them all of the food you are going to “throw out”.
3. Go grocery shopping!
This can be a lot more fun than you think. I personally love grocery shopping, but I know most people don’t. Look up some healthy recipes that sound good to you and head to the grocery store and pick up the ingredients. Make sure when you are there that you stock up on fruits and vegetables. The more color you add to your diet, the better, and no, I’m not talking about artificial coloring dummy! Buy some apples, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, I could keep going on, but I think you get the point here.
4. Start small
I know it can be a huge challenge to change your entire diet overnight, but start small. Replace that morning pop tart with a banana, use light sour cream with your tacos instead of regular sour cream, find a healthy salad dressing you like (I started using Lite Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette and it is amazing!), there are so many options here! For your first week, make your goal to eat “Yes” foods for 30% of your diet, then 50% of your diet in week two and so on, until you are eating only “Yes” foods and you don’t touch a thing on your “No” list. Starting small also goes for your exercise routines, not just your diet. We all have those mornings/days where making it to the gym and getting a workout in sounds damn near impossible. Does taking a walk around the block sound impossible? Or doing some sit-ups and pushups during commercials when you are watching Netflix sound impossible? Even taking this small step can have huge implications for your future. If you have a day with zero motivation, but you go for a quick walk around the block, then guess what, you won that day! You fought the urge to do nothing and sit on the couch like a lazy bum. View every accomplishment, no matter how big or small, as a win!
5. Put on your workout clothes
Think of this, you get home from work, it’s been a longgggg day… You want to sit around the house and do nothing, I get it, but put on your workout clothes. Now think of how awkward you would feel if someone walked in and saw you sitting on your couch in workout clothes, watching your favorite tv show and munching on a bag of chips. They would be like “What the hell?!”. Now picture this, you put on your full ensemble of workout clothes, and a half hour later you decide there is no way you’re going to the gym. Think of the shame you will feel when you take off your workout clothes; that you never even worked out in and then you put on some comfy sweatpants. You’ll be ashamed of yourself, but that’s the goal. This will make you get your butt in gear and head to the gym.
6. Don’t set goals to lose a certain amount of weight, make goals to work out a certain amount of times each week
A goal of losing 20lbs may sound great in theory, but that is not a good goal to have. Getting healthier isn’t all about losing weight, it’s about making sure you feel better and live longer. Setting goals for making it to the gym a certain amount of days a week, will give you a lot more positive reinforcement than losing 20lbs would be. It will be much easier to stay on track if your goals include small accomplishments as opposed to a big end goal.
7. Set up a reward system for yourself
Is there a new gadget or accessory you’ve had your eye on? For me, it would be a new fishing rod and reel, but that’s always on my mind, but if you set a goal to make it to the gym three days a week for a month straight, and you accomplish your goal, then treat yo’self! These goals, like others, can start as small goals and eventually work their way up to bigger goals. Maybe for your first week, reward yourself with your favorite latte if you make it to the gym two days in a row, just make sure you don’t get in the habit of only rewarding yourself with snacks or unhealthy foods. It’s okay to do that sometimes in the start, because small steps…, but don’t let that habit continue for too long.
8. Find a buddy to take the health journey with you
If you wake up early and have the intention of going to the gym before work, but you don’t go and fall back asleep, who is accountable for that choice, you are, but who else will hold you accountable for your actions, or lack thereof? No one…. If you have a workout partner you are supposed to meet at the gym at 6 a.m., but you wake up and don’t feel like going, who will hold you accountable now? Your friend will! I’m sure they aren’t going to be very happy with you if you text them and say “Not feeling it today” then go back to bed. Good friends want the best for you and will help you succeed. Having a workout buddy will help hold you accountable for meeting your goals, or at least making it to the gym, but that’s a huge step just in itself.
9. Take your most embarrassing photo and put it somewhere you’ll see it often
This is one of my favorite motivators! We all have seen a picture of ourselves and thought “Oh shit! I look like that?!”, well use that motivate you! Tell yourself you will never let yourself go like that again and you don’t ever want to look that way again. I don’t think I need to say much more about this, I’ll just let the picture of you with your gut hanging over your pants do the talking for me.
10. Make a killer playlist that will get you amped no matter what mood you’re in
We all have that song, or few songs, that gets you amped every time you hear them, I mean who can hear Lil Jon yell “Shots! Shots! Shots!” and not feel a little motivation?! I know I can’t! We all have different tastes in music, but I think we all have some songs that will get you pumped to hit the gym.
11. Buy yourself some cool workout gear
When do you want to use something more than the moment you first bought it? I don’t know the answer to that question, because when I buy something new, I want to use it right away! Get some new shorts that you think are comfortable and you look good in. Who wants to go to the gym and throw on a three-year-old pair of shoes with stains on them? No one, that’s who, but who wants to go to the gym in their fresh new running shoes they just bought, almost everyone, I’d hope. The same goes for headphones, if you haven’t done it already, get yourself a pair of wireless headphones (They even have them at 5 Below now). You won’t know what you’ve been missing out on until you get a pair. There isn’t much more annoying than lifting some weights and you keep hitting the cord of your headphones.
12. Let words motivate you
Let me make this clear before I start, I am far from a Notre Dame fan (GO BLUE!), but they were onto something when they put a sign in the tunnel they use to enter the field. Every time the Notre Dame team takes the field for a game, they go through a tunnel that has a sign overhead that says, “PLAY LIKE A CHAMPION TODAY”, and every player smacks the sign as they pass it. This may not sound like much to some, but try putting a motivational quote over top of your front door and every single time you walk out of the house, read it out loud and give it a good smack as you walk out. I bet this will feel a lot better when you do it than you’d think!
13. Always mix up your workout
You know what gets boring fast? Monotonous tasks. If you go to the gym on Monday and do a workout, then go to the gym on Wednesday and do the same workout, then you have plans to go on Friday, are you going to want to do the same workout you’ve been doing all week? Switch it up, try new machines or workouts, you might think you’ll hate a machine you’ve never used before, but you might end up loving it.
14. Stop being self-conscious at the gym
If it pops in your head “Oh no! What if someone sees me sweating or hears me breathing heavy?!” Don’t waste your time even thinking about this. You’re at the gym and you’re sweating, a lot, and breathing heavily. This is perfectly normal, and everyone is sweating. Who else is feeling like they aren’t looking their best at that moment? EVERY SINGLE PERSON in there feels that way. The gym isn’t a place you put on makeup to go to or somewhere you go to look good. It’s a place where you go to sweat a lot and burn calories.
15. Find a song that motivates you more than any other and play that song every time you put your workout clothes on
I think this one is pretty self-explanatory, but if you have a song that gets you pumped every time you hear it, blast that shit every time you put your workout clothes on.
16. Log a workout journal
Keeping track of every single set you do may sound monotonous, but it is essential to staying on track with your workout plans/goals. This will remind you what weight you did last time you worked out, how many reps you were able to do and exactly which workouts you did. This pairs with the idea of setting small goals that are much more attainable than something like lose 20lbs. If you were able to do 50lbs for three sets of 10, maybe try 55lbs next week and keep working your way up to 60lbs. Being able to do three sets at 10lbs more than before may not sound like a life changing accomplishment, but if you keep this up week after week, you are going to change your life, I promise.
17. Buy a new swimsuit or a pair of pants that are a size too small for you
It is February right now in Michigan, it has been a long winter and thinking of laying on the beach in a swimsuit seems farther away right now than retirement does, but guess what, it isn’t that far away! What would give you more motivation than buying a swimsuit you know you’d look great in, if you lost some weight or were more toned. I don’t think there is a much better motivator than that! If you used to be a size 34” waist, but you are a size 38” right now, buy yourself a pair of pants with a 36” waist that you can’t even button when you put them on. If you stick to your diet and workout routine, you will be fitting in these pants in no time and you will be back to your size 34” waist faster than you think!
18. Be prepared to fail… But have a plan!
In Michigan, this happens more often than we would like, but sometimes we are hit with a winter storm that makes leaving the house a dumb decision. You could be risking your life, or someone else’s, but you were supposed to go to the gym the day the storm hit… What do you do? If your answer is “I’ll just go tomorrow, duh!” WRONG!.... Well kind of, it is a good thing you are motivated to get back to the gym tomorrow since you missed your workout today, but it would be better to have a backup plan for the day you can’t make it to the gym. An example would be to have some workout DVD’s at your house. If there is a day where you can’t make it to the gym, that doesn’t mean you can’t squeeze in a quick workout at home. Again, small steps and small goals….
19. Track your diet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This one is possibly the most important step to take to stay motivated. I recently wrote an article about the benefits of using fitness apps and fitness watches (View it here), but tracking your diet is key to getting in shape. Diet plays a huge role in your journey to being healthy. Tracking your diet will open your eyes to how many calories you consume a day and makes you aware of what foods you can cut out. If you eat a slice of pizza before bed, you might not think it’s a big deal. If you eat a piece of pizza before bed and you see that it was 360 calories, 37g carbs (47% of your daily diet), 13g fat (37% of your daily diet), it will be a lot easier to tell yourself “I don’t really need that slice of pizza right now”, and that is a huge win for you! Even if it is only saying no to one slice of pizza.
What are you waiting for?!
Now its time to take action! Get up off your ass and start throwing out the unhealthy food in your house, take a trip to the grocery store and buy healthy foods, take a walk around the block, just do something!!! If you start, it will be hard to stop. Set small goals for yourself, don’t make your goals unobtainable. If you feel like you don’t have the motivation to go to the gym, put on your most motivating song and throw on your workout clothes and see if that gets your butt in gear. Find a friend or family member who will hold you accountable for your actions, or lack thereof. Find an embarrassing photo and put it somewhere that you’ll see it daily, use this to motivate yourself to never be that out of shape again! Make a killer playlist that will give you a kick in the rear every time you feel like sitting on the couch instead of doing a physical activity. These are just a few things that can help you, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to you. How bad do you want it?!