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What's Killing your Fitness Motivation?

When it comes to exercising and losing weight, staying motivated is such a struggle for most people.  How many times have you started a workout routine with such zeal, only to see your initial momentum disappear.

Next, thing you know depression sets in and you start doubting yourself, which causes you to just give up.

We all experience this up and down emotional roller coaster at times.  What you have to understand is that exercising is not just a physical thing, but it is emotional.  The way you think about yourself and what you can accomplish can deeply affect you reaching your goals.

Our brain is like a muscle.  And like any other muscle a part of your body it has to be trained in order to perform at it's peak.  Getting motivated is just as hard as staying motivated because there are so many mental barriers we have to overcome:  self-doubt, past failures, and personal weaknesses.

Even if you overcome these barriers, they tend to creep backup at the first sign of failure.

There is no simple solution for a lack of motivation.  But, there are many reasons
why people lose fitness motivation.  I would like to identify the most common of these motivation killers and how you can overcome them so you can get your mojo back. :-)

Reasons We Lose Fitness Motivation

Here are primary reasons we lose fitness motivation.

  1. Lack of Self-Confidence                                                                                      
  2. Not Setting an Ultimate Goal.
  3. No Direction (Not having a plan)                                                                       
  4. Boring Workout Routines

Lack of Self-Confidence

One of the things that can affect your fitness motivation is lack of self-confidence.
Maybe you tried getting fit before or you tried losing weight but gave up for some reason.

Have you thought about what was the driving force behind your motivation to lose weight? 

Sometimes we start out losing weight for the wrong reason.  We tend to compare ourselves to others and wish we could look like them.  We've all seen people at the gym who are so firm and cutup strutting around in their cute small-sized shorts and sports bras.

Don't compare yourself to them.  If you are trying to look like someone else then you are telling  yourself you are not good enough.  This causes you to have low self-esteem.

We all have different body types so even if you did lose weight chances are you're not going to look like someone else.

If you find yourself in this situation then giving up is the right decision if you started losing weight for the wrong reason's.  This is a good thing because it allows you to see what really motivates you.

Then you can realigned your motivation with the right reason to get fit, what other people think shouldn't matter.  What's important is your health and how good you feel about yourself.

Not Setting an Ultimate Goal.

Another fitness motivation killer is lack of goal setting.  Most people become discouraged because they are so focused on the total amount of weight they need to lose.  "Oh my gosh, I have 75 pounds to lose!  It's never going to happen."  That's because you need to set a well define goal.

By defining a goal for yourself, you automatically define a set of actions.  So instead of focusing on the total amount of weight you need to lose, set a goal of losing two pounds a week.  Once you have accomplished losing those two pounds your confidence will grow so you can keep on track until the next week.

Don't be afraid of disappointments.  Be prepared for them.  Lord knows I've had my share of disappointments when keeping my diet on track.  Sometimes I find myself cheating on my diet - which we all do at some point.  But instead of feeling guilty and being down on myself, I decide to do something about it by working out and burning off some calories from my cheat meal. :-)

Disappointments can happen when we set our expectations so high until if we don't accomplish what we expected, we start to feel guilty.  Just remember it's not all-or-nothing.

It's important to be realistic in your expectations.  Always set well defined goals with measurable steps.

No Direction (Not having a plan)             

In order to stay motivated on your journey to fitness you have to know what to do.  A lack of direction kills your fitness motivation because you don't know the next activity.  You need a day-to-day strategy to achieve your goal of getting fit. 

This is where a fitness plan comes in.  Without one we start to procrastinate - putting off what we can do today for tomorrow.

To help you find direction just start identifying the activities that will lead to success.

For an example, a typical fitness plan would probably look like this:

Define your goals.  This will involve finding your starting point and where you want to go.  Find your healthy weight goal by calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI).  This will give you a short-term and long-term weight goals.

Chart your progress.  You can either use an online tracker or a journal to record your food intake and amount of exercise done.  It's best to measure body fat rather than weight. 

Start exercise program. This can be a combination of walking, strength training and running.  Start out 2 to 3 days  a week if you are a beginner.  Get plenty of rest.

Set Milestones.  Reward yourself every time you reach one of your milestones.

Set New Goals.

  Once you have accomplished your goals, set a new fitness goal.

Boring Workout Routines

Cardio workouts can be boring, especially if they are long and drawn out routines.  A lack of variation of fitness activities can definitely kill your fitness motivation.

It's important to mix up your routine to keep boredom at bay.  I tend to workout inside a lot.  But there are times I will take my workout outside by taking a walk around the neighborhood.

Another thing I like to do is break up my exercise session into two or three sessions.  This makes it convenient when you are pressed for time.

What ever fitness activity you decide make sure it's something you enjoy doing, whether it's yogo, Zumba, or hoop dance.  Mix it up and have fun getting fit.

Now, A Word about Discipline.

No wait.  Not that type of discipline.  However, if you need a swift kick in the but to get you motivated to workout, then go for it.  LOL!!

All kidding aside. 

For many people, discipline is seen to be the same as punishment like you see in this photo where the father is disciplining his child. 

But, the type of discipline I'm talking about is self-discipline

Self-discipline is the ability to control your behavior so that you do what you should do.  It involves acting according to what you think instead of how you feel at the time.  Giving up something of pleasure for what is really important.

What's important to you and me is getting fit and keeping the weight off.  That takes self-discipline. 

So when you are self-disciplined you are automatically driven to:

  • Follow your fitness plan even though you want to put it off.
  • Turn down that slice of chocolate cake when you really want to devour it.
  • Go workout at the gym when all you want to do is become a couch-potato.

Don't worry if you struggle with self-discipline.  We all do at some point.  The good news is it can be developed with practice.  Once you practice self-discipline it becomes a habit.

In the words of Jim Ryan, "Motivation is what gets you started.  Habit is what keeps you going."

› Motivation

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