This blog was written by Dan Walker. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.
Your new year’s resolution fell to the wayside. You set out to lose 20 pounds, start working out regularly, get more sleep, or any number of things. But after a few months (or maybe even a few weeks), you’re back to square one with nothing to show for it. You start out with the best of intentions, but your motivation to change has slowly faded away.
Sound familiar? If you’re like most Americans today, chances are you’ve set up honorable goals related to your health and well-being in the past, but had a hard time staying motivated and gave up shortly after starting. You had the right idea, but not the right strategy for achieving your goals.
Four Keys for Maintaining Fitness Motivation
When it comes to maintaining motivation, then, what is the key to helping you do so? There are four important things I’ve found in my own life that have helped me maintain motivation that I’d like to share with you.
- Have a plan. You won’t just magically arrive at your goal of losing 20 pounds or eating better. Make a plan and narrow down exactly how you will get there and what it will look like. Nothing worthwhile happens without a strategy and a plan.
- Minimize distractions. No matter what your goal might be, there are plenty of less important things that will try to get in the way. Make sure to periodically “clean out the closet” of your lifestyle. See what needs to stay and what needs to go. Anything that helps move you closer to your goal needs to stay, while anything that distracts you from it needs to go.
- Form a support network. Having a friend who has the same goal as you—whether it’s weight loss, eating less fast food, or getting to the gym three days a week—can help keep you on the right track. Now you know that if you give up, you let not only yourself down, but your companion in the journey as well. Letting others know your plan can help keep you accountable.
- Eliminate all-or-nothing thinking. Despite your best intentions, it’s inevitable that you will make some mistakes along the way. Don’t minimize your shortcomings and see them as unimportant, but don’t totally give up on your efforts after a mistake or two, either. See it as part of the process and don’t fall prey to wanting to give up the whole thing after one setback. There will be ups and downs along the way.
Don't Skip Any of These Fitness Motivation Tools
No matter how good your intentions are, chances are you won’t ever reach your goals and maintain them without following the four principles outlined above. You must have a plan in place, focus only on things that line up with your goals, have a network around you to support you, and allow for mistakes along the journey. If you skip any or all of these helpful tools, chances are you will still have trouble maintaining motivation along the way and will minimize your chances for success.
It may seem like a lot of work, but the old proverb, “All hard work leads to a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty,” couldn’t ring more true here, especially to those who have tried it all before.