Surround yourself with Inspiring Pictures
Pictures of fit individuals, breathtaking scenery, people working out and/or motivating quotes can have a dramatic effect on whether you feel like exercising or not.
Strategically place them in areas where you often find yourself making excuses. For example, if you struggle to leap out of bed each morning with excitement about your impending workout – then place one or two pictures in the bedroom. Alternatively, if you find attending a fitness class over lunch a challenge, put a picture on your desk or have one as your desktop background.
There is a selection of inspiring pictures and quotes above that you are welcome to look through. It may sound simple, but surrounding yourself with pictures that motivate you, can mean the difference between a workout and a well used excuse.
Listen to energising music
Music has two powerful effects. Firstly, before and during a workout – it can energize you. Secondly, listening to music while working out can distract you – which in turn can be motivating particularly when running or cycling long distances.
If you find yourself dreading a run or feel a little deflated before hitting the gym, then listen to your favourite music. You may even find you begin to look forward to an hour of jogging because it becomes more about feeling good while listening to music rather than the pain of pushing yourself on.
Just one thing to note though. Try not to get into the habit of listening to music every time you workout – particularly if you are training for events where listening to music isn’t an option. Otherwise you might find that you aren’t quite prepared for a workout where the pain is very much front and centre.
Collect video clips that give you energy
It’s not a secret that many successful sports people will get their mind ‘in the game’ by watching video clips of great plays or sporting moments of glory.
However even in our everyday lives, watching clips of inspiring speakers, sports, high energy activities and even workouts can have a profound effect. You may remember a moment in your own life where you witnessed an athlete overcome incredible odds to win an event. Seeing and revisiting these moments can create a powerful stirring in our hearts.
Look for and collect video clips that motivate you. When you find yourself at that crossroad between taking the easy road or taking the healthy road – boost your willpower by watching a clip that will judge you harshly.
Seek out stories that give you hope
It can be easy to look at others who are fit and healthy, and subconsciously conclude that they must have been blessed with good genes, had more time to exercise or had stronger willpower. You may be surprised to find that there are many stories of athletes and sportspeople who grew up thinking exactly the same thing.
There are so many amazing stories out there. Most of them are of regular people who struggled to lose weight or who anguished through every workout in order to transform their life. Being healthy and fit will never be the path of least resistance but it can be encouraging to know that we are not alone in that struggle.
Seek out these stories. Know that in your pain, lack of will power, inability to get into a routine or frustration at your slow progress – many others have been there, and kept going. One day, you may even have the chance of sharing your own story and give others hope too.
For some people this may sound a little strange, but it has been proven to work. Many great leaders, athletes, business executives and sportspeople have used self-motivating talk to give them confidence and motivation.
A simple ‘you can do this’ or ‘you are stronger than you think’, can be a boost to your confidence before a workout and can flood you with determination during one. Some people find it helpful to spend some time in front of the mirror while engaging in self-motivating talk, but the method you use and the words you find most helpful will be different for everyone.
If you struggle to find the right words at the right time, you may find repeating an inspiring quote can work just as well. Again, feel free to browse through the selection of quotes above.
Define yourself by your fitness
As humans, we tend to identify with certain cultures and sub-cultures over others. Whether we realise it or not, we will begin to take on some of the characteristics that make up these cultures. This is why we have stereotypes. So for instance, if you were to think of people who you would consider part of a fitness culture (i.e. health freaks, gym junkies) you would probably have a certain image come to mind.
By adopting some of the characteristics of what you consider to be part of a fitness culture, you may find – incredibly – that you become more motivated to actually get out and get active. Some examples might be to learn fitness terminology; be brave and make new friends at your gym class; subscribe to a fitness magazine; buy gym clothes and shoes that make you feel trendy and good about yourself; wear your gym clothes more often; talk about workouts with your friends; attend fitness conferences; and the list goes on.
The point is simply this – immersing yourself in the ‘fitness culture’ can actually give you more drive to workout.
Find an Accountability Partner
This is a big one! For most of us, we can use all the motivation tips in the world, but there will be days when their effect just won’t be enough. This is when having an accountability partner can make all the difference.
It is generally a great idea if your accountability partner is also your training partner. That way, when you schedule a workout, you know that you are expected to be there. A good accountability partner should also be your harshest ‘excuse’ critic. However, an accountability partner isn’t just there to be your morning alarm, they are fantastic in motivating and pushing you during your workout as well.
Accountability partners really are so important. Your encouragement will be just as significant, and you may find yourself on occasion being the one to slap down your partners excuses. When you find someone, be clear from the start – we are here to motivate, not to agree with each others excuses.
Get social with your training colleagues
If you train with others, whether it be in a class, at the gym or in a sport – don’t let the relationship end there. The more you socialise with your training colleagues, the more you strengthen your encouragement network.
It could be as simple as meeting for a quick breakfast after your workout, or sharing some coffee just before. It is now quite common for road-bike riders to ride in a group towards their favourite café. This offers a goal during the ride, and some great social interaction after. For some, the socialising actually becomes more of a motivation to get up and ride than the ride itself.
If you’re a little hesitant to approach your fitness colleagues at first, you may find it easier to simply invite some friends to your workouts. Over time, you may find your group expanding and your motivation to train and socialise, skyrocketing.