The standard story we have been programming into our heads about staying motivated on our wellness journey is not always 100% honest. “It’s not always about willpower and dedication. There are so many other factors like: do you belong to a community of other health buffs? How inspired are you feeling about life in general? Matters like the the timing of your life are also important.
In fact, research shows there are three main conditions that need to be present in order for people to be motivated to reach a goal: autonomy, competence, and belonging. With autonomy, it’s all about you feeling like you’re in control, you set the objective with regard to your wellness and there are no real factors that will override it. Competence means that if you feel like you’re getting better at something valuable over time, you’ll want to continue. That’s why it’s crucial to look for fitness and wellness programs where you feel like you’re moving forward rather than workouts that make you feel incompetent. With belonging, well, who does not like to feel that they are part of a tribe, a community who shares the same values and where it matters whether you turn up or not?
That doesn’t mean you should feel like a complete failure if you are not getting better at burpees as fast as you’d like, or you haven’t nailed the formulae that will allow you to get to your butt workout class twice a week, like you said you would.
Motivation oftentimes needs a kickstart, and I’ve finally figured out a little bit of what helps me to shift gears and get moving. It does involve community, competence, autonomy but also good music and some great workout gear too.
Tip #1: Schedule Your Workouts
Super simple, and yet strangely effective. Scheduling your workout makes you accountable for both your time, and that of someone else’s. It ensures that you stick to your exercise plan and work towards shedding those pounds. Simply put your workout into your phone, iPad, or laptop calendar, for a visual reminder to get off your butt and get moving!
Tip #2: Find Workout Buddies
As with scheduling your workout, finding a workout buddy for motivation (or buddies – the more the merrier) not only makes your workout fun, but also holds you accountable. Missing a workout on your own may not seem like a big deal, but when you’re committed to a partner or a group, they’re sure to pull you up to task if they see you slacking. We’re all in it together after all. Not to mention that extra boost of competitive energy having them there adds to your workout!
Tip #3: Treat Yourself To Some New Workout Gear
This is an easy, psychological tactic to help keep you on your fitness track. Buy yourself a few sets of good looking gym clothes, and you’ll notice the difference this makes to your weekly routine. Looking good leads to you feeling good, which leads to a better workout session overall. You’re also more likely to stick to your exercise plan if you see yourself in clothes that show off the progress you’ve made. Go ahead and treat yourself. You deserve it. It’s a simple visual affirmation of how far you’ve come and what you’re working towards.
Tip #4: Get Grooving
Another no-hassle way to sprinkle some motivation into your workout is to switch it up with music. Pick a powerful, upbeat playlist on Spotify, 8Tracks, Apple Music, Pandora, or even Youtube, for a fun, background score to your gym session. Pick music that pumps you, gets your blood flowing, and your energy amped (think Rambo‘s music), and you have yourself the recipe for workout success.
Tip #5: Be Mindful
Our last tip on motivation is not so much a tip as it is a reminder to be present in all moments. When at the gym, be mindful of the way your body is moving and reacting. Can you run faster? Can you lift more? Do your knees feel stronger? Listen to your body and be in tune with what it’s saying to you. This small change in how conscious you are in your movements can make the world of difference to your workout.