How I Find Workout Motivation When I Need It Most
This guest post comes to you from Studio Tone It Up trainer Chyna Bardarson. Chyna is a NASM certified personal trainer, specializing in kickboxing, HIIT, and strength training. All opinions expressed in this column are her own.
Hey girl! I wanted to write you a little something that I’ve been thinking about since the New Year. It is about the concept of motivation because, if I’m being honest, sometimes one of the hardest things for me is to "feel motivated." I used to always think that motivation was this magic spark I was supposed to feel. So if I wasn’t always feeling motivated to work out or eat healthy (especially as a trainer) I just felt like a fraud. First thing I want you to realize is that it is not only OK, but entirely normal and needed, to sometimes have phases of feeling unmotivated.
Once I made the distinction that motivation isn't a feeling, everything changed! This is actually what it is all about. The journey isn’t to base everything off of how we “feel,” but rather what we have commited to. It is completely OK to feel unmotivated — you don’t need to get down on yourself for that. What matters is what you do with those feelings. I relate it to love. Love isn’t just a feeling. It is a verb. An Action. A commitment. I think that is an important truth to get right in our mind before diving into the topic of motivation further. It is OK if you are feeling unmotivated some days, because this is where you get to practice commitment — even when it doesn’t “feel” easy or entirely natural.
Now, the question is how do I get myself motivated to get a sweat in if I am not in the mood for it? Here are a few of my top strategies that might work for you too!
Write Down Your Why
If you’ve worked out with me in the Tone It Up app, you’ll know one of my favorite ways to find motivation begins with remembering your ‘why.’ And if you don’t have a ‘why,’ now is a great time to create one! Just think deeply about the reasons you want to get healthy and maintain a healthy lifestyle right now. This could range from being a strong role model to your children, to knowing that you feel more confident and joyful when you're taking care of yourself, to running a marathon! It’s important to pinpoint your ‘why’ rather than simply going through the motions. In order to stay committed when it doesn’t feel easy or comfortable, you have to have meaningful reasons that your mind can cling to. Why is it so important to you to stay the path and persevere? Sometimes that why has to be bigger than yourself.
Remember The Ripple Effects
For me, another amazing source of motivation is thinking about the feeling I get after a workout. It changes everything. A little sweat can help remind you that you are strong and committed just like you thought. You naturally feel better about yourself because you accomplished what you know you wanted to deep down. This confidence and rush of endorphins helps you remember why you do this and it will carry over into the rest of your choices throughout the day. After all, life is about a bunch of small decisions. These small choices can create ripple effects that end up changing our entire life trajectory for the better.
Pause right now to think about how you felt after the last workout session you had. What words come to mind? Strong? Happy? Proud? Whatever those words are, I encourage you to write them down on a notecard. Next time you are trying to muster up the energy to workout, simply read those words and it will remind you of the incredible reward that is waiting for you on the other side of that workout.
Reframe Your Journey
Lastly, sometimes the reason I get off track and can’t seem to find motivation to start again, is because I convince myself that my goals are too out of reach. This is where reframing your thoughts can really help. If I had a goal of committing to the TIU Nutrition plan 100% and I only followed it 20% for the week, my mind tells me that 20% is closer to 0 which means I mine as well have done nothing. This is one of the greatest misperceptions we can try to overcome — that those first few steps towards our goal don’t matter. It’s as if we don’t think we are near our goals until we are within inches of reaching it.
Another example is if my goal were to run a marathon. I might not think I’m anywhere near that goal until I can run 20-mile distances. If I only ran 2 miles today, it’s easy for my mind to want to convince myself that those 2 miles are so far from the goal that it doesn’t even count and I may as well not try. The real truth here, however, is that the jump from no motion to motion or the jump from 0-1 is actually the biggest growth you can have.
Those first few steps that we put in motion towards our goals are usually the most important part. Zero to 1 is exponential growth. For me, that last leg of the run is never the hardest. Getting myself off the couch to get moving is consistently the hardest part.
Do The Little Things
I say all this to encourage you that whatever steps you're taking towards your goals today DO matter. The little things are actually everything. The difference in the world isn’t between those who do a lot and those who do a little. The difference in the world is between those who do something and those who do nothing. When you let that truth sink in, you should have no reason not to try. Try the little things this week. Try the small goals of just getting up and moving, or following the nutrition plan however you can this week. When you look back a year from now, those little things will become everything and I guarantee will evolve your life entirely as long as you remember the significance of trying!
I want to hear from you too! Tell me your best strategies for finding motivation in the comments below, or find me on Insta @studiotoneitupchyna
Join me in the Tone It Up app for amazing workouts, healthy recipes, and more!