You’re not sure what is worse: the feeling you’re going to throw up in the very near future or the painful burn in your legs. You’re staring at the display of your stationary bike while drops of sweat are dripping down from your nose and burning in your eyes. Ten more seconds before the end of this interval….you’re hearing your voice telling you, “Come on, you can do it! Just a more few seconds!” You grimace in pain as you try to ignore the burning in your quads and the numbness of your butt. Three, two, one…done.
Thirty seconds of easy pedaling allows you to breathe semi-normal again, but you’re already upset thinking about the next round… then you hear the voice in your head again. “Why are you doing this? This is pointless, you look like an idiot. You’re a sweat-covered mess, you can’t be serious doing this again?” You start doubting yourself, and you raise your eyes away from the bike for much-needed change of scenery. Crap! There she is. The Fit Blonde. Looking at her flawlessly sculpted, tanned body, effortlessly moving to the beat of her iPhone on the treadmill. You’re getting pissed off and defeated. You’ll never look like her. You should just give up and go have some sushi. It doesn’t matter anyway….
Sound familiar? Are you finding it hard to motivate yourself, to push yourself harder? Lack of motivation one of the most common reasons people drop their training and nutrition habits. But why is motivating yourself so hard? It’s proven that we are twice as motivated to do things to avoid pain than to seek pleasure. Most people who start a new training or diet plan are unhappy with their current body, lack self-esteem and feel unsexy or unworthy, or are in physical pain. These types of pain can help us move forward. The only problem is, it doesn’t last. Advil can make you feel better for four hours, but it doesn’t fix the cause of your headache; we can say the same about the pain motivation to exercise. It helps in the beginning but won’t bring you to your goal. So what should you do? ”
Follow these three steps:
Get your head straight!” (As my grandma used to say)
Focus on what you want and NOT what you don’t want. Whatever you put attention to, grows. You said you want flat abs, toned legs, sexy butt but at the same times you’re thinking you can’t get them because of your poor genetics, age, lack of time, money or knowledge etc…. You’re already undermining your chances for success before you even started. Your conscious mind can focus only on one thing at a time. Focus on your goal, not what you worry about.
Next time you go to gym (or train outdoors – yep I know some of you hate gyms), keep in mind what you want to accomplish in that session. So when your “weak voice” start undermining your efforts with words like, “Ah, see, you’re crapping out already, you’re weak, stop now,” shut it down right away and instead focus on what you’re doing right here, right now. Visualize how fantastic you’ll feel when you complete the task you set up to do. Besides, it’s hard to think about your crappy genetics when you’re holding an 80-lb bar over your head.
Enjoy the journey
We are all moulded to enjoy the benefits of instant gratification. Type a keyword in Google and within less than two seconds, you are where you want to be. You order fast food and in less then a minute, there is a food in front of you.
When you start exercising and changing your nutrition you’re expecting the same results. You expect that within days, or maybe weeks, OK, for sure months, right? Come on here, within months you should look ridiculously hot, right? You’re seeing amazing transformations on The Biggest Loser, you’re constantly bombarded with Facebook ads showing extreme before and after pictures, so that’s what you expect. When the dramatic results don’t appear within weeks, your motivation is gone. You’re a chasing dream, a future point in time but not realising that it’s the journey, not the destination, that’s the joy.
Do this: See your every training session, every hill sprint, every bike ride or mountain hike as an opportunity to enjoy being connected with your body and challenging yourself, testing your true limits at that exact moment because the more you focus on now, the closer your dream is to becoming reality.
Celebrate the progress
If you know where you started and track your progress, you know if you’re getting better or not. Many gym-goers don’t track anything and then complain there is no improvement. If you don’t know where you started, how do you know where you are now?
Do this: If your goal is performance, measure your time/score and distance in the beginning of your program. If it is physique, take pictures, monitor weight and body composition (dxa body scan is the best). Re-evaluate every 4–6 weeks and see if you’re doing better. Compare the data from 4–6 weeks ago and make changes to your programs if needed, but mainly, celebrate your efforts and hard work.
I hope you’ll find these tips valuable so next time you’ll start feeling it’s time to quit, remember why you started in the first place.