I’m a naturally disciplined person. I exercise 6 days a week, usually early mornings. It’s not always easy. That’s not true. It’s never easy. Getting up at 4:30 a.m., hitting the pavement for a run or going to the gym for a hard workout is often the last thing my body wants to do. So I have come up with a few systems to help push through when motivation alone is not enough, which happens to be pretty much every day.
Set up goals. Different seasons in life I have different goals. They provide me with the motivation I need. I have trained for a 5k, 10k and marathon. I’ve done triathlons. My current goal is hitting single digits body fat. I’m almost there. If you have a goal, you’ll go much farther, faster. It gives you a reason to say “no” to the warm cookie the flight attendant offers late at night after a brutal day, or to order the baked tilapia and steamed broccoli at Maggiano’s when your entire family is feasting on a mountain of delicious carbs.
Schedule the workouts. On Sunday night I schedule my entire week’s workouts. If I’m traveling I try to find a gym near my hotel, and if I can’t workout, then I make that day my rest day. This week, for example, I’m doing chest, triceps and abs on Monday, back and biceps and running on Tuesday, shoulders and abs on Wednesday, running and legs on Thursday, arms on Friday and a long run on Saturday.
Prepare the night before. I have a tendency to walk around aimlessly in the mornings. If I don’t pick my clothing and pack my gym bag the night before, I’m usually late for the gym and my workouts don’t get done. I get everything ready so all I have to do is get up, brush my teeth and get out. Self motivation is not enough.
Have an accountability partner. I have a workout partner, several running partners and I even have friends in cities I visit often to get a good workout or run in. Knowing someone is waiting on me, forces me to get up and get going. I also work harder when I’m doing it with another person. But make sure you find someone who is reliable and who’s going to push you. A demotivating, unreliable partner can derail your plans faster than training alone.
Have you developed systems to help when you lack motivation?