First? Take Action. Motivation Will Follow.

Struggling with motivation? Here’s the little know strategy you can employ right now to find it again.

Woman with no motivation lays in bed

This week I have spoken to several people who have told me that their motivation to work out was rock bottom. 

Does this sound like you?

“How can I motivate myself during this horrendous time?”

“I haven’t worked out in a week”

“I have been letting lockdown control me”

And several others that were – frankly – deeply emotional insights into how you guys speak to yourselves on the daily… You ain’t nice.

Motivation is fickle and is never around when you need it. Since we’ve been out of the gym, it’s dropped off. For some of you, it’s down to almost zero.

Not totally zero though, because you’re still responding to my messages. 

You’re still communicating. That’s awesome because once that stops, it becomes a lot harder to pull things back on track.

People make this mistake all the time, they think that first they need to be motivated and then they can work out and it will feel effortless.

Forget motivation. You can’t rely on it. Even when it does turn up, it’s the arse end of the night when you’re lying in bed and can’t do anything anyway.

(That’s exactly why it turns up then… trust me, I was a psychologist)

Instead of waiting around for motivation to grab you, I’m going to tell you the secret that a lot of people don’t know.

First: Take action. Don’t wait for motivation – that comes second. 

Take Small Deliberate Action.

It shouldn’t be crazy. Starting small isn’t a compromise – it’s an essential component of building momentum. 

What’s the one thing you can do right now that’s so ridiculously easy that you think it’s not even worth doing? 

Can you find your daps and lay them out by your front door?

Can you stand up right now and do a squat? 

Can you bang out 5 push-ups against the kitchen sink?

Can you walk to the end of your garden and back?

Once you’ve done one thing, something, anything – no matter how small or insignificant it seems, you start to feel that little kindle of motivation returning. 

Don’t believe me? Try it. 

Pick just one thing that seems minor and do it right now. I’ll wait.

If you didn’t do it – the thing you picked was too hard.

You’ve got to meet yourself where you’re at right now and that might be literally standing up off the couch. 

It’s a start. That’s all we’re looking to do.

Take action first and motivation will follow. Need more help to get started? I can help, let’s chat.

Are you willing to tell me what you’re struggling with most at the moment? I’d really appreciate you filling out this questionnaire. It will only take 2 minutes and I’ll use it to write more content that is useful for you.

4 Simple Ways to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Get started now.

The anticipation of new year is powerful. Once it gets here though, you won’t magically have more time. You’ll have the same limitations next week as you have right now.

Getting a few days of progress under your belt – even if it’s not “perfect” – is a hugely powerful position to be in.

Can’t join a gym yet? Do some body weight movements at home.

Can’t afford to buy new books yet? Visit your local library.

Do what you can with what you’ve got. Refine the process as you go.

Shorten the time frame from one year to one week.

Starting the year with the intention to work out every single day is awesome – but if you’re not working out all that often now, this might be a step too far.

Instead, try your new habit for 7 days. If you’re successful for the week, keep it going for another week – then another. Soon you’ll have a whole month.

But just narrow your attention. It’s too much to think about what you’ll be doing a year from now.

People ask personal trainers often, “how can I be more motivated?”

Motivation is great – to get you started. But it’s not a long term strategy. Instead, you need a long term plan. Properly diarised intentions, with steps on how you’ll actually execute your plans.

Motivation isn’t a long term strategy – but you can rely on it to give you a really great starting week.

Health is the goal – directly or indirectly.

This is one of things that we all know but as soon as we get a bee in our bonnets about some other exciting project, it’s often the thing we sacrifice to chase the shiny thing.

In February/March of 2019 I got flu.

Really bad, proper flu. Not the 2-day man flu your colleagues called in sick with last week. It was horrific and felt nothing like I expected it to feel.

I was in bed for a full week, I couldn’t stay awake for more than about 20 minutes at time. I also had a urine infection at the same time that was spiking my temperature and stopping me from actually standing up, and gastritis attacks that were making me violently, painfully sick.

Those of you who know me, know how I feel about being sick.

It was horrendous. I am also entirely self employed so if I don’t work, I earn no money at all. I was also as weak as a kitten for about 6 months after it, which – given that I’m a personal trainer that does mostly strength work – was kind of a disaster. I remember the first week back in the gym I couldn’t even unrack the 20kg plates for my clients!

My point is: your health isn’t optional.

It’s not glamorous or sexy – and if you’re younger than 30 reading this, you probably couldn’t give a shit.

But that’s why we eat right, train in the gym, and prioritise sleep. It’s for health. If you’ve not got that, we’ve got big problems, because you can’t do any of the other stuff that’s got you all amped up.

Track it all – even (especially) the “failures”.

You’re a busy person with a lot of stuff on your mind. You can’t be expected to remember stuff.

At least, that’s what I tell everyone about why I can’t remember anything.

If you have a written record somewhere – on your phone in the notes, or even better – in a dedicated lovely notebook – you’ll be able to stay on top on what works for you. Perhaps more importantly – what doesn’t work for you and why.  

This is important because it will allow you to observe your behaviour through the perspective of an outsider.

You’re a scientist collecting data about behaviours that serve you and don’t serve you. This removes any sense of ‘blame’ about mistakes, and instead subtly shifts your mindset into thinking about course corrections in a neutral way. It’s a small, but powerful shift in focus.

You’re Not Too Busy

You’ve moved house. You’ve got a new job. And holy smokes, you just realised you have a family!

How can you fit your gym routine around your life that you’ve only just realised is hectic?!

OK first of all – you don’t have a “gym routine”. You have a commitment to your health. That’s not frivolous, or shallow, or vain. You’re working on being the healthiest version of you possible because there are people in your life who love you – and they are trusting you to keep yourself as healthy as possible. You have a responsibility. It’s not selfish – your health is held on trust for all those who adore you.

Secondly; all that shit that’s keeping you busy? Almost all of it is not temporary. Your busy life is permanent – and the vast majority of the things you’re dealing with, you’re going to be continuing to deal with for the foreseeable future. So making anything fit into your lifestyle needs to be carefully planned and considered.

All the reasons why you’re too busy to train are all the reasons why you should be training regularly.

Your family need your focus – so get in the gym early, get yourself sorted out, and go home to be with them. You can’t pour from an empty vessel so being energised and strong ready to play around with your kids and be present and comfortable with your husband or wife – that needs to happen first.

Your work keeps you busy – so being strong and focused and healthy would only benefit your professional commitments, right?

You can’t find the time – so work out early in the morning with a trainer that can accommodate you (me!) or late at night when the gym is empty. These “anti social” time slots are great because the facilities are quiet and you can get your work out done without interruptions.

Here are some of the things you can do to make exercise fit into your life:

Have a plan to follow.

This doesn’t have to mean hiring a personal trainer; there are lots of options. You could get remote support from an online coach. You could follow a programme you have downloaded online or access via an app. If you’re into it, you could even write your own plan. But don’t hop around from programme to programme too much. More important than the specific exercises that you’ll be doing is having a plan of when you’re going to fit training into your week.

Early morning exercise.

“I don’t want to get out of my warm bed to train at 6am” you cry, as though everyone else is sleeping in horribly uncomfortable beds and 6am happens at some other time of day for the rest of us. If you’re genuinely stuck at finding 30 minutes in your day to work on your health, you’re almost definitely wasting a lot of time, and time can be found for most people if you’re looking for it.

Workout during lunch.

One of my clients always uses her lunch hour to walk. She goes around her workplace, clocking up several miles a week and remains focused on that as a priority. This is super smart because walking is awesome exercise, obviously – but even better, if you’re on the move, your terrible colleagues can’t find you and give you stupid shit to do.

Walking.

One of my favourite methods of the time poor is a quick walk around the block. Doing this once every hour, or before & after meals can be an easy way to prompt a positive habit that doesn’t take very long. If you have a dog, this becomes even more fun – and your dog will love you for it.

Exercising at home.

There are bodyweight programmes that you can follow online, on YouTube, or even my own 60 day core challenge if you need more structure and support. There are fitness DVDs to suit all abilities – you can even get your family joining in with you.

Working out with a group.

One of the most popular options among my guys is working out in a small group. The Tribe – as we call it – look forward to these sessions because it becomes a social event as well as a health consideration, you see one another progress and it’s a chance to support each other. This might be in a structured setting like a gym, or in an outdoors event like a running club, or even a team sport in your area.

Doing something is better than nothing. If you’re looking for a way to make exercise part of your life, please don’t wait for conditions to be perfect. Think about it – when was the last time you weren’t busy?

“Not yet”

“Not yet” is the largest enemy of change. It’s a lie we tell ourselves about why we should wait until Monday to start our diets. Why we’ll wait until January to join the gym. Why we’ll wait until retirement to book that once in a lifetime trip. Why we wait to approach that special human that could be our friend, our partner, our investor. 

“Not yet” is the safest and easiest way to forestall change and gives the status quo in your life a chance to deepen its roots. The status quo is whatever you’re trying to get away from. The current aspects of your life that could use an overhaul. The smoking. The bottle of wine at night. The relationship that no longer makes you happy – all the things that need to change, but change is scary. The status quo feels easier.

“Not yet” is a chance for poor behaviours to continue not to serve you. It’s a chance for habits to become even more ingrained and harder to break down the road. A bigger problem to solve – a 40 a day habit, instead of 10. A bottle of gin on a Wednesday afternoon instead of a glass of wine on a Saturday evening. A resentful old age with someone who you fell out of love with years ago.

Change doesn’t fail because it’s too early, but almost always because it’s too late, because the right time might never come. “Not today” becomes not any day. And the discomfort you felt from making changes could be long gone by now. 

Thinking that “it’s not the right time” is a mistake in making lasting change in your life; your life – the one where you get one shot at happiness. One lifetime to tell your humans you love them. One lifetime to be able to look in the mirror and think that you did your best by you and yours. 

“Not today” isn’t you any more. “Not today” is fear talking. All it takes is 5 seconds of courage. Fill out the form below if you’re ready to make a change.