Staying Motivated

posted Sep 29, 2014, 1:31 AM by Rebecca Smith
With the warmer hitting and summer approaching there is a renewed sense of motivation toward exercise. While wanting to look good for summer is great at getting you to the gym, when things start to build up and the holidays get closer the workouts are usually the first thing to go. There is an endless list of reasons for this but the end result is the same, summer starts and you are no closer to reaching your goal. As you have already taken the first step to reaching your goal, we want to make sure you can achieve it, and head into summer knowing that you gave it your all. So, check out these tips to staying motivated. Try them all and see what works best for you, as motivation is not one size fits all.

WRITE IT DOWN

Studies have shown that when the participants wrote down their intention to exercise, or recorded when they did, they exercised more regularly then the ones who did not. So, take some time to look over your calendar for the next few months and fill in when you can exercise. Treat this appointment as you would any other appointment. It is for your health and wellbeing that you keep this appointment. Make sure that you keep the time consistent so that over time it will become a part of your routine. When making the calendar entry write down what you want to achieve from each workout, and what your overall goal is. This will help keep you motivated and keep your exercise appointment. After completing your workout, write a note next to the entry to say whether or not you met your goal for that workout, what you enjoyed about that session, what you would like to improve on and how you feel after completing it. These simple notes will help you track your progress toward your overall goal, and give you something to inspire motivation when you feel you need it.

SET S.M.A.R.T. GOALS

We all have something that we would like to achieve, for some it is to run a marathon, while others it is to lose weight. While having a goal is an important motivator, most people lose that motivation because they just don’t know how to reach it and give up. SMART goals are designed to break down a goal and make it less daunting. The SMART acronym stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.

Specific: A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the six “W” questions:

  • Who - Who is involved? 
  • What - What do I want to accomplish? 
  • Where - Identify a location. 
  • When - Establish a time frame. 
  • Which - Identify requirements and constraints. 
  • Why - Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal. 

For Example: A general goal would be to “Get in shape.” But a specific goal would say, “Go to the gym for a workout 3 days a week.”

Measurable - Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward reaching each goal you set. By measuring your progress, you can stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the achievement that help keep you motivated to reach your goal.

To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as……

How much? How many?

How will I know when it is accomplished?

Attainable – When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. By breaking your goal into smaller, achievable steps you can boost your motivation and self-confidence by successfully reaching these goals and bringing the end result closer. Almost any goal can be achieved when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them.

Realistic- To be realistic, your goal must represent what you are willing and able to achieve. Some goals may seem extravagant, but so long as you have a plan and know you can follow it then that is realistic. An unrealistic goal would be if you want to run a marathon in a month, but have only been training for two weeks. A challenging goal is frequently easier to reach than an easy one because an easy goal exerts low motivational force. So there is a middle ground when refining your goals, which is why it is important to take the time to find what works for you. Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past or ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.

Timely – A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 10kg, when do you want to lose it by? “Someday” won’t work. But if you anchor it within a timeframe, “by December 31st”, then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.

CREATE A DECISION BALANCE SHEET

Make a list of the pros and cons of exercise. Write down the positives and the negatives of making exercise a priority, and for not making it a priority. Include anything that you see as being a good and bad about both options. Write down what your life would be like in 5 years if you do and do not start making exercise a priority. These lists are an excellent tool to refer to when you feel like you need a little motivational boost. In 2003 a study was done involving university students using this tool to help them stick to an exercise program. The study found that of the group that used this tool most were more motivated and committed to their program, while the group that didn’t use this had less success.

USE AFFIRMATIONS

Yes, stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself how great you are! Current research is exploring the link between self-esteem and motivation to participate in healthy behaviours. It has been argued that low self-esteem leads to low levels of motivation and participation in exercise programs. Affirmations have been shown to eliminate the negative effect of low self-esteem on poor performance and increase motivation. The only rule when writing affirmations is to exclude any negative words, they are completely positive. They should be personal and inspiring. Include all of your good qualities, what you’ve achieved and how close you are to achieving your goal.

Try these tools out and find the ones that work best for you and stay motivated!

Laura
Difference Personal Trainer Narellan & Camden
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