10 keys to stay motivated

  By Néstor Sánchez  /  

When you embark on a new project such as a fitness program or a course, you’re very motivated and fully intend to stick to it. But as time passes, “things” happen and you get tired. Here are 10 key tips for you to stay motivated:  4 questions you must ask yourself to make the right choice and 6 mental resources to keep your motivation alive and carry on.

Things to keep in mind when you decide to start exercising

1. REAL LIFE: Do I have the time and the resources I need for it?

A goal has to be ambitious but also realistic.  It’s motivation that will get you up early in the morning when necessary, or find gaps in the day where they don’t exist. So take account of the situation you’re in and don’t start on any project that you’re unlikely to be able to carry through to the end. The same applies to the economic investment that you think you can make.

2. compromise:  What changes/risks/compromises am I willing to make? 

Every effort has its reward, but what do we mean by effort?  Stop and think about how much you’re ready to compromise to meet your goal, and what you’re prepared to give up for it.  You may have to change one or more habits that you’re very committed to, or give up some other activities to achieve your goal.

3. environment: Does my decision affect someone else?  Do I have their support for it?

Most of us aren’t hermits, and we don’t live in isolation.  So very likely our decision does have an impact on others we live with, and although it’s ‘our own’ it’s important to consider those closest to us as well, to be sure we have their approval and support.  How far and in what way must we negotiate to keep them motivated also?

4. motivation:  What is it that makes me want to do this?

What does it mean to you, what do you want to get out of it, living and feeling, to reach this goal.  This question will help you recognize what motivates you and weigh up how far you can compromise.   Think of it as a goal for you and you alone: if your motive is for something or someone else, it’s easy to give up.

How to make sure you stay motivated

You need to apply one or all of these suggestions to be able to carry on with the exercise program, and put up with the high intensity and the hours you commit to working out, without losing the enthusiasm you set out with on the very first day.

1. Visualise the goal and the reward you will get from it

Visualisation techniques will help to keep up your motivation by imagining yourself achieving your goal.  And it will also help you to relax and focus in moments of stress.  For example, when your legs ache, use your imagination to see yourself with that pain in your legs passing the finishing line of the marathon you’re training for!

2. Find some words, music and pictures to accompany you

In psychology, these are called ‘anchors’.  Find the words, music or picture that will get you into a positive frame of mind. This will help to motivate you, to be in the right state of mind to get started and stay active during the process.  If you haven’t yet got a playlist to give you the push you need, you can find lists on the internet that could help you, like this one.

3. Focus on the process

What you’re getting out of each session, how much you’re improving, or learning, “day by day”; each step represents a prize on the way towards the goal because each step is as important as the one before.

4. Break down the time into small sub-goals

It may seem a very long time, so draw up short-term goals to achieve (each week, month, every training session or event) to keep up your motivation.  Every small success you achieve will show you how much you have progressed and that you are on the right path to get to your final goal.

5. Always stay positive

Wow!  You’re doing what you wanted to do!  You can feel really proud of yourself, no-one else made you do it, this is something you’ve chosen for yourself, that you want to do.  Knowing this will let  you get more enjoyment out of your efforts. Stay positive means also not having excuses overtime, check this video, find your excuse and stop using it anymore:

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu

6. Give yourselves a reward and a pat on the back after every session

Whatever the cost to you,  you’ve made it!  Wear your medal!  Some people prefer to keep it hidden, others prefer to show it off. Anyway, don’t undervalue any of your efforts and give yourself a boost.  If it makes you feel better still, share your reward with the people who support you in keeping up the good work to achieve your goal.

Conclusion

To get as far as you planned to do, you have to keep motivated to stay in for the long haul.  The kind of motivation you need may be external or internal, as you’ve already seen in this article.  These ten keys will give you an idea of how to look for your inner strength, but you’ll have to discover it for yourself, being motivated depends just on you.

“You can keep going and your legs might hurt for a week, or you can quit and your mind will hurt for a lifetime.” – Mark Allen

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