It starts the same every year. A ton of people want to get in shape and set a New Year’s resolution to help them achieve their goal. Gyms start to get super crowded and then all of a sudden things get back to normal. The new faces that were so eager only a few weeks ago start to disappear. So what exactly can you do when you aren’t as gung-ho as you once were? Well here are some tips to help stay on track while the others around you are falling off.
One of the first things I always my clients is what they want to accomplish with their workout program. Some know exactly what they want to get out of their training but there are others that have very general goals. When a goal is very ambiguous like, “I want to get in shape” or “I want to be fit” it makes it hard to determine if you are ever there. My definition of “in shape” will be different than a lot of people. I try to get my clients to tell me what they want specifically. A goal like “I want to bench 3 plates” or “I want to get to 10% bodyfat” will be much simpler to know when you are there. You can either bench 3 plates or not. You are either above, at or below 10% bodyfat. There is no guessing. Having that specific goal can help keep you focused and keep you on track. Visualizing the goal will help you fight off the urges to be lazy or stray from your nutrition program. Setting a specific date for you to accomplish the goal by will also help because there will not be enough time to skip workouts or to recover from a cheat day so staying on track becomes the only option.
Know your why
In the many seminars and lectures I’ve attended they always say you need to know your why to succeed. The reason everyone says it is because it’s true. If you have a strong enough why, you will figure out the way. The thing is that many people who are working out have not figured out their why.
The key here is to dig deep enough for it to become a hot button for you. You may need to ask yourself why a few times for this. An example would be someone who says their why is that they want to look good. If they ask themselves why again and again their why gets deeper and more meaningful.
Sometimes the reason why can be as simple and as motivating as a contest or a wedding. Some people want to look good and that can be reason enough. Other people may want something as simple as being healthy. This can be reason enough for some people, but others with the same goal may need to dig a little deeper in order to keep their focus and be consistent with their workouts and nutrition.
Other times there is no definitive answer and you need to keep asking yourself the question again until it is something that becomes emotional.
Track your progress
Sometimes it may be very hard to notice when you are getting results with your program. People see themselves in the mirror all the time and since the day to day changes are so minute, it makes it hard to know if we are moving forward. Knowing that all your hard work is paying off can be very inspirational. When you can see your waist getting smaller or your arms getting bigger it helps to it lets you know that your sacrifices are worth it. I tell my clients to take a picture of themselves in the beginning so they can look back and see their progress. When you see the changes in larger increments they are more noticeable. A lot of times people will use the scale as a gauge of their progress, but the scale does not tell the whole story. If you drink a lot of water your weight will increase but that does not mean you are not burning fat or increasing your muscle. Bodyfat percent measurements and circumference will give you a better picture of where you are at.
For some, simply knowing what the next step to take can help with motivation. If you know you are doing a certain workout on Monday and a different workout every other day of the week, it may make you less likely to skip a workout knowing that missing Monday will throw off the entire week. Knowing that your plan will be affected can help you get your workout in, even if you are feeling lazy. Having a plan can also help you keep on track with your nutrition. If you plan out your meals for the day, you will less likely skip a meal if you know the rest of the day is affected and not just one meal. A plan can also help to keep you from becoming bored and losing motivation that way. If you are on a program that lasts for 4-6 weeks it will become harder to fall into a rut and become bored rather than if your program never changes.
When I was living in Los Angeles, my acting teacher would always say that it takes 2 weeks to make or break a habit. While this may not be entirely accurate for all habits it still holds true for a lot of them. The body will resist any change positive or negative. This is why the first few days of starting something or quitting something are the hardest. If you can get past the initial resistance then it will be much easier to make a change for the long term. This happened for me when I was cutting all the time. I would have a photo shoot to cut for and I would tell myself that I could have a big cheat meal after the shoot. My diet was so consistent thought that after the shoot when I could eat anything I wanted, I would have cravings for cottage cheese instead of a pizza or something like that. It’s because eating healthy was a habit for me and I just didn’t have the desire to cheat.
A reward can be a strong motivator. Even though I never took the reward that I promised myself it was a strong motivator to stay on track with my foods. When I would want to eat something bad I would tell myself that I would be able to eat it in a few weeks and it kept me eating clean. This is the reason that I tell my clients they can have one cheat meal a week. If they know that they can do whatever they want for one meal per week it can help keep them motivated to eat well for the rest of the time. This does not only have to apply to nutrition. If there is something that you want like a new electronic gadget or a piece of jewelry you can tell yourself that you can purchase it after working out consistently for 3 weeks. Something like that can help to keep you on track when the motivation level goes down.
Hopefully these one or more of these tips will help to motivate you and re-energize your commitment to your program. So what is your best motivational advice that has helped you with routine? Leave a comment in the section below.