Motivation dips holding you back?
Building the right mindset and taking control of your motivation are crucial steps to achieve your fitness goals. Long term, success comes down to not only having the right plan, but making sure you develop the right mindset to move forward. The route to your fitness goals will include slip ups, stumbles, and days where you really aren’t feeling it.
Your plan won’t be perfect, your progress won’t be linear, and quite honestly, regardless of commitment, you can’t control everything. You need to be comfortable with periods where you feel less motivated, and work to build this back up (I’ll show you how in this article). You also need to make sure you accept the slip ups, and understand they’re not going to make or break the journey.
What you do well, most of the time, if focused on the right things, will lead to success.
You can’t make it easy, but you can make it easier. It won’t be perfect, but it can probably be better than before.
Fitness is a journey. We repeat this in almost every blog post and every video we put out. It won’t be plain sailing. There will be challenges. You’ll need to continually reset and refocus, but if you’re clear on what you want to achieve, then more often than not, it comes down to these two factors:
Mindset and Motivation.
So, let’s find out how to build a mindset that will propel you to your goals, and how you can take control of your own motivation, rather than passing it off as something you either have or don’t have.
(P.S. If you’re not clear on what you want to achieve, take a step back. I suggest reading out blog on setting fitness goals here, then returning to this page with your newfound clarity)
Rebuild your narrative
When we talked about setting goals, a key theme was building the awareness of the situation: What’s REALLY happening. This meant taking a look at what obstacles are stopping you, then rather than seeing these as excuses, we work to find a solution. This added planning before you even start can be game changing.
But here’s the thing. Building this awareness is one thing, but taking responsibility is quite another. It’s one thing to KNOW that being busy has stopped you from a achieving your fitness goals, but unless you can take responsibility for that, you’re not able to do anything about it.
The more we can take responsibility for, the more we can control, and the more we can progress. So, it’s time to start a new story. Let’s rebuild your narrative.
Using self-belief and reality to transform your mindset and build motivation
What type of person are you? What are you good at? When you diet, what works best for you? What do you struggle with?
Let me give you an example of where this internal dialogue can completely shift your level of progress.
You’re at a networking event with work. This means you’re away at a seminar during the day, then out for a meal with some colleagues in the evening. The food provided is buffet type at the seminar, and the evening meal is at a nice restaurant that does a great steak and chips.
Here’s your potential response (let’s call it option 1):
“How am I supposed to be on track today? I can’t starve. Plus, I don’t want people to know that I’m trying to be healthy. I’ve never been concerned about it before, so I’m going to just write the day off. Either way, there’s nothing I can do, my diet is ruined”.
We’ll look a little later about how this type of thinking can be disastrous for your progress when we look at the snowball effect. For now, let’s just be aware that this internal dialogue isn’t really the REALITY of the situation, and is itself the real reason you feel off track, not the situation itself.
Here’s how to make sure you stick to the plan, EVEN IF YOU DON’T STICK TO THE PLAN! Here’s option 2.
“Ok, I didn’t have chance to prep, and I know the food isn’t great at lunch. I’ll do what I can. With regards to the evening meal, I could again make better choices. I’ll let people know I’m trying to look after my health, and they’ll probably make it a little easier for me. Either way, It’s only a one off, so I’ll be back on track straight after, and all in all, will probably still make good progress this week”.
Now this is the way to think about it. What’s the obstacle? In this case, out of routine and limited good nutrition options. What impact will THAT really have if you control the other factors? Very little, it’s one meal. Even 2 meals. Now, if you let these get out of control, then it becomes more of an issue, but letting them get out of control is a choice you make.
Then feeling off plan, and de-motivated, bloated or a little hung over, and not training is another effect of choosing to let things get out of control. If you take the 2nd option, accept the things you don’t have control over, but don’t allow this to have an impact beyond what’s needed, then you’ll make awesome progress, and will stay on track.
It comes down to awareness as we’ve said, and taking responsibility- but here’s something that’s crucial that we haven’t yet mentioned: self-belief.
The thing is, if we don’t believe that we can go out and stick to the plan, we decide not to try. We’re afraid to fail. And we’re afraid to tell people we’re trying to be healthy, because we don’t know if we can do it. So, we set up little reasons to fail. Little excuses, that we can say are why we didn’t achieve our goal.
The REALITY is often that we simply didn’t commit to it. And the worst part of it? We decided not to commit, IN CASE we fail. Not always, sometimes, the reasons are genuine- and that’s fine (we’ll discuss this next)! What’s not OK is that the lack of self-belief becomes a reality because of this false internal dialogue, and looping back to confirm the false beleifs in the first place. We need to stop that cycle, and you can do it now by following the next few lines of this article.
When you set your goals, you had a vision of how you feel and act during your journey to be successful. Are you living this narrative? Are you acting in line with how the person who achieves the goal needs to act?
Revisit this. Don’t worry if not. It’s information. Now ask why, and plan action steps to start living the successful narrative- your REAL story- now.
I messed up
So, what about the times I get it wrong? We all have slip ups. Sometimes, it’s almost deliberate, because we just need a break. Usually, it’s a choice. It doesn’t make you a bad person, and it doesn’t mean you’re not cut out for your goals. It’s a part of the journey.
What it is, is information.
Either we faced a challenge we didn’t have a solution for (in which case, we can do better next time), or we decided that the priority in the situation wasn’t fitness. Either way, let’s be real. That’s FINE! Some things ARE more important. If you’re putting your long term goals to the bottom of the pile, obviously this won’t work, so making sure you’re goals are aligned with priorities is key. But slip ups happen.
They always give us information, and usually it’s not a big deal. Here’s the key point.
Understand the impact. Occasional slip ups, once every few weeks, or small treats every few days won’t be an issue. However, regularly missing workouts, or going off track with nutrition a few times a week, will lead to a massive disruption in progress. Again, reflect. Look at why you’re doing this. What’s important.
Ultimately, it’s down to you. Is it worth it?
Fixed or Growth mindset
I’m not going to spend too long on this, as you’ve seen it before. Quite honestly, it’s over used y most people. I hear people talk about it regularly, and most of the time, I can see this isn’t what they really believe. Which is a shame, because it’s absolutely what we’ve just been talking about, and can be life changing.
The fixed mindset is the idea that things are how they are, they can’t be changed or developed. It’s the “I’m good at this” or “I can’t change this”. In this mindset, you’re pretty out of control beyond your fixed traits. This is your story- it’s who you are, and so you live with it.
The Growth mindset is the one we’re talking about when we discuss changing your story. You know you have areas to work on, and you put a plan together to improve. With this, you are in control, you take responsibility, and ultimately, you give yourself the opportunity to change your story, and achieve your goals.
A word of caution with this. REALITY is key. A growth mindset is ONLY going to be the life changing attribute if you can determine your reality. You need to appreciate that everyone has different levels of petential in differnet areas.
If you’ve followed this blog, you know I don’t live in the world of unicorns and raining gumdrops. We live in the real world. You can take control of some things, but accept and understand the reality of the situation. You don’t want to be all fixed, or all growth.
Growth mindset is great, but without reality, you’ll never achieve your potential, and likely focus on the wrong things.
The snowball-effect of motivation
Ever notice that when you’re training, you tend to tidy up your diet. Recovery even takes a bit more priority if you understand it’s importance. We make an effort on health in general, and we tend to start off with pretty high motivation.
Then you miss a training session. You relax a little with your diet. Once again, you gradually get out of the habits, and no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to find that spark of motivation, so you take a break, and wait for it to come back.
Look at that again. You missed a session. Then you relaxed your food. Then you let other good habits go, and motivation hit an all time low.
You made the changes BEFORE you lost motivation. The lack of motivation didn’t come first! It was created by not managing to stick to the plan.
Here’s the good news. If this is how we LOSE MOTIVATION, does that mean….
Yes indeedy. We can follow the reverse to BUILD MOTIVATION!
Here’s where people struggle. They set goals that are a little beyond their scope. Not the long term goals, shoot for the stars with this, but the daily habits. Can you really workout 6x per week, and stick to a rigid diet for the next 8 weeks? What then?
What this tells us is that as soon as we slip up, we need to try to pull back, otherwise motivation will crash. So, set targets that you can achieve. Sure, it should be aiming high, but if you struggle with motivation, the first goal is to make sure you learn how to build small wins.
These small wins do the exact opposite of the small losses. Rather than creating an effect of chaos and lack of control, small habits that move you closer to your goal can help to build routine and create high levels of motivation to KEEP MOVING FORWARDS.
Understanding this means that anytime you start to lose motivation, getting it back is a simple case of starting to win again. Pick an easy habit. Do it, then pick another. Do that. Then tick off the training sessions. Eat right. Once you do, your motivation to make progress will be sky high, and you’ll be confident you can achieve your goals!
Top tips for motivation
Organisation and planning is key here. There are a few really simple tricks that you’ll see in almost every planner designed to improve productivity. These are basically a combination between this post and the post on goal setting, but here’s a very quick summary of some key steps to take every day:
- Make sure you’re clear on the goal for the day: in this case, that will be your fitness habits
- Build in some wins: what will you feel great accomplishing? Again, in a workout, this may be an extra 5kg on a lift, or an extra 1km on the treadmill. Something showing progress.
- Set up for success: Think about how to make it easy to accomplish the habits you’ve set yourself. This may be meal prep for your diet, or planning your day with an appointment for when you’re going to the gym!
- Celebrate the wins! Every little win (completing a habit, etc) give yourself some credit. You know if it was something you didn’t do, you’d beat yourself up about it. Let’s focus on the positives. Where attention goes, energy flows.
Achieving your goals are never easy. It will be tough. There will be ups and downs. But with enough planning and self-belief, you can set up for success. These are the pre-requisites. This makes it possible- in fact, likely- for you to achieve your goals.
It still takes commitment. You still need to stick to the plan, and make sure you regularly reset your focus. Then, I tend to use the word consistency. Relentless consistency. This isn’t easy to achieve, but with the right plan, and the understanding of how to create and recreate motivation, this is something you can achieve.
In the end, you need to push your comfort zone. Sometimes, this doesn’t mean working harder, it just means getting the right focus. You’ve been following the same training type for years and aren’t getting anywhere? We need to look at your focus. But with the right plan, and the right focus, it comes down to mindset and motivation.
This article has demonstrated how to build the right mindset, and create solid and continuous motivation! Now use this, revisit it regularly, keep motivation high, and then stick to the plan. This is how you guarantee results.
Here’s a video where we dig a little deeper into some of these concepts.
If you want to start working with us, we work on 5 key areas after finding your focus. Training, Nutrition, Fulfillment, Relaxation and Recovery. This is our key 5, and you’ll see how this all fits together in time, for now, click here to contact us now, and we’ll give you a call to discuss how we can help you to achieve your goals.
Josh Kennedy MSc, ASCC, CSCS