5 ‘magic’ tricks to get motivated
It’s a bit chilly and the excitement of the New Year may have worn off a bit so keeping to that exercise regime may be getting difficult. This could be particularly the case if your main targets are in the summer or similarly far away in time.
If you are struggling to keep getting out and exercising or sticking to your plan, here are a few ideas you might find helpful.
1. Make your exercise part of a routine
If you make your exercise part of your daily life it will be much easier. It takes a bit of motivation at first but once you establish the routine it is just what you do. I used to run in the mornings so got into the routine of getting up, putting my kit on and setting off. On some days it was so automatic I’m sure I didn’t properly wake up until I found myself half way round my morning run route. It is also a good idea to do the same thing every day or every working day if it is a morning routine; or at least most days but always have the same day off.
Other good ideas are to call in at the gym on your way home from work or during another trip. Exercise before going shopping at the weekend; there are many ways to do it. Be creative but remember it works best if you tag onto something you do already.
Make a promise to yourself to do at least 1 month of your new routine to make it a habit.
2. Sign up to a class or exercise with a friend
This is really about making a commitment. If you sign up to an exercise class or arrange to meet your friend at a given place and time you have made a commitment and if you don’t go you will be letting your friend down.
Following on from my morning run theme, I often used to run with a friend in the mornings, meeting at an appointed place at a given time meant there was no thinking involved just a case of getting up and getting to the meeting place.
Other similar things are joining a club that meets at the same time and place each week. Once you have made a few friends there, you will enjoy it and you will also know that they may ask you where you have been if you miss a session. Just a little more incentive to turn up.
3. Think about the benefits
Remember that you have many reasons for training, you may have a goal competition coming up and most of the time you probably enjoy the benefits of your training when you get back and often while you are exercising. If you are lacking in motivation just think of these things.
You can make a list of all the reasons you exercise and train. You can do this yourself, work on the list with a friend or ask a professional such as a sports coach to help you. Put the list on display somewhere you will see it, particularly somewhere you may see it if you are having trouble getting out to train. When you see the list it will help you remember all the good things about what you are missing out on and motivate you to train.
4. Keep a diary and look at it
Keep a diary and as you see how much training you have done, how things are improving you will be motivated to keep going. When you notice a positive change you can note it down and spend a little time thinking about how far you have come from where you started.
It is quite easy to keep a diary nowadays with the smart gadgets that record your exercise: heart rate monitors, GPS watches and tools on smartphones such as Strava, Garmin Connect and Suunto Movescount. These sites also form communities that you can use to help motivate you, automatically comparing your performances with your previous sessions as well as with others who do similar routes.
5. Tell someone about what you are doing, your plans and progress and get feedback
Working and training with a friend or coach is a great way to keep motivated. Coaches are professionally trained to help you stay motivated so their skills can be invaluable, your success is also their success so both athlete and coach can work together when the going gets tough.
It is sometimes difficult to stay motivated if you are trying to do everything yourself and with no support. If you don’t want to tell people you know about what you are doing you can work with a professional coach and surprise people when you do that great competition or challenge. If you have interested, non-judgemental friends or training partners you can discuss your goals and progress with them.
Involving other people is a great way to stay motivated and also a great way to build confidence in what you are doing. Particularly if you can get knowledgeable feedback on your ideas and ambitions.
I hope these ideas are helpful to you. I know the ideas and techniques have helped me and many of my friends and the athletes I work with so they definitely work.
Good luck, have fun and please let me know what you think.