We've all heard the expression before, especially in fitness "A goal without a plan is just a wish" and that has always seemed perfectly true. However when you ask most people about their fitness goals they will tell you that what they have a problem with isn't setting goals; it's staying motivated long enough to accomplish them.

The largest reason most people find it nearly impossible to stay motivated when it comes to fitness may surprise you.

We all know the thought process we have when we want to make a change in our daily lives. We find something that's wrong, we tell ourselves we want it to be different, and then we work on making it happen. But if this is the tried and true method of starting a goal to make a change in our life then why does it seem to be more of a tried and false way of thinking when it usually doesn't get us to our goal?



Most personal trainers will at the very least will use a form of sports psychology even if they don't realize it with their clients and get them to answer WHY they have the goal they do. This is setting up the brain to recognize and make a deeper connection using internal rather than external motivations. The largest difference between the two being that the stronger internal motivators deal only with "YOU" and not outside or external factors.

A great example of an external motivator would be the stereotypical "I want to look good for summer" goal. This goal and others like it might be strong enough get you started on your goal, but they don't always root themselves deep enough to last. And then motivation is gone, older habits and patterns return, and you find yourself feeling sub-par when summer hits. Allow this to happen just a few times and it's not a big surprise when people give up on fitness all together.

Clients I've had that stayed with me the longest have always been great at making internal connections to what they really cared about with relation to their fitness goals. Making these connections doesn't always come easy because it really deals with being honest with yourself and what's most important to you.

So be honest and ask yourself:
  • What is it about fitness that makes you happy?
  • What about fitness is important to you in the long run?
  • What will be the consequence for you quitting?

Answering these questions for yourself or with a trainer can makes all the difference and help you from wasting something else important to you; your time.



With that being said sticking with a training program can still be very hard for people. So what are some things we can do to help us from losing motivation once we've make these internal connections?

Focus on the Now When it comes to health and wellness, internal motivations involve emphasizing your current health and happiness instead of ideas about future health, fitness, and positive body image. In order to make it more sustainable, exercise and healthy habits need to be relevant to your life today, and not an "off in the distance" goal of being satisfied.

You Have Value Nobody will argue the fact that every person has value. So it makes perfect sense that people need to equate the value of health and fitness exactly the same as their own personal value. Because after all, it is YOUR health. If people did this then making excuses for not doing something that has value to them begins to start rather silly. When people use the excuse and say "I don't have the time" what they are really saying is "I am not worth the time". We never hear people say that directly and why should we, it's just as horrible as it sounds which leads us to our next helpful tip to stay motivated.

The Glass is Half Full Too often people beat themselves up when it isn't necessary. A person with a higher positive outlook towards any given goal firmly believes in their own ability to perform a task and achieve it. It isn't very reasonable to expect a person to achieve something they don't believe themselves is possible. In the words of Henry Ford "If you think you can or you think you can't; you're right." Staying positive when it comes to setting goals helps build what is known as self-efficacy and is a relative to self-esteem. The greater a person's self-efficacy when it comes to health and fitness, the more likely they are to stick with an exercise program and make it a habit for life.

Smarter Goals Not Harder Goals Instead of looking at the end result as one huge goal, give yourself several smaller goals which will help you accomplish the overall mission. This sounds simple; but most people when they look to get in shape give themselves too vague of a goal which in reality is much harder to measure and leads to feeling like it's all for nothing, and ultimately quitting. As an example instead of saying "I want to look and feel like I did back in high school." Start with I want to lose 2% body fat and be able to perform a proper squat and walk 1 mile. These goals are low hanging fruit which will assist you along the way and give you a vastly greater number of successes as opposed to constantly worrying about failing one large goal.

Forgiveness is the Key to Not Quitting We all hits bumps, obstacles and resistance along the way. It is unavoidable that along the way of making fitness a life long new habit that you miss workouts, eat bad meals and by all rights just feel unmotivated sometimes. These negative feelings believe it or not can easily be turned into positives by simply forgiving yourself and sticking to your goals regardless. Feelings of being unmotivated are some of the best times when pushing forward and working out or eating healthy anyways will pay off the most. Doing this gives your brain the positive reinforcement that even when you felt like quitting you didn't. The most important exercise we can train our bodies to do is to not give up. So forgive yourself when you slip and get right back on track by remembering WHY you started that made the emotional connection.



Health and fitness is a journey not a destination, just as much as being motivated is a process and not a state of being or not being. So putting these five tips together when you're starting your fitness journey remember; focus on what is important to you with exercise and know that you are worth the effort it takes, stay positive and give yourself constant measurable goals to hit so even if and when you miss them, it's okay, you are worth it and quitting is never an option only an outcome.
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