Did you make a new year’s resolution to improve your health in 2017? Maybe you started a new training routine or decided to eat less chicken nuggets? There’s a great chance that you are about to have a dip in motivation. And you want to be ready for it when it hits.
Despite how excited you were about getting jacked or losing weight, despite how psyched you were about lifting weights, or not picking up as many chicken nuggets. It’s going to happen, real soon.
The resolution that was exciting and new becomes an old thing. A bland, boring, same-old-same-old, a routine. And what’s more boring than a routine in our attention-grabbing, social-media-driven, “hey look at me, I just braided my hair!”, 30-second-attention-span world?
No matter how special and driven you are, you too will exhaust your limited resources of motivation. Yet before you sink into self-sorrow, here’s a silver lining to grab onto: it’s ok, it happens to everyone once the excitement of the new wears off.
The secret (calling anything “the secret” will make me sound really guru-like. Soon, I will be promoting the latest motivation-pill made out of beeswax and popcorn and tofu sausages) is to be ready for it and know that it will happen to you too. Don’t be a hero but accept that there will be points when you do not feel like lifting weights, going for a run, or putting in effort to make a healthy meal. If I’d resort to take away every time I don’t feel like cooking, we’d have a VIP platinum loyalty card at the corner shop-Thai down the road from us. They would smell me coming.
I’ve been training more or less frequently ever since I was a 15 year old snot face, battling vocal chord changes and having way too much gel in my hair. Still to this day I go through unmotivated periods in training. And yes, it’s as much fun as getting thrown out of a perfectly functioning airplane.
But it’s ok since I’ve got my “secret tool”.
What to do when motivation fades?
When motivation hits the bottom my training doesn’t happen with an enthusiasm of a dog who’s just seen snow for the first time. Far from it. I curse the gods of iron and scissor kick the air in frustration. But I still show up.
I show up, do the absolute minimum trying to maintain what I’ve achieved so far and move on with life. I tackle in to train with other trainers in the gym to soak up their energy. I do unplanned, uncategorized, unorganized and unstructured training days with one having no resemblance to the next. I experiment on new if I feel like it. I keep my sessions short and find other activities to do. Walking or some form of low-level movement practice are my go-to whenever an actual training in the gym doesn’t seem appealing.
Sometimes walking or low-level movement are actually better options than flat out training session.
you don’t stop going to work just because you don’t feel like it today, or because the project you work on is not fun
There is one often overlooked fact that people forget when motivation and the excitement fades: motivation is discipline. Training won’t always be fun, exciting or something you have to look forward to with the drive of a rooster who’s just about to be released in a barnyard full of chickens.
Too often we expect everything in life to be fun. Yet, work is work, saving money is what it is, training can be boring and healthy eating can be a laborious effort. None of these need to be fun every single day of the year. But you don’t stop going to work just because you don’t feel like it today, or because the project you work on is not fun. You keep showing up to your office because you need to pay the mortgage and feed the kids. And you save money because you know you need to have a safety net for rainy days. I know, I’d rather spend it on Champagne and a cruise in the Mediterranean too.
Let’s use the same thinking when training and healthy eating is not exciting. You do them because you know you need to. It’s like putting money in the bank for the future. Whether always fun or not. And before you know it, a new wave of excitement, motivation and enthusiasm raises from the horizon. Keep the momentum going until then.
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