How can we find and keep the fire burning inside that pushes us to fulfill our dreams, even outside of physical activity?
When we start with something new or want to change something in our lives, there’s always some impulse or reason for our actions. And this reason is called motivation. Its' intensity, power, and importance determine how (un)successful these efforts will be.
Here are several tips from us on how to set the right motivation and, most importantly, keep it. We focus on motivation to do some physical exercise and follow a healthy diet, but most of these tips can be useful in any area of our lives.
INNER AND OUTER MOTIVATION
Inner motivation comes from inside us. It’s independent of what’s around us. Simply said, it’s a discrepancy and difference between how we are actually living and how we would like to live. Our inner motivation to do physical activities regularly may be due to the fact that we don’t want to lose our breath when climbing a mere two flights of stairs, to get rid of a backache or to join a group of friends and play volleyball.
Outer motivation, on the other hand, is in some way determined by what’s around us. We wouldn’t really consider any change ourselves, but something outside of us pushes us to make a change. A new year’s resolution is a typical outer motivation to take up regular training sessions (“everybody makes a resolution, so I’ll make one as well”). Another motivation could be the fact that my family or friends criticize the way my body looks or my boyfriend asks me to join him on his runs.
Inner motivation is much more important for the result of our efforts. If we feel strong inner motivation, we can do almost anything, and not even good outer motivation beats it.
Let’s take a look at an example. On January 1st, when I’m looking back, I can see that I gained five kilos last year. Well, I don’t look that chubby to myself, but maybe I could try to get rid of them, since it’s the New Year. OK, the next day I go to the gym; of course, it’s just packed, lots of people with the same resolution, plus the machines look more like torture tools from the Middle Ages than something I’d like to use… In fact, I’m much better off at home on the couch, holding a bowl of nuts and a cup of hot chocolate. See that battle of the inner and outer motivation? Which is going to win, I wonder. And when are you going to see me in the gym again? Well, for this example, on January 2, next year, of course.
If we decide to keep doing some activity for a long time and actually achieve something, setting the goals correctly can help us a lot. Consider following the SMART method, the most efficient way to set goals:
- Specific – instead of saying “I’ll cut down on sugar” it’s better to say “I’ll no longer add sugar in my coffee or have a cookie with it“
- Measurable - not “I’d like to improve as a runner” but “I’d like to improve my five-kilometre run by 60 seconds“
- Realistic – related to the one above; if I can’t do a single pull-up with assistance now, I can’t really expect to do 20 with no assistance in mere six months (well, it may happen, but it’s always better to set less ambitious goals and to be pleasantly surprised later)
- Time specific – not “I’d like to get rid of 5% of fat” but “I’d like to lose 0.5% of fat each month for the next 10 months”
Also, in order to achieve any goal, it’s important to not set too many of them at the same time. Instead, try to set one main goal in every area of life and set another only once you’ve achieved it.
It’s good to divide major goals into sub-goals.
If I set a goal to run a half-marathon in twelve months, my partial goals may be the following: run 12 kilometres every week, run 15 kilometres without stopping in six months’ time, then to run 20 kilometres every week, and to run 20 kilometres without stopping in nine months’ time. That way, I’ll be achieving my goals more often, which will make me happy. Also, it’ll be easier for me to check that I’m actually doing something in order to achieve my major goal.
Leggings and bras: Reebok
LOVE YOUR WAY
If we do some activity that we have to force ourselves to do each time, don’t feel like doing and don’t enjoy, it may not be the right thing for us to do.We are supposed to enjoy our lives. Each activity should make us smile, feel happy and satisfied, and – mainly – we should enjoy it.
You’ve tried running but you can’t really relax meanwhile and the only thing you’re thinking about is how you can’t go on anymore? Try walking then. Don’t like all those machines in the gym or don’t know how to use them? Look for a group session of bodyweight exercise. Don’t enjoy doing physical activities on your own? Try some team sports, such as volleyball or badminton!
You know that Rome wasn’t built in a day, right? And that there must have been thousands of problems and complications there. You can bet there’ll be obstacles on your new path as well. There’ll be days when you won’t feel like moving, days when you won’t feel like eating healthy food and will instead want to head for the closest fast food instead. Days when you’ll feel that your progress has stopped. Don’t despair – persevere! Better moments will surely come and you’ll enjoy your path again.
RECORD YOUR PROGRESS
- Take photos, write it down, draw.
- Write down your objectives on a motivation board, add motivational images and quotes, and check them off once you’ve achieved them.
- If your goal is to change the way your body looks, keep taking photos of yourself, do some measuring and write it all down. Create charts and tables.
- Get a training diary and write down your training sessions and how you felt after them. Use colors!
- Don’t forget to reward yourself for each achievement. For example with something nice to wear.
- Share your progress with us on Instagram and tag @top4fitness and #top4fitness to motivate others. We are happy to share the best pics on our profile.
Let every, even the smallest improvement, make you happy, and then you’ll see that you may not need any further motivation anymore, as you’ll be looking forward to each training session and each healthy meal will please you. You’ll enjoy it!