Updated: Feb 12
Don’t we all wish that we had the same motivation level every day of every week all through the year for our workouts and meal planning! I do! But then life happens to all of us and with it comes new struggles, change in priorities, and change in commitment to old priorities. It’s ok if you have experienced it. All of us have one time or another.
Being out of sync for a while, say a week or ten days at max, is ok. Actually, it’s even advisable to give yourself a break from anything you do as a routine every once in a while, maybe a week in a few months, and for someone else it may mean, a few days a month. Whatever works best for you.
But taking breaks very often will result in a lack of motivation creeping in and you will find it extremely difficult to get back on track again.
The reason I know this is coz I have been through it on one or two occasions, where I got complacent and overconfident about my abilities to get back to my fitness level from where I had left off, before taking a break. Sometimes the reason was injuries. And believe me when I say, getting back to the same fitness level and the same routine becomes an uphill task if you have been away for long.
So what all can you do to be motivated, whether you are just starting your fitness journey or whether you are further ahead:
1. Take small steps
If you are at the beginning of your journey, start with small steps that don’t overwhelm you and you feel confident about doing them repeatedly to build your routine. That confidence will motivate you, that you have it under your control. If you are intermediate or advanced level, keep smaller goals for the times when you are injured or not feeling motivated enough. For instance, instead of doing a workout, you could just walk for 15-20 minutes.
2. Allocate time for your exercise/workouts
First, you need to figure out what time of the day suits you best for your workouts. Are you an early riser and prefer early morning workouts? If are you a late riser and are extremely rushed in the morning, then evenings would suit you better.
Get into the habit of time blocking to slot out your workouts in your weekly calendar at the beginning of the week. Give your workouts the same importance you would give any other activity of yours.
3. Keep your gear ready
Whether they are your walking shoes or running shoes, gym or home workout clothes, keep them laid out where you can see them as soon as you get up in the morning or whenever you workout. This saves time when you workout and being in your line of vision acts as a reminder and motivator.
4. Allocate time for planning meals
Although easier said than done, this is the absolutely crucial step for motivating yourself to eat healthily. You could plan on the weekends for the whole week or plan twice a week or once every morning for the whole day.
And the follow-up step would be to have the groceries in the house when you need them for the meals so give time to grocery shopping once or twice a week or once in 2 weeks, as it suits you.
5. A good night’s sleep
You will be surprised but a big reason for feeling demotivated is lack of adequate rest during the day and the crucial reason for that is having too many late nights at a stretch with very few hours of restful sleep. 6-8 hours of sleep is a must. This is your body’s time to heal and recuperate. Don’t cheat on that!
Having different work shifts every week can also cause non-restful sleep due to the constant change in sleep habits.
6. High energy levels
Low energy levels can be due to improper diet or improper recovery after your workouts due to improper post-workout meals. This low energy throughout the day keeps you feeling fatigued, lethargic, and thereby demotivated to go on with your routines and workout. Choosing what you eat wisely is the key.
7. Practice positive affirmations/meditation
Having some kind of a morning routine, even if it is for ten minutes can be extremely invigorating. You can pick whatever works for you. It could be hearing motivational interviews of successful people or listening to spiritual gurus or it could be meditating or praying. Even if it’s extremely brief, it can really set your mood for the day and thereby motivate you to do everything that’s good for you and your body. Though this is listed lower down, it is the most important thing that you can do to be motivated for any change and to stop fearing it.
8. Create a dream board
This board will be about everything you want to be in the future. You can put pictures of fit people you admire and affirm that this is how you would like to see yourself in the future. You could also put small notes with what is your target in terms of fitness after a year. For instance, you want to be fit enough to run a marathon or you want to trek up a certain mountain. What you affirm day in and day out will motivate you at a different level altogether.
There will be days you feel everything is worthless and nothing is working out for you especially if you are a beginner. But those times are transient and will pass. If you are keeping in mind the above points, then you can be assured that you are creating a strong base and you can’t go wrong. If you need a break, take one; and then jump right back into creating a life of your dreams.