We already know what it generally takes to be healthy—eating whole real food, lifting weights, cardio, stretching, and yet it’s easy to fall into old habits time and time again. You tell yourself you need motivation. You say to yourself, tomorrow; no next week I’ll do it! I teach on average 5-7 group classes a week and finding time and motivation for my regular strength training workouts can be difficult. We all got things we are busy with but we also get the same 24 hours a day. So how can you be more motivated? The answer to that is you don’t. Motivation comes and goes and if you rely on it to get going you are in big trouble! Here are some strategies to push past your lack of motivation and prioritize movement in your day.
Fighting the Subconscious. If you start to believe that you don’t have time exercise (true or not), you probably aren’t going to do it. If you tell yourself you’re too tired, you’re also probably not going to train either. And you can repeat this same process with several other things. But if you really start to believe that you are on the correct path to becoming the best version of yourself, then it becomes easier to pick up those weights or put on your running shoes and get going. When you believe that change is possible you can still have a great workout without Mr. Motivation. You will find a way to move no matter how you’re feeling that day.
Motivation is not enough. Take a top level athlete. Generally, athletes are confident, calm and at ease even when they are struggling. Taking risks and everything in stride. They have goals, expectations and they have drive! It’s their job to do well. They don’t wake up motivated everyday just like us. They don’t rely on motivation but instead on their mindset.
Let’s explore PACE. It stands for Perspective, Awareness, Consistency, Embrace Hardship. Let’s break these down a bit.
Change Your Perspective. Perspective is being able to see a situation without any expectation or biases. This workout session, this lift, this run, isn’t the determining factor of your overall progress. If it isn’t a great workout, so what? You can do better next time. You can improve your perspective by thinking ahead. What do you want to accomplish in 6-12 months? 2-3 Years? Many spend too much time focusing on tomorrow’s result instead of how what they’re doing will affect them long term. Setting long term goals will allow your subconscious mind to adapt a more productive approach.
Awareness. A great athlete will pays attention to much more than just their physical performance. They will be observant over the language they use they will be mindful of their body language, and they will listen to their body more intently. A bad athlete, ignores everything else and will only focus on the physical outcome. A great tool is to write down any key words, phrases or thoughts that arise when you are training. Are these thoughts even reasonable? Some may be plain awful. However, this allows you to observe your thoughts more clearly. Only then can you truly make a plan to change these thought patterns
Consistency. To be consistent is to adhere to the same principles, course, form, etc. over time. Over complicating your training, nutrition or mobility can be easy to do. Tony Robbins states “complexity is the enemy of execution.” Not to say there is no benefit in some complexity, but more decisions typically lead to more potential mental fatigue which is not conducive to a productive training environment.
Embrace Hardship. Chasing hardship sounds very odd. Embracing hardships outside and inside your training will only help you improve and be stronger overall. Many people that hate working out say “It’s too hard.” Well yeah! That’s what it’s supposed to be feel like! That’s how we hit PR’s, run faster, increase our VO2max and so much more! Embrace the heck our of difficulty. Do you want to eat fast food everyday? Good. That’s the first step in overcoming a habit. Embrace that you have hardships but don’t let them drag you down.
In conclusion relying on motivation is a bad strategy and it doesn’t work for very long. Begin by changing your subconscious story and remember to “PACE” yourself!