One of the biggest things I hear people talk about when it comes to getting healthy, working out and eating better is finding the motivation.
Finding the internal drive to get up, get into gear and make it happen. Here’s the truth: whether you’re a newbie, or have been working out for years, there will always be days where motivation is a struggle.
The difference is that at some point, you figure out how to get over the hump of letting the lack of motivation win every single time.
Here’s 5 things I wish I knew about motivation before I started working out:
1. Nobody can make you do it
You have to find it in yourself every single time. And sometimes, at least for the first little while, that means falling off track again and again and again. Promising yourself you will get up early tomorrow and do your workout and then sleeping through your alarm, and then falling into the same path again the next day. But at some point, when you realize how badly you want it, and that each time you don’t do it, you are letting yourself down, you’ll make it happen. And it’s only you who can do that.
2. There will always be low motivation days
After working out consistently for years, completing running streaks, training for marathons and running in 30 different countries around the world, there’s still some days when I really struggle to find the motivation to workout or run at all. There’s still days I want to stay in bed a little longer, be lazy on the couch after work instead of working out, or just skip my workout because I have so many other things on the go. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from it all, it’s that no matter what it takes, I always feel better after and it’s worth the struggle to make it happen.
3. Nobody else has the power to take away your motivation and drive
When you first commit to working out and exercising regularly, or cleaning up your diet, it will be easy to come up with a bunch of excuses and blame other people or other things for making it hard for you to succeed. Things like “my boyfriend called really late last night and I didn’t get much sleep, so I decided to skip my workout and sleep in.” Or, “I was really late finishing work because my boss went over in our meeting, so I just grabbed take-out on the way home.” But sooner or later you realize that despite what may happen, one of the things you have a lot of control over in your life is your own motivation and drive. There may be bumps and roadblocks, but nobody can actually take that away from you. Don’t convince yourself that they have.
4. By the time you have finished convincing yourself of all the excuses you are making up in your head, you could have been in your workout clothes and out the door.
Stop procrastinating and coming up with reasons why you should wait or not go, or why you need to do one more thing before you leave. Just do it. Drop everything and get out the door. I often recommend to my coaching clients who workout after work that they change into their workout clothes after work and go straight to the gym, or walk in the door at home, drop their stuff and turn around again and head out for a run. Whatever you needed to do waited this whole time you were at work, so it can wait again for another hour while you get your exercise time in. Better yet, start working out in the mornings!
5. Sometimes you just have to take the first step (or 10).
Whenever I don’t feel like going for a run, the deal is I have to run in one direction for 15 minutes. Just 15 minutes. By doing that, it means I have to run 15 minutes to get home and I will have completed a 30 minute workout. Most of the time, after running 15 minutes, I’m over my initial lack of desire to run and I forget that I was even planning to stop in the first place and I just end up doing the whole 10 km loop. Regardless, it’s