Ah, the centuries-old dilemma… motivation. Staying motivated to do anything is tough, but finding motivation to exercise?!
Going from not moving to moving. Transitioning from your comfy pillow-ey bed to pumping iron at the gym. Ughhh, not easy. The motivation needed for that is on a whole different level, especially when life gets busy.
However, it’s really not as hard as it seems. In fact, it all boils down to having the right mindset and strategies.
And lucky for you, we’ve compiled the 5 best and most useful tips to help you stay motivated on your exercise journey. Let’s dive in!
1. Forget goals, Build a system.
Imagine that both you and your friend Zikria, who are both skinny lads, decide to venture on the journey of bulking up and building muscle.
You both have the same goal: Build muscle and become massive.
In 6 months time, you compare progress.
Zikria has an emerging six pack, bulging veins, gigantic shoulders and even a DAMN fitness page where he’s showing off his muscles.
(btw, you can find his fitness page here.)
You on the other hand see some progress, but it’s nowhere near to what Zikria has. You both had the same goal, same body type, and followed more or less the same workout regimen.
What did Zikria do different that got him better results?
He had a system.
Go and ask him. He definitely wasn’t doing whatever he wanted to in the gym. He wasn’t eating everything that his mind craved. He wasn’t just targeting his shoulders 4x a week (though there is a chance he might 😉)
Rather, he did his research. He defined his goals and got specific about them (i.e. build muscle and get leaner), and then built a system that worked for him.
Setting goals is crucial for staying motivated. But unless we have a proper system that defines how we’re going to accomplish those goals, that initial surge of motivation will eventually die down.
So, ask yourself why you want to get fit. What is your exact reason?
Then, define and set up some very specific and realistic goals. If you’re like Zikria and are trying to bulk up, these goals could look something like:
- Eat a 200 calorie surplus everyday
- Lift 1 kg more for an exercise every time I do the workout
- Add one source of healthy fats each meal.
By defining your goals and understanding their significance, you’ll be more motivated to work towards them. Remember, as James Clear says in his book Atomic Habits:
“You don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.”
(BTW, Atomic Habits is a great book on habit change, you should definitely read it)
Focus on developing a system that supports your goals. The best example we can give you here is that of Olympic athletes. All them compete for gold. But only one of them gets it.
They all have the same goal, but the one with the best system allows him/her to actually achieve that goal.
So be that Olympic athlete to yourself. Set goals. Make them specific. And then build a system that helps you conquer those goals, one by one. You’re a champ, you can do it.
2. Find a Gym Bro (or Sista)
Exercising solo can sometimes feel like a never-ending battle against the treadmill or the weight rack.
But fear not, for there’s a secret weapon that can turn your workout woes into high-fiving, fist-pumping triumphs: the legendary Gym Bro (or Sista).
Picture this: you’re at the gym, grinding through a challenging set. You’re in excruciating pain and just when you feel like you’re about to throw in the towel…
Your trusty gym buddy appears, bursting with energy and ready to conquer the iron jungle alongside you.
Suddenly, the weights feel lighter, the reps seem more doable, and your motivation skyrockets.
Finding a good gym buddy is like discovering a treasure chest of motivation. It’s having a fitness soulmate who’ll get you through that set even if every muscle in your body is screaming at you to stop.
Together, you’ll push each other to new limits, cheer on each other’s accomplishments, and unleash the beast mode within.
So, put on your workout gear, venture into the gym, and seek out your gym bro/sis.
Remember, the gym isn’t just about lifting weights; it’s about the bonds you forge and the victories you celebrate side by side.
3. Track Your Progress
Tracking your progress is essential for staying motivated and seeing the fruits of your hard work. Many people overlook the importance of measuring their progress beyond the scale.
Celebrate even the smallest changes, like lifting 2 kg heavier than last time or running an extra minute without getting winded.
By tracking your progress, you’ll have a clear picture of how far you’ve come and the improvements you’ve made. Use fitness tracking apps like Strong App or similar tools that allow you to track your workouts.
Remember, every step forward, no matter how small, is a victory worth celebrating.
4. Reward Yourself
This sounds like something you’d read in a white people magazine, and you’re probably cringing over the thought.
But rewards aren’t something cheesy or cringe. And for the men out there, treating yourself after a personal accomplishment doesn’t make you any less manly or tough.
The hustle culture is rampant these days and while that mindset can put you on track to success, it doesn’t talk or mention the importance of sustainability.
The truth is you won’t always have the drive to keep going.
But self-rewarding can provide that drive. It’s important to acknowledge your efforts and treat yourself for a job well done. No one else needs to know about it, it’s just for you.
So, the next time you hit that PR or write off a specific goal, indulge in a delicious snack, buy that new workout gear, or go eat some ice cream!
Doesn’t matter what the reward is, it should just be something that keeps you going!
The goal here is to create a positive association with exercise and make it even more enjoyable. It’s a way to celebrate your progress and give yourself a pat on the back, reinforcing the idea that your hard work pays off.
5. Keep a Positive Attitude
A positive attitude is a powerful tool for staying motivated. In a world full of negativity, don’t be your own worst enemy. Too often, we stand in our own way. We consume content that pushes nothing but negativity into our minds. We make ourselves believe that we can’t do it.
This shouldn’t be the way.
Surround yourself with positive influences. uplifting music, motivational quotes, or a supportive community. You are what you consume, both literally and figuratively.
Embrace a positive mindset, focus on your progress, and be kind to yourself. Acknowledge that setbacks and obstacles are a part of the journey, but they don’t define your overall success.
Instead of dwelling on negative thoughts or comparing yourself to others, shift your focus within. Focus on how you’ve improved compared to….you. As Rocky tells Creed while training him:
See that person in the mirror? That’s your toughest opponent. It’s you against you.
Hear that? It’s you against you. Don’t let yourself stand in the way to greatness.
You’re capable of achieving great things, and a positive attitude will fuel your motivation to keep going.
Now that you have these 5 tips in your arsenal, it’s time to put them into action.
- Set realistic goals,
- Find a gym buddy,
- Track your progress,
- Reward yourself along the way,
- Keep that positive attitude shining bright.
Motivation may ebb and flow, but with the right mindset and strategies, you can stay on track with your exercise routine.
You don’t need to apply all 5 of these. Just choose one, and take that first step.
And if you’re wondering which one is our personal favorite, it’s the first one 😉. You’ll find that it’ll help with a lot more than just fitness.
Start today and unleash your full potential. You’ve got this!