Where are your motivation levels at today? While there are a number of factors that influence how stoked you are to go to the gym – level of rest, stress, to name but a couple – we still have a high degree of control of how motivated we are to hit the gym.
Here are seven easy ways to light your motivation afire so that you can do what you do best – and that is wreck house at the gym:
1. Kick Procrastination in the Ass with the 2-Minute Rule
One of my new favorite toys, the “2 Minute Rule” is fairly simple – if there is something you have to do, and you can complete it within two or so minutes, do it right then and there. It’s stunning the number of two-minute tasks that we delay over the course of the day for any number of baseless, self-imposed reasons. How does this relate to exercise? You and I both know that the first few minutes of your workout are always the toughest. Just strap on your gym gear and head to the gym for a couple minutes, and you’ll find yourself wondering what the big hold-up was in the first place.
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2. Post Your Goal
Get your goal(s) out of your brain and put out into the real world. Scribble it out on a piece of paper and stick it to the corner of your computer monitor, bathroom mirror – and possibly the most impactful place – your refrigerator. When you go hunting for a midnight snack and see your goal in bright, red ink six inches in front of your face you’ll feel just enough hesitation to reconsider that ladle-full of Nutella.
3. Learn About Your Body
I liken this a lot to math class when I was a kid. I never really excelled with math, and this was silly because it was a self-imposed limitation brought on by a couple bad test scores when I was younger. As a result, I hated math. But in later years, as I decided to get over this inferiority complex, and I began spending more time learning concepts outside of class, I came to learn it and internalize it much better. And funny enough, I began to like math. Mastery has this odd effect; the better we are at something, the more we know, the more we are inclined to pursue it and actually enjoy it.
I suspect that many feel the same way about fitness; they don’t completely understand what is happening with their body, why they aren’t seeing the results, and loathe the whole process.
4. There Will Be Valleys
There will be days where the absolute last thing you want to do is go to the gym. You will conjure every reason imaginable; too tired, too sore, too moody, bad day at work, didn’t like the Breaking Bad finale, whatever.
Recognize that there will be days like this, and that it is just as much of the process as the days when you feel unstoppable.
5. Recognize the Path You Have Blazed
Looking back at what you have achieved, and where you started, is a huge motivator. It not only fills you with an overwhelming sense of pride, it should also remind you that you have been through much worse, and that whatever excuse or justification you have for delaying today’s workout, you know that you’ve faced tougher circumstances before.
6. Concentrate Your Efforts
Picking one goal, and chasing it with relentless focus will provide exponentially better results than chasing a dozen different goals. Whenever I have felt discouraged about something, it’s almost always because I have loaded my plate with too much. I am spreading my energy all over the place, which has the cumulative effect of completely draining me of focus. The concept on focusing on one thing at a time goes against what society tries to instill in us, with the myth of multi-tasking being propagated upon us as the necessary quality for a successful life. In reality, doing one thing obscenely well is what will bring you the results you desire.
7. Take Pride in Doing Extra
We are wired to be lazy. Actually, the term “lazy” isn’t accurate; I would say that we are programmed to take the route of least resistance. We do what is barely necessary to get by, and we will instinctively look for the shortest route to get to where we want to go. The “instant gratification” marketing machine of overnight results is so successful. It feeds into our instinct to do the least amount of work required. Knowing that I did extra, above and beyond what anyone else is willing to do, motivates me to continue to do more.
Can you think of any other ways to fuel your motivation? Share them below in the comments!