Have you ever found yourself running around in circles? Promising yourself to start exercising tomorrow?
The way to sustain motivation to workout throughout the years is to stop doing what we’ve always done and focus on creating an environment that will lead us to adapt to bigger challenges. Below are five steps that will help in your journey.
Step #1: Visualize. Lean onto your vision to discover the source of exercise motivation
The first step is to ask yourself What was it that drove me to start exercising in the first place? and think of a specific thing you can visualize. Was it running the 5k that takes place in a couple of months? If you have the visual – good. Picture it, feel it and, most importantly, focus on it. If it helps, write it on a piece of paper and put it in your wallet. This shall serve as a vision for you and will create motivation to train.
From now on don’t think about daunting workouts you have to complete. Think of the vision you created and the end result you’ll want to celebrate. Once you focus on the vision, it will pull motivation to exercise and help you stay on track without any extra willpower. You’re more likely to succeed when you know where you’re going.
Step #2: Be inspired. Add a dose of challenge and set inspiring goals.
In life, just like in training, we only grow in response to resistance. Our mind & body need to be challenged, otherwise we will stagnate. In fact, without pushing ourselves to do something uncomfortable we will fall behind, because the world around doesn’t wait for us to catch up.
It’s those things that scare us eventually lead to growth. For athletes that is where adventure comes into play. Stay ahead of what might come and challenge yourself before life challenges you.
Step #3: Plan your exercise program. Create a plan to turn your vision into reality.
A plan essentially splits the entire journey into many smaller parts (phases) that are easier to focus on and execute. Having a plan ensures that every important detail is considered, which reduces the pressure and allows a person to immerse him or herself in the present moment and fully enjoy the experience.
When we plan something meaningful and inspiring, we put our heart and soul into and actually enjoy it. In such empowered state it’s not difficult to consider small details, because they come to mind on their own. Moreover, being involved in the planning process satisfies the second need that cultivates intrinsic motivation – autonomy.
Step #4: Share your journey. Training with a group makes it easier and more fun.
As humans we thrive on communication and the sense of togetherness. We need to feel recognized, interact or just have someone to share our success & concerns with. Many pro athletes agree that having a community that pushes you is one of the most effective ways how to become a better athlete and stay active throughout the years.
Having meaningful connections also helps to satisfy the third need that affects intrinsic motivation – relatedness. An experience that is shared carries more power and provides much stronger stimulus to carry on. So, make an effort to involve more people in your journey. Join a fitness group, find a mentor, or hire a coach.
Step #5: Celebrate the journey. Take the time to stop and appreciate the moment.
It’s more important to take the time to stop and appreciate where you are and where you’ve come from. Celebrate the journey – not just the outcome. Cultivating that mindset will help you to stay motivated to exercise.
When we celebrate, we tend to immerse ourselves in the present moment. The present moment connects us with joy that is within us. So, embrace that and let it fill you.
The goal of the strategy above is to self-drive your fitness journey and create a foundation for continued growth. That will guide you to get motivated to exercise even in the lowest of points.
The real magic happens when you incorporate all 5 steps in your life. Craft a vision that inspires you. Find an exciting adventure that is a little outside your comfort zone and take active part in planning it – from training to lifestyle. Involve others in your journey to make it meaningful and exciting. And, finally, celebrate the experience you get along the way to keep it fun.
For more information on optimizing your mind, body and self as an athlete, check out my new book The Resilient Athlete.
This article is was excerpted from a longer article from The Athlete Blog.
Andrejs Birjukovs is a certified coach and multisport athlete with a background in swimming, kayaking, marathon and trail running, as well as long-distance triathlons. Throughout his professional athlete and coaching careers, Andrejs has learned the value of reinventing oneself through physical exercise and lifestyle changes. He is an IRONMAN certified coach and runs The Athlete Blog where he shares his training and coaching experience with the world. He is the author of The Resilient Athlete.