Ok, there is a mountain of information on this topic out there. Remember the last time you googled “how to stay motivated while working out”,
dove into those pages, read a bunch of controversial advice and got so overwhelmed, that you closed the tab and decided to take a nap. Sounds familiar, yeah?
Here’s the funny thing: we usually succeed in spite of what we do, not because of it. So, in spite of all the advice trying to mislead us on our way to a healthy body and a sharp mind, we will do fine. But hey, wouldn’t it be nice to know how we can do our best? You are right: it is gonna be awesome!
A lack of motivation does not equal laziness
Let’s try to deal at least partially with such a cumbersome topic as “sports motivation”. To cheer you up, here is the good news: a lack of motivation does not equal laziness. So, if you feel like being a healthy lifestyle enthusiast but are lacking enthusiasm, keep reading: you are going to find out some interesting, scientifically proven facts about how to stay hungry for exercise and finally achieve the results you have dreamed of.
Firstly, let’s lay some foundations here and agree that ‘any exercise is better than no exercise.’ Can we agree on that, friends? Thanks! Now we know where we are. Let’s keep moving. Here they are:
Ten Killer Facts About Motivation in Sports
hint: it is the surprisingly simple truth behind potentially extraordinary results
1. You are not too lazy.
You are not too undisciplined. You are definitely not too busy to welcome exercise into your life. YOU ARE JUST FINE! All you need, babe, is short workouts, easy how-tis and a spritz of inspiration to become fitter with every day. And we are gonna lead you along a “somewhere between boring and scary” path to reach your goals.
Actually, you are already at least half way there. Exercising does not necessarily mean sports, and this a terrific news for you if you can’t bear the thought of your sweaty body torturing itself at local gym thinking “kill me now, please”. Instead, you could be cycling, walking, jumping, dancing and participating in fun fitness challenges. We will look more closely into these soon.
Knowing all that, stay positive. Demotivating pictures do not work well, because negative messages produce negative results. They may also lead to opposition from our unconscious and grab a huge bite out of our motivation. And we don’t want it to be that way, no? Instead, we are gonna celebrate your small wins with you. And be proud of you.
2. Announce your goals. To yourself only.
Yes, we know you are a smart boy (girl) and can formulate your goals properly for example “to run a half marathon in 6 months” or “to go down one clothes size in five weeks”. These are noble goals, and you feel itchy to tell everyone about them. But researchers say that announcing your goals to others substantially decreases the chance of them being realised.
Why?!! The reason behind this paradox is the concept of substitution: when you announce your goals out loud and receive social appreciation for being such a focused individual, your mind is being tricked into thinking that everything is already done, and this decreases your motivation (read – your actual steps).
When you announce your goals out loud – you decrease your motivation
For more information browse TED Talk “keep your goals to yourself” – this (only) 3 minute long video will amuse you as much as it amused us.
3. Dream big AND create a clear path of simple, everyday steps.
Take one step at a time. If you can’t stand this phrase any more, here we have some synonyms: bit-by-bit; inch by inch; stage by stage; and our fave – slowly but surely. The key point here is that success is built sequentially.
It is one thing at a time that makes the whole deal. Multitasking is a trap for rosy- eyed self-improvement newbies. We personally love this quote ‘multitasking is merely the opportunity to screw up more than one thing at a time,’ Steve Uzzell. This cannot be said better.
Multitasking is a trap for rosy-eyed self -improvement newbies
Remember, that New Year’s eve when you wrote down a commitment to lead a healthier lifestyle? Your SMART goal was: to run 5 miles every morning, play tennis twice a week, practice pilates via webinars and … quit caffeine/cigarettes/eating at night/your choice goes here. And where are you now? Yep, we all have been there. So, small and sustainable changes are better than big and ambitious ones because they are more likely to last and make a bigger impact on your life in the long run.
4. Avoid decision paralysis situations.
We all know the phrase ‘the more the merrier’ Is it true? not always, as a matter of fact. Scientists have proven that too many choices can actually freeze our willpower and lead to the paradox of choice. It is easy to decide which jam to put on your morning toast when you are given 3 choices. Imagine if you were given 39! The situation of freedom and variety can leave us exhausted, afraid of not finding perfect solution and even resistant to make any choice at all.
To learn more, watch TED talk “the paradox of choice” with Barry Schwartz.
As we said earlier: remarkable results are directly linked to how specific you make your focus. Of course, if you want to, you may spend two hours deciding what kind of jam to buy. But try to avoid overwhelming yourself with variety when asking “what kind of workout best suits me today?” Otherwise chances are that you are gonna end up watching TV with a variety of snacks on your lap. A spoiler: on our site you are gonna find only ‘crème de la crème’ exercising.
5. Sleep and nourish your way to the top.
The way to be more productive, more inspired and have more joy for life is by getting enough sleep. Your body needs to be recharged regularly. More than that, taking a short nap or even performing a deep yawn before a serious mental or fitness challenge will oxygenate your brain and condition your body (you may yawn right now – it is all for the better).
6. Also – surprise! – try to pay attention to what you eat.
We know what you are thinking “like I have not heard that enough!” Sorry to bore you, but we just want to be sure you know that healthy nutrition contributes to 80% of your body image. So it’s impossible to get your perfect body through sports alone. But don’t worry. Soon we will figure out easy ways to eat right.
7. Self-control is a limited resource.
In other words, willpower has a limited battery life and needs to be spent wisely. That’s why all those mantras ‘no more grande whole milk lattes in my life’, ‘I have platinum gym membership and will go to the gym every morning for the next three months’ and tough restrictive diets work only in the short – term. For some people, only for a few days.
Ambitious goals are often unbearable for our willpower because we stick to our every day life routine and multitude of habits. Having acknowledged that, we should mention the inspiring fact that…
8. You can change your habit patterns.
In his genius book “The power of habit” Charles Duhigg draws the so-called Golden rule of habit change: “you can’t extinguish a bad habit, you can only change it”. We really recommend you to read this book. And for additional inspiration – watch Ted talk ‘Try something new for 3 days’ by Matt Cutts.
So, it is possible; but it takes some time. Some researchers suggest it takes 21 days to crack a habit and establish a new one, others say up to 30 days. Garym Keller and Jay Papasan in ‘The One Thing’ say it takes 66 days (sounds scary, doesn’t it? Let’s stick to 22 days).
Anyway, give a habit a time: once one is established, you can build another, more challenging one.
Give a habit a time: once one is established, you can build another one
Let’s get practical and take the example of turning yourself into an early bird. Shawn Achor in ‘The Happiness Advantage’ recommends creating rituals that make you exited to get out of your morning BFF – your bed. He starts the day by writing down things he’s thankful for.
Think about your own morning ritual, one that will actually make you happy right from the start of your day. Personally, the smell of freshly brewed coffee puts us in a good mood for hours . Our friend writes thank-you letters to her loved ones. She insists that doing so refreshes her mind with sweet memories, puts her in a good mood and gives her life a sense of balance.
So, the key here is to start your day with something that makes you happy, not busy – miserable. Early wake ups will reward you with a boost of energy for the whole day, and – as a bonus – you will have 10-30 free minutes to invest in your body with a nice conditioning workout.
9. Your dream – your problem.
We don’t mean to be rude, but somehow you know deep down that you are the only one who sincerely cares about seeing your dreams come true. While it is true that no-one succeeds alone, it is also true that you are responsible for your own success, no matter how much you spend on personal trainer, fancy gym membership etc.
10. Your surroundings influence you.
Let us be brutally honest: you are a blend of your 5 closest friends/family members. If this is not enough, please take one more fact on board: if your close friend gains some extra pounds, you are 57 percent more likely to get obese too. (Now it’s time for you to close the article while claiming ‘how dare you?!’)
Are you still here? Good girl (boy)! Pedro M.Gardete, a Stanford GSB professor, examined this social effect – whereby our behaviour is influenced by the behaviour of others. He conducted experiments on an aeroplane during a flight and got astonishing results: if the passenger next to you on a flight buys a snack or a movie, you are 30% more likely to buy something too.
Now pause for a moment and try to suppress your instinct to dismiss this data: believe us, it is true. If you want to read more, the article is ‘Understanding Social Effects in the In-Flight Marketplace: Characterisation and Managerial Implications’ in the Journal of Marketing Research. Now give this story a little thought. If a complete stranger’s behaviour can influence us so easily, what kind of impact can our spouses, friends and coworkers have? – people we meet every day and spend a lot of time with?
The people around you may be more important than you think
As strong as you think you are, no one is strong enough to avoid the influence of ‘skip your workout, let’s have a bite of juicy hamburger’ forever. Remember that will power is an exhaustible valuable resource, and manage it wisely.
So, hanging out with the right people – those with similar athletic goals – is the right thing to do. ‘Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher’, -Oprah Winfrey. Let’s be clear on this: we do not expect you to change your spouse for an athlete, but friends you can choose wisely.
You can and should change your environment, despite all the suggestions that you shouldn’t. Pull your sneakers out of the closet and put them near the front door; give away stores of salty snacks and buy a lot of vital food; turn off your phone at 10pm – all painless tricks to make changes easier…
Did this post help you rescue from the motivational talks’ ocean? Than you probably want to grab the Fitvize Donut below with all the headlines!
What to do next?
First, indulge your Inner Hero and share this post with your friends (remember The Truth N10!)
Second, if you are genuinely interested in becoming fitvize, we recommend to sign up for our FREE 15 -day e-course How to Fall in Love with Sports without Falling into Trouble. Here you will find a whole lot of motivation and freshly brewed one minute (!) workouts to improve your body image and sharpen your mind. Yup, you can get it all now for free!
And, we would LOVE to hear your thoughts below! Let’s talk, fellow!