Lost Your Motivation For Working Out? Here’s How To Get It Back!

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personal performanceIf you’re like most people, you workout either in the early morning before work/school or late afternoon.  Often this is tough enough, but if it’s cold, dark and damp outside, well that’s a whole other story.  At times is seems the bed is so much more warm a cozy then normal.  These conditions can challenge even the most highly motivated individual.

Motivation—I presume you understand what this implies, correct? Athletes frequently use phrases such as “drive,” “desire,” or even “going after something with intensity” to explain or even define their motivation.  They think of this as a motivated behavior that will bring them closer to peak personal performance.

We frequently believe that motivation happens completely from within the person (intrinsic), that a person is born with the “desire.” It’s important understand that motivation is really a function of both the person (an individual) and the circumstance (extrinsic). Which means that, to improve your motivation, you’ll want to address both the ‘you’ part of the process, i.e., what motivates you? why do you exercise?  What are you training for? and examine the situational elements as well, i.e. the gym, your coach, your training partner and yes…even the weather.  Both of these factors play a major role in your motivation.

Let’s look at a few methods to “keep your fire of desire burning” during inclement whether, the off-session and generally anytime you feel someone poured water on your embers.

1 – Vision, Goals and Maps

Many times athletes and individuals will workout with consistency, but unfortunately see minimal results. They train day-in and day-out thinking their doing good, yet often they’re simply going through the motion. When this type of mindset sinks in, it’s difficult to remain inspired since they really don’t have a specific ‘destination’ in mind.

Let’s use a driving example to illustrate this point.  An individual get’s in their car and wants to go somewhere, they don’t know where they want to go, so the drive aimlessly around and simply meandering about without goal or objective…and they end up nowhere in particular. Let’s now compare this with the driver, who has a specific purpose, they want to get to 611 5th Avenue in New York City. In addition to a known destination the drive also has a map to get there. She’s focused and purposeful as she gets behind the wheel. She knows exactly where she wants to go – Saks Fifth Avenue :-) (sorry guys) and she knows exactly how she’s going to make it happen…when she wants to arrive…and she wants to do when she gets there.  This makes for a very motivated driving and shopper, right?

Similarly, the athlete who has a specific objective in mind is definitely going to be more purposeful and motivated to get the job done.  Especially when he has a crystal clear reason and vision for exactly what he’s going to be doing during each and every workout session and where those sessions will eventually lead him.   Coincidently, this also applies to ALL areas of a person’s life.

A motivates athlete has:

  •  A vision – to win the competition
  • A series of goals – the workouts
  • A map – what he/she will be doing during the workouts

To keep the fire of desire burning, create a vision, identify daily training goals and the route our going to take during the workouts (what you’re specifically going to do)

2 – The Power of Reinforcement

I know a martial arts dojo which maintains an attendance chart for the younger students. For each practice session attended, the keiki athlete was given a sticker. After two weeks of practice, if they received eight stickers they were given a reward. Equivalent techniques are utilized by parents as well as teachers to encourage suitable behavior in children, the reward for “good behavior” servers as great motivation for youngsters.

So…if it works so well for others, why not consider using this motivation technique for yourself?  Rewards aren’t just for kids…or is it Trix are for kids :-)

If you’re battle with getting out of bed when it is dark, cold and damp, or believe it’s OK to miss a practice “just one day” because there’s always tomorrow how about coming up with a reward that will motivate you to get your butt out of bed, i.e. going to see your favorite movie after five quality training sessions, going out to dinner, etc.

If this doesn’t work, perhaps a swish pattern can be used to change the picture in your mind.  If you’d like to try a swish pattern let me know, I definitely can change your unmotivated picture to an inspired vision for you.

When you use the reward system always be extremely specific with what has to be accomplished. Commit to paper what you must do, how frequently you must do it and push yourself…after all this is also mind training, isn’t it? Once you’ve accomplish your personal goals…or goal, reward yourself with something of value and that’s meaningful to you.  Buying a pack a gum just won’t do it.  In the event that you don’t achieve your personal goals, don’t say “I was close. I’ll reward myself anyway.” Use your mental strength and hold back the reward and dig deeper next time and achieve your goal for personal performance.

3 – Look Around You

How much do think about your training environment?

Most likely…not much. 

Before you start training next time look around, are there elements in your environment that you can change to provide more enthusiasm? Often it’s the straightforward changes that produce major and favorable impact on your motivation. Here are a few examples to get you thinking: For those with a home gym, do the walls inspire you?  How about hanging few posters or writing some powerful affirmations on the wall?  Hey, this is your room, your can do what ever you like to motivate yourself.  Then there’s my favorite, playing some very powerful music like AC/DC, Metallica, Rob Zombie…to name a few.  You can even add some mirrors to check out your progress…er…form.

Do you train alone? Getting a training partner can bring a positive change to your motivation. After all, will you really stay in bed knowing your partner is waiting for you at the gym? If you have a training partner, let them know things they can do and say to enhance your motivation.

This is not a one-way street so make sure you ask the same of them. What about something as simple as putting together a CD with songs that will motivate and get you energized as you drive to the gym? Or even setting “partner” goals.

Write your long-term goals on a piece of paper and tape it where you will see it prior to a workout or training session—in your bathroom, on the refrigerator, in your car—to serve as a reminder of why you do what you do.

And then before your training session,  take a few minuets and visualize yourself having a great workout.

It’s important to do the “little things” in order to succeed in achieving your personal goals, you’ve heard the expression before, “Inch by inch, anything’s a cinch.

If you know you have an early morning workout, go to sleep early, don’t stay up late and watch Jay Leno. Lay out your workout clothes the night before. Put the coffee pot on auto-brew so the aroma of a freshly brewed pot will entice you from the bed.

Share your goals with your coach (like me), family or friends, but only those that will support you. Ask them to hold you accountable and don’t get mad when they challenge you when you didn’t work out today…this is part of being accountable and responsible.

We’ve all experienced those days where the last thing we want to do is get out there and put in the effort to have a good training session. We’ve also experienced those positive feelings that come with completing a great workout once. And most of us have also shared moments where we have been able to do something spectacular in a training session, i.e. personal performance record, 1 rep. max, or similar. When you have those days when you feel completely jazzed after your workout…anchor it!  This way when the day comes when you’re not so excited about training just fire off the anchor and bam!  You’ll be back in sate. 

If you need assistance in dynamic goal setting, mental training, swish patterns or understanding about setting and firing anchors, contact me, I’d be glad to help.

There are so many things you can do to enhance your motivation. It just takes mental strength, a determined mindset and bodacious personal goals.  I encourage you to take control of yourself and your environment; this will give you the best chance for personal success and peak personal performance.

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