“Motivation such an aggravation” Wise words from 00’s Punk Rock band Sum 41. Motivation for me is often fleeting, and I have to really work hard to stay motivated. Looking from a very glass-half-full viewpoint, these lockdowns have been great for me in regards to my Personal Training course. They have allowed me to spend as much time as I can working towards my goal of becoming a qualified PT. Over the last few months I’ve been able to dedicate real time to revision and research, to get my exams done and further study the topic I love.
What stands in the way for me?
I am a huge procrastinator when it comes to doing things for me. Someone else needs me to do something for them in a couple of hours? Done. But, for me? Not so much. I have a habit of constructive procrastination, as I like to call it, where I’ll do things that need to be done, but aren’t urgent, or things that seem like they need to be done now, but aren’t important. Further pushing the important things down my mental to-do list.
So why do I do this?
Probably because of many years of living by the creed of “If I don’t do it, I can’t fail” which is incredibly difficult to push out of my brain. When I haven’t got the excuse of work or socialising it means I actually have to make a real, concerted effort to do work, stay motivated and stay on track. The first lockdown, for instance, I could probably have booked my exam in the summer months, but it was nice outside and I decided to learn how to hula hoop and make origami instead of doing what was important.
Self-doubt coupled with anxiety and depression does make it feel like I’m at the bottom of a well and everything I want to achieve is outside. So how do I get myself out of the well? I build a ladder. Nothing drastic, but little things done often. Each mock exam I pass or piece of information I retain helps to bolster my confidence and the more confident I get, the more rungs it adds to the ladder to be able to climb out. Every now and then I might slip but I’ve learnt to let that happen and it’s about the bigger picture.
How do I get around this?
Routine. I make myself workout and do a yoga session 5 or 6 times a week. I meditate. I get dressed and yes, there are days I want to lay around in bed and play games, but I have learnt to let myself do that guilt free, because I set myself SMART targets and I make sure I achieve them.
- Time constrained
If I do have a “bad brain day” as I like to call them, I let myself sit in these feelings for a moment and let them pass so that I can carry on productively afterwards.
How can I increase my motivation to exercise?
If you want to exercise, or exercise more, try the following:
- Don’t rely on motivation alone! It’s fickle and will never be there when you really need it. Even the highest performing athletes and coaches deal with low motivation, so you’re not alone.
- Set yourself up for success. Schedule time in for your exercise, and make sure to attend a gym that you enjoy training in.
- Make sure the exercise is fun. There’s not much point doing an exercise you don’t enjoy when you’re lacking motivation. So choose something you enjoy to fuel the fire.
- Remember your ‘why’. Reflect on your goals and remember what you need to do to get there.
- Create a plan. Having a clear program really can help you stick to your goals and stay accountable.
- The 10 minute rule, rules. Start off just trying 10 minutes at a time and build it up. It’s always better than nothing, and you can increase the time in manageable increments.
How do I regain motivation to workout?
Losing motivation can be disheartening. Using the tips we recommended above can help, as can leaning into the community aspect of exercise. This could be having an accountability buddy, or arranging attending the gym or classes with a friend, colleague or family member.
So, at the risk of unwittingly sounding like a life coach; be firm but fair to yourself. Set up a routine if you’re struggling for motivation, get dressed like you’re ready to tackle the day, do something that makes you happy, make yourself accountable to someone if you can’t be accountable to you. Embrace those random moments of sudden inspiration and don’t be so hard on yourself, you will always be your harshest critic.