Motivation – getting it, and keeping it!

It’s true, I’ve fallen off my perch when it comes to motivation at the moment.  Not so much with the change of diet although I’ll admit, I’ve had a few lapses back into that sweet, sweet world of refined sugar.  No, this is more about my fitness.

Call me crazy but for years now I’ve enjoyed going to the gym and the satisfaction of a hard, sweaty workout.  There have been times where I’ve not gone as regularly as I’d like but it’s still played a part in my life.  When I think back to this time last year though, I was incredibly motivated.  Three or four times a week (and before work no less!) I’d hit the gym, throw in an evening Body Balance or Kettlebells class plus go horse riding twice a week.  I had a routine.  Even if I felt tired or not in the mood I still got myself out of bed, laced up my trainers and got out there – 9 times out of 10 I actually felt better for it.

Now it’s the complete opposite – I barely make it to the gym once a week, and only because I have a session booked in with a trainer, and it’s been months since I last rode.  So what’s happened?  Well, my motivation has walked out the door, shutting it firmly behind itself.  I’m sure it’s not helped by a new job with a longer commute, that’s more stressful and sees me spending frequent periods of time away from home.  If you’d told that to my uber-motivated self last year I wouldn’t have accepted that as an excuse…

In 2013 I was lucky enough to meet Olympic Gold-medallist Victoria Pendleton.  I took the opportunity to ask her how she stayed motivated, allowing her to reach the pinnacle of her career.  She told me it was all about having goals and something to aim for.  It’s not just about the big, obvious goals either – that alone isn’t enough.  You need mini goals that take you on the path to the Big One.  If anyone should know if this works it’s Victoria.  If you’ve read her autobiography you’ll know she didn’t find much enjoyment in cycling.

So what about us mere mortals? I asked several friends about motivation and it’s not so dissimilar.  Most said that setting goals helped them whether it be getting in shape for a holiday or wedding to 10k runs and marathons.  Others said that they were motivated by their passions and hobbies – dancing, horse riding – or remembering how good they felt when they were in a healthy routine and looked good in their favourite pair of jeans!  Having a plan seems to help some too – making sure to decide when to hit the gym and what to eat at the start of the week, essentially making an appointment with themselves.

Whatever it is, when any of them feel things starting to slip, they just think back to the original reason for doing the things they do and just press the reset button allowing their motivation to get back on track.  So what’s my trick for getting motivated? Well, I’m still trying to work that out but I can honestly say I’ve been inspired by these wonderful friends of mine!

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