I have a friend; let’s call him Adam, who inspired me to write this article. Adam grew up being ‘the fat kid’, bullied during the major parts of his school years.
He was used to hearing that he was a pig, ugly and was destined to life a life in isolation and loneliness. He was miserable during practically his whole childhood and started taking antidepressants and sleep medication at an early age, partially anesthetizing him from the challenges of everyday life. At 18 he was hospitalized for the first time because of his first suicide attempt. It was the first of quite a few visits to the psychiatric clinic.
Then Adam found strength training. I would lie if I said that it changed his life completely, that would be an unfair overstatement and this is not a sunshine story – BUT he did find something he was good at.
You see Adam was insanely strong and finally he got some respect from his fellow gym rats and they could discuss something he was good at, a completely new experience to him. Bitten by the gym bug he loved the results resistance training gave him. He was still massively overweight though, and knew the serious health risks it meant to his health.
Adam came up to me some time ago telling me about him deciding to finally lose weight. As you understand – to say he had reasons to be insanely motivated is underestimating how fired up he was about finally getting it done. He had already started his fat loss program and from my perspective was doing everything right.
I saw Adam a few months later; he was still massively overweight and explained to me how he just couldn’t stay motivated. It was totally mind-blowing for me. If someone like Adam, who has all the reasons in the world to stay motivated through his program, loses motivation so easily – how the hell am I supposed to stay accountable to my program with goals far less important?
1. Goal setting
You cannot stay motivated if you don’t know where you’re headed. It’s like staying motivated searching for treasure, without a treasure map. You don’t have to see the outcome clearly but at least pick direction (Fat loss? Muscle gain?) Make your goals proximal, difficult yet attainable, and be specific. New goals will motivate most people in the beginning and will get you of your behind, but to keep the motivation you need to turn your goals into action steps. Then you need to take action – EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
2. Make your training fun
Seriously – there are just too many effective programs that are fun for you to do one you don’t like. If your program doesn’t get you fired up – make it fun or change it up completely for some time. Picking an inferior program that you love to do and can adhere to for longer periods of time will always yield better results than the ‘optimal’ program you can’t stand.
3. Share your goals
Having someone’s eyes on you will increase the likelihood of you staying accountable to the program. Just remember that cyberspace is full of haters and jealousy so be very conscious in who you choose to share your goals with. Choose positive people close to your heart that will support you all the way and ignore all the negativism from the internet warriors.
We are all competitive at heart so use this to stay motivated. Sign up for a bodybuilding show, powerlifting meat or challenge your training partner who’s going to get that 300 lbs bench first – it really does not matter. But you will learn that our primitive competitive side can be one of the most motivational strategies out there when it comes to getting hard things done.
5. Help others
One of the most motivating things in my own training was when I started helping others and doing online consultations. They say you don’t have to be in shape to possess superior knowledge, and I know it is true (we have seen it in the fitness industry over and over again) – however, it just doesn’t work for me. If you have collected some knowledge/experience of your own – SHARE IT. You don’t have to be an ‘expert’ to teach someone the basic principles of fat loss – still it can change their life. And I promise you – your own motivation will get a boost knowing somebody is looking up to you and implementing your methods. Motivating others is one of the most motivating things I know.
6. Suck it up
Sometimes your life will suck. As important as I think it is to be aware of signs of overtraining – I have actually met very few people suffering from it. I have however met tons of people using overtraining as a lame excuse to skip their workouts, deviate from their nutritional plan or being boring, lethargic or lazy. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and do it anyway. This is cognitive resistance training at its best.
If you are one of those people often fired up about starting a new program but just can’t seem to stay motivated – try these simple tips and watch your motivation grow exponentially with your results. Oh, and by the way; Adam is in the shape of his life and has already picked one bodybuilding competition where he will step up and give his comeback to the world.
What keeps you motivated?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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