Goals are easy to get excited about, but not so easy to reach. Some days you just don’t want to show up.
From workouts to writing, our goals that seemed so doable a couple of weeks ago now seem insurmountable. That’s when the couch beckons us with a siren song of Netflix and a bag of chocolate-chip cookies. Blame it on your lack of physical or emotional energy.
But, the good news is you’re not alone (Or lazy. Or talentless.) Everyone feels this way.
Recently, a question was asked on Reddit:
People who work out everyday or practice a skill everyday, how do you find the motivation and how do you stay motivated?
Here are nine strategies people shared for getting to the gym and could also apply to any goal you’re struggling to reach.
1. Break your big goal into chunks.
Try to change yourself day by day.
Short term goals vs a long 6 month goal. Don’t make getting a to the gym a must. Days get busy and sometimes worrying about the gym decreases motivation. Dreams are great for future motivation. Personal well being is great motivation for the present. Change things up at the gym and most importantly do things you enjoy. Especially things that you couldn’t without being physically fit. Join clubs and teams to keep yourself accountable but make sure they give constructive criticism.This is all what I’ve figured out about myself and sticking with a routine.
I fall out or a routine super easy but small goals and being on a local recreational sports teams has helped me stay somewhat fit.
2. Focus on your daily goal for five minutes.
When I am trying to establish a new workout routine, I make a deal with myself.
I have to do at least X minutes of workout (maybe start with 5), I can always quit after that. It is silly to avoid 5 minutes of working out. But once I get started, it feels absolutely absurd to quit before 15 minutes, and once I make it to 15, I can usually push further. It gets easier to push it up a bit further as you continue. I also don’t stress about not having ambitious exercise routines.
What is the right amount of exercise? The amount you will actually do.
3. Work toward your goal first thing in the morning.
The secret I learned when I did go to the gym (have a home gym now and love it) was to do one of two things:
Wake up early and go before work so the gym is literally just a part of your morning routine.
Pack your gym bag and bring it with you so you don’t need to go home first.
I found over the years that my couch has a gravitational field to it, and if I spend any time at home after work, my ass just gets sucked to it. Getting it done first thing in the AM worked best, but stopping at the gym on the way home was a close second.
4. Discipline vs. Motivation
This is exactly it and it applies for everything.
Are you motivated to wake up in the morning and go to work everyday? Probably not but you do it anyways cuz you know it’s what needs to be done.
You just need to have that same mindset when it comes to going to the gym.
5. Never go home first.
Convenience is king.
My climbing gym is really near my home, so I thought I’d leave gear there, come home after work, and cycle over to the gym.On a bad week, I’d finish work, get home to “get ready”, flop on my bed and do nothing. Really hurt my routine. I’d make any excuse under the sun, but just not sitting down is key. How do I avoid that? I don’t go home. Pack climbing/training gear, go straight to the gym after work, maybe get a snack if I need it, but nothing too heavy.
It’s sad knowing that’s the difference between my healthy habits and unhealthy impulses, but once I know, I can work around it.
6. Anger is a motivator.
I am angry… I am REALLY ANGRY AT STUFF.
Thats the thing that drives me.
7. Reaching your goal is a process.
Motivation is like a match. It’s easy to get going, but it doesn’t last long.
Routine is kindling. It needs a little heat to get going, but it will burn longer and puts out more heat.
Habit is firewood. It takes some time to get going, but once you’ve got a good blaze it will go for a long time. Forever if you keep feeding it fuel.
You need all three. Motivation to start, routine to catch, and habit to keep going.I will say this – every time I go to the gym, I moan and gripe the whole way there that I don’t want to go. And every time I leave the gym, I remind myself how glad I am that I went. It’s all a matter of perspective.
8. You won’t like yourself if you don’t do it.
I always remind myself when I don’t feel like going that I never regret going to the gym.
But I always regret not going. It’s about getting through negative emotions about going to prevent even worse negative emotions about not going later.
9. The rewards are worth the pain.
I go to the gym everyday and dislike it in comparison to staying home. However, I hate the way I look in the mirror much more than I do commuting to my gym and working out for a little more than an hour a day.
Not sure if it counts as motivation, but I view it as follows: everyday I skip going to the gym, it’s another day of staying the way I am currently, which isn’t where I want to be.
The message here is to ignore the voice in your brain telling you it’s too hard, too dark, too cold or your day was too stressful for you to reach your goal. Instead, create smaller, daily goals and commit to working on them for a few minutes. Before you know it, you’ve developed a discipline that gives you addictive results.
This process will carry you through the days you’d rather be a slug.
Remember, your goal is worth reaching!