On where to find it, how to get it back, and how to keep it going…
Some days I just don’t have it in me. After a long day at work, stress piling up with our house situation, and just pure laziness, I sometimes don’t have it in me to keep up with “healthy” eating, gymming, or really anything related to health. I know I am not alone in putting my health on the back burner sometimes, but I also know that the lack of motivation will pass. Over time I have been able to develop ways of getting myself back on track and where I find my motivation.
What is your WHY?
Everyone’s source of motivation differs and that is okay. For me, I find motivation in:
- My husband. He encourages me to go to the gym and since I have to cook for the both of us, I remind myself that in order for us to live long and healthy lives, we need to eat mindfully. We have developed a healthy level of competition between us when it comes to exercise. We also drag one another to spin class which ensures we are doing things together but are also taking the time to get better.
- My dog. Very few things in this world bring me more happiness than seeing my dog run around wild in the back yard or “smiling” when we go hiking. When I see her laying on the ground with a sad expression, I remind myself to get out there and take her for a walk. My husband also reminds me that Lucy truly lives for me and if that isn’t motivation to stay healthy and active, I don’t know what is!
- My students. It is inherent to the job to be a good role model. I love when my students ask me about exercise and challenge me to stay active. Watching them go to sports practice and hearing them discuss exercise motivates me.
Come out, come out, wherever you are!
And everyone loses motivation from time to time. How do you bring it back? I think the best way is to coax it out from under the proverbial bed.
- Lay out your gym clothes or exercise clothes beforehand OR pack your gym bag from the night before. This limits your excuses the next day. It also is setting you up for success. Don’t forget your headphones and shoes… two things I have forgotten more than once and it just ruins my gym plans. I have been tempted before to run in heels and shorts on the treadmill because I forgot my shoes at home.
- Write it down. Penciling in gym time makes it more official and gives you some more accountability. Schedule your gym time around your life. Even if it is just 20 minutes on the elliptical, it is better than nothing.
- Remind yourself of your motivators and goals. I have written before about the importance of having a goal or motivators on this journey and it is for this reason. They give you a point of reference for the days when you lack motivation. They remind you WHY. What is YOUR why?
- Have fun. Sometimes when I just am not up to the gym, it is because I am not having fun with my workouts. If you choose a workout that you are genuinely excited for then you will be more likely to get back your mojo. I often like to take Lucy for a long walk because it is a combination of fun and happiness for the pup.
- Involve others. Your husband feeling lazy? Go to the gym together! Have a friend who is having a hard time getting back on track? Do a partner track workout. This makes workouts less of a task or chore and also helps others to be motivated too. A smile is contagious just as your enthusiasm for fitness.
Keeping Up With The Motivation
Great, so you started the process again of eating right, exercising normally, and you feel great! How do you keep it up?
Surround yourself with like-minded people who are there to support you and your efforts. Friends who cheer you on when you are on the wagon and don’t patronize you when you happen to “fall off” are super important to keep around. This is why runners often have a buddy to do long runs with. Running buddies keep you accountable and are there to cheer you on during the most grueling runs of training. Having a gym buddy is equally as important in keeping motivated.
Constantly remind yourself of your WHY. Why you are getting in shape, why you care to take care of yourself, and why you want to feel a certain way about yourself.
Reward yourself after you have met a milestone or goal. Coming from a Greek family, rewards always meant FOOD! But a reward doesn’t have to be of the chocolate kind. It can be a manicure, pedicure, massage, girl date, guy’s night, beer, etc. If you have worked hard then you deserve to treat yourself. Treat yourself right.
It really is just a matter of not making excuses. Use exercise or eating right as a reward, instead of a punishment. Stressed? Use that to fuel your workouts instead of an excuse to avoid them. I know I want to stay alive for my husband and family, and part of that is enjoying life and part is chance. So, I have to stay active and healthy for my today and my future.