Motivation gets you started, discipline keeps you going.
Discipline, like any skill, needs to be practiced. If you are still relying on motivation to workout, here are 8 tips to stay motivated for longer.
Have a goal
Working out without a goal is like eating a pizza without toppings: lame and pointless. So think about what it is you want to achieve by working out? Do you want to get stronger? Get leaner? Live longer? Run fast? The possibilities are endless and the one you choose will be unique to you.
Have a clear cut goal, so that when you feel like quitting, when your muscles burn and when you get sweat in your eyes on your fifteenth burpee, you know why you're doing it. and you can push through it. That's the difference between those who have goals and those who don't.
have a plan
Now that you have your goal, how are you going to get there? What's your plan?
A good plan should be at least 3 months long. When the initial motivation energy gets lower, having a clear plan can help your avoid going into a motivational slump.
An easy way to create a good plan is the map out how you will reach your goal. If I want to lose 20 pounds over three months, that's 6.5 pounds per month and 1.6 pounds per week. Now I can start planning how I am going to lose 1.65 pounds each week. This may start as a just adding an extra workout the first week, then introducing tighter nutrition the following, then adding a cardio session the following.
Your plan is something you can refer to, or rely on, to help you remember how you will get to your goal.
I find that a lot of people get discouraged when they don't see they are achieving their goal, which is why the next point helps a lot.
track your progress
Achieving your goal is going to take longer than you want. There's no way around it. I am not going to lose those 20 pounds over night. That's the main reason we get discourage and lose motivation.
When we track our progress, we can literally see how we are doing in relation to this goal and notice that we are in fact, moving in the right direction. If I track my weight weekly, I can see that I am losing weight and thus moving towards my main goal.
Tracking your progress might be the most effective way to stay motivated. I love to track my workouts, and that's probably because I am a workout nerd. Nonetheless, I can see every week that I am getting a little stronger and that keeps me pumped.
Quick work on progress: Strive to achieve very small incremental progress frequently instead of big progress less frequently.
I'll be the first one to say it here: I am not in a mood to do anything when I don't sleep well.
It takes extra discipline for me to workout when I am tired and if I didn't work in a gym, I don't think I would do it.
We live in a society that glorifies not sleeping much. I can tell you personally that I achieve a lot more in a day when I sleep 8-9 hours instead of 5-6 hours. The quality of my work is just so much better after a good night's sleep and I suspect it is the same for every one.
Having a good pre be routine is one of the best ways to get a good night's sleep.
Grocery shop and meal prep
The more you can create a routine that is in line with your goal, the more you will notice how you are getting closer to your goal. Whether you want to look a different way or be stronger, it's not just about the gym. We just saw that sleep is important, but so is your nutrition.
The act of grocery shopping and meal prepping is just another small step towards your goal. It's a step that does get you closer to your goal, and you will feel it. The problem is that most people don't take this step because it's time consuming. There's more and more apps that help you to save time by delivering groceries or meals to your door which is a great workaround for those with a super busy schedule.
When you meal prep, it's just another reminder that hey, you ARE working on your goal, not just in the gym. And that feeling of constantly working towards something will keep your motivation up.
Taking care of you food and your sleep is just as important as your gym workouts.
Notice the small wins
When you achieve something, no matter how small, NOTICE it. Acknowledge it. Own it.
I cannot believe how many of my clients lose a bit of weight or get a bit stronger and say "but that's nothing!". If you want to lose 50 pounds, losing 2 pounds is something important! That's literally the start of your weight loss journey.
If you goal is to get stronger, doing one extra rep at the end of a set is something. It's small but it's there.
Small wins happen very often yet most people will gloss over it or worst, complain that it's not more. You don't have to celebrate every small win, but noticing them and appreciating them is important.
This trick is not doable without tracking your progress, so the two come hand in hand.
Workout with a friend
Having a workout friend or accountability buddy is the simplest way to boost your consistency and stay on track.
Knowing that someone is there for you, and also counting on you to show will motivate you to get that workout in even on the days you really don't want to.
If you don't have anyone right now, you can always do the last trick!
Take a class
Taking a workout class regularly is a great way to surround yourself with similar goals and set up a routine.
You can choose from a wide range of classes using a wide range of equipment so you are sure to find one suited for you.
If you're in Vancouver, one of my favourite places for this is TurF. I used to teach there a lot and found that the trainers always put on great classes.
Regardless of where you are in the world, the fitness world has moved more online these days so you can also take virtual classes from anywhere.