Key principles in finding your motivation to stick to your fitness goals

Motivation is the driving force behind our actions, for good or bad. This comes from a variety of influences but ultimately decides if we will take action or not. As the cooler weather, rain and short days set in, motivation can at times be hard to muster up to physically get into the gym. We all look for that kick-start, the drive to get up and go, but sometimes it’s just not there. Understanding a little bit more about motivation can help in finding it. Here we will break that down into easy to implement tools to re-ignite your internal drive for exercise.

Motivation can be broken down into two types, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic: Internal forces that drive behaviour. Such as thwarting off disease, the feeling of accomplishment, stress reduction, feeling better.

Extrinsic: External forces that drive behaviour. This can be weight loss goals, physical appearance, being accountable to another person.

Everyone has different motives behind their fitness journey. The ultimate goal would be to find a balance between internal and external desires to create a lasting lifestyle. 

To figure out how you are motivated and how you can better use your motivation, try answering these key questions:

  • What is it you want to get out of your fitness routine? 
  • Do your goals align with a longer-term lifestyle change? 
  • If they do, what is the desired outcome and commitment you’re making to yourself?
  • If they don’t, what kind of lifestyle goals can you align with your current ones?

Use these questions to align your goals with your motivations, recognize if your goals are more internal or external. If they are more external, try finding a few more internal and vice versa.

Setting yourself up for success

Creating an accountability system

Accountability can come in a few different forms, such as:

  • External accountability with friends and family checking in.
  • Your own set of accountable systems that you use to track your workout days.
  • Let people know what you are working towards, find a friend who can check-in and celebrate each other’s successes.
  • Work with a trainer or sign up for group fitness classes. These external accountability partners can pave a great way to success in your fitness routines. 

Setting your days for success

Find your time that works in your schedule and stick to it! Are you someone who needs their workout to set the tone of their day? Or is after work  for stress relief  a better option? Know your optimal workout time  and schedule that into your everyday

Some simple daily actions to keep you on track can include these:

  • If you workout in the morning, have your workout clothes ready to go the night before. Remove the decision making in the morning, creating a “grab and go” atmosphere. 
  • If you are on the opposite end and workout at the end of your day try packing your gym bag in your car, having your gym clothes ready to go right when you get home.
  • The easier we make the process the better chances we have to act. Simple daily habits like these may seem small, but have the power to create major change. 

Motivation gets you started, habits keep you going

Align your goal with a lifestyle as opposed to a deadline

Goals are a great place to begin to kick start your motivation.  After setting these goals, we find issues in actually maintaining the behaviour. When you can align your lifestyle with your goals, you will find more internal reasons to continue beyond the goal. 

For example: One might want to lose 10lbs before their wedding. We would want to know why that weight loss matters besides looking good. Could it be for improved livelihood and energy? What about thwarting off disease later in life and reducing the burden on their partner? There are many ways to internalize an external goal. A critical look into why the goal matters is one way of aligning that goal with your lifestyle.

Create a reward system

Create a system of rewards for immediate post-workout and through regular intervals into the future. These can be as simple as your post-workout routine of a warm shower and smoothie or other yummy breakfast. 

Future rewards can include “after 6 weeks of following my routine I will treat myself to a massage.” Keep these going and find different creative ways of adding to your rewards to keep you motivated. 

Other tips on staying motivated? Let us know your tricks in the comments below! 

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