Ask anyone in the fitness industry whether they’re an athlete, personal trainer, or instructor, and they’ll likely tell you that one of the most frequently asked questions they get is “how do you stay motivated?”
It’s normal for people to feel fully motivated in the new year, only that motivation often doesn’t last long. New year’s resolutions can set high expectations that are hard to maintain.
Motivation is a word that’s often thrown around when it comes to starting or sticking to a health and fitness routine. While it’s important, it’s often treated with too much importance. Here, we’ll explain what it means to be motivated and how to keep going when motivation wanes.
It’s good to be motivated, but you won’t always feel that way
First off, let’s remember that we’re only human. It’s completely normal to not always feel motivated. Everyone, from newbies to pro athletes, goes through this. No one is motivated 100% of the time.
A good way to make the most of your motivation is by understanding what drives you and why.
Types of Motivation
When it comes to understanding motivation, it’s important to think about why you want to do something in the first place. Motivation can come from both external and internal factors.
One type of motivation is extrinsic motivation, which is driven by rewards. This type of motivation is one of the main motivators when it comes to fitness. It’s usually an external reward, like a medal or trophy for competing in a sport, or fitting into an old pair of jeans. But it doesn’t always have to be a physical thing.
While extrinsic motivation can be great for getting started with fitness, it’s not always sustainable in the long term. You may work out to get the reward, but not because you enjoy it. And, if this reward doesn’t come quickly, it’s all too easy to give up.
For example, you might be doing 5am workouts five days a week for a month and still not see any emerging abs. This can lead to a loss of motivation and giving up. But it takes time and patience to see results.
Another type of motivation is intrinsic motivation. This is the internal drive to achieve a goal because of the feelings or emotions attached to it.
You know that feeling of euphoria you get after a killer workout or reaching a personal best? That’s intrinsic motivation in action. It’s the instant gratification from hard work.
These good vibes are powerful reminders to keep pushing ourselves and tend to lead to a more sustainable, long-term relationship with our goals. It’s not always there, but it’s a great way to stay motivated.
Which Motivation Is Better?
Blending both forms of motivation helps you stay on track and makes it easier to stay motivated. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll never lack motivation again — it’s natural. Those moments are when individuals who still hit their workout have other tools in their back pocket to keep them focused and showing up.
It depends on the individual. Some people thrive on external motivation, like a workout buddy or a personal trainer, while others find that internal motivation, like setting a personal goal or creating a vision board, works best for them.
But here’s the thing: both forms of motivation can be useful. Mixing them together can help keep you on track and make it easier to stay motivated. But remember that everyone has their off days and it’s totally normal to lack motivation sometimes. That’s when having other tools in your toolkit can come in handy to keep you focused and showing up.