Looking for Fitness Motivation? 4 Ways to Dig Deep
- Published on: 09 November, 2012
- Last update: 26 January, 2016
We all go through it.
We see the beach bodies, the beautiful actresses on television, the fitspiration on fitness-geared social networks, and for a solid hour and sometimes more, we want it more than anything. Until dinner-time rolls around, and ordering out is so much easier than getting up and cooking. I get it. In this day in age, we’ve all had a long day: school, work, homework, kids, family time, hobbies, social networks, technology. We’re almost lost in a fog of routine and our need to be constantly busy. It stresses us all out, and when stress comes, food makes us feel better. Food doesn’t complain, or make us work for it, or whine and cry, or judge us. But it’s not the answer.
To me, the only thing worse than stress and long days is looking in the mirror in the morning, trying to get ready for my day which I am optimistic about, and having my mood shot down by dissatisfaction. I don’t hate my reflection; I love myself and am grateful to have a working, healthy body that many are not fortunate to have. But I do see room for improvement: room for a healthier, leaner, more muscular and efficient version of myself. In that moment, I want to strive to be better. I want my legs to be tight and support my body with confidence and poise. I want my core to show that I am strong, capable of hard work, and balanced. I want my physical body to exude the beautiful character within me.
A huge problem is that we remember these goals and feel the strong emotion of inadequacy that drives us toward motivation when we are forced to face ourselves in the mirror. Yet, the rest of the day, we convince ourselves we are fine and can have just one cookie. Because after all, we deserve it after the long day we’ve had, right? Not quite. We must re-learn this principle. Yes, we deserve a wonderful bonus for our hard work each day, but this should never come in the form of something that will damage us in the long run. A reward is meant to reinforce and strengthen – words that signify power and positivity. Having that cookie will probably only signify an extra couple of pounds on the scale. The real reward should be growing willpower, a healthy meal, and seeing a beautiful, lean body in the mirror while you’re changing into your pajamas. The real reward is confidence in your own skin, which just so happens to travel to every other aspect of your life. Positivity breeds positivity.
So here are a few ways to find that motivation that we so often forget.
1) Pinpoint a short-term goal.
Long term goals are great; every individual has an idea of the person they ultimately strive to be. Unfortunately, we crave instant gratification, and sometimes long term goals seem far-fetched and the fire within us dwindles. Find an upcoming event or date that you can commit to, preferably one that has an emotional motive behind it. Maybe you want to wow the crowd on your birthday. Some of us may want to shed some lbs before bikini season; some have an interview or audition they want to look their best for. Simple things will do as well- maybe you have a doctor’s appointment in a month and he/she has been telling you to lose those 15 for years. Sometimes we have an important anniversary coming up with our husbands or wives. Think about how amazing it will feel to see their reaction to your new and improved physique and level of self-love. Admit it, we all LOVE to hear those, “Have you lost weight? What’s your secret?!” Once you conquer that short term goal, you can set another, and another, and yet another. Before you know it, that long term goal we initially decided was out of reach is in the palm of our hands.
2) Surround yourself with positive people that have similar goals.
Find someone, or a community who can support you. Reach out to social networks such as instagrams that are health or weight-loss themed, and connect with a user that has similar goals to yours and is consistent. Join a forum: there are low-carb forums, paleo forums, plain old weight-loss forums, nutrition forums, and body building forums. Google anything. People in the fitness community are incredibly friendly and ready to help. You can exchange e-mails and share recipes, motivational quotes, your progress, etc. No one will be happier for you than someone who is experiencing the same journey and struggle.
3) Get excited about this journey. Put your emotion into it because that’s the only way you will stick to it.
Buy a beautiful journal to track your food. Make it a collage; a creative project. Paste in pictures of yourself along the journey. Take a before picture and put it on your fridge. Write a list of your goals and put it on your fridge. Post motivational quotes and pictures around the kitchen. Set your favorite fitness picture as your phone background. Go to the grocery store and HAVE FUN. Don‘t just be in and out. Explore the aisles, try new foods, take pictures of food that looks interesting and go home and look up recipes. Find recipes before going to the grocery store that you are genuinely excited about. Clean out your kitchen and only fill it with beautiful, colorful natural foods that remind you of this new lifestyle. Buy beautiful, colorful cookware that makes you excited about cooking new foods. Make a day trip out of your passion and explore farmers markets one Saturday. Make an instagram only for your fitness journey and make connections with people who inspire you. Research different diets and watch documentaries that mean something to you and show people changing their lives.
4) Give yourself a tangible non-food reward.
Like I said, I would never knock rewards. I just knock the counter-productive ones. Here’s what to do: get a jar and every time you work out, or every time you have a full day of healthy eating that you are proud of, put a dollar in the jar. When it gets to 100 dollars, you will have slimmed down and probably dropped a size or two. Go shopping and buy a brand new outfit, or go have a night on the town to celebrate. You can also give yourself visual motivation with jars. Fill one jar with marbles and put an empty jar next to it. Drop a marble from the full jar to the empty one every time you lose a pound.