Being more active, doing more sport, drinking less alcohol, quitting smoking… After just two weeks, we’ve already forgotten 90% of our good intentions. In order to ensure that this doesn’t happen to you, we have collected the most effective (and important) tips to help you remain on the ball over the longer term and avoid giving in to moments of weakness.
How can I turn my good intentions into reality?
Set concrete goals
First and foremost, it’s important to have a concrete goal. “Getting fit,” “doing more sport” or “eating healthier” are each very vague. You can’t tell when you’ve reached your goal, let alone work out whether you’re on the right track to getting there. The important thing is to define your goal in figures. This might be expressed in terms of getting your weight to a particular level, reaching a particular waist measurement or arm circumference, finishing a workout or a run within a particular time, completing a certain number of star reps of an exercise, or adding a certain portion of vegetables to each meal. Even better: link the goal to a target date.
Visualize your goal!
Keep your goals in sight. Imagine exactly how you will look and feel when you’ve reached your goal. Will you feel pride? Joy? Relief? Let your imagination run wild. Emotions, especially positive ones, are much stronger motivators than rational factors. Keep your goal in sight, literally – write it down or draw a picture and put it in a location where you will be confronted with it on a daily basis, like your bathroom mirror, your desktop background, or at your desk in the office.
Set realistic target!
Naturally you should aim high – just not too high! When confronted with motivational barriers, people often want to make a complete and immediate change, which leads to taking on too much at once. The struggle and frustration in reaching this goal often means the plan is abandoned completely. Start from where you are, not where you want to be, and set a realistic target date for reaching your goal.
Work out the milestones toward your goal!
Consider exactly what gains you need to reach your goals and the steps that might be involved on the way to achieving this. Write these steps down, so that you can transition smoothly from one to milestone to the next! Always concentrate on achieving the next milestone. Achieving a milestone gives a sense of success and pushes you on towards the next goal. Milestones confirm that you’re on the right track and mean that the overall goal appears more achievable in moments of weakness.
Make a date!
Pursue your goals with a like-minded person, perhaps a friend, family member or colleague. By setting an appointment to train with someone else, you’re much more likely to show up, if only to avoid letting the other person down. It also makes a difference to your nutrition when you feel that someone else is “watching” what you eat – and of course, you help that other person in the same way.
Training groups are also helpful in ensuring you don’t postpone your training to the next day over and over again. Training with other athletes inspires you to keep up the good work and allows you to compare your strengths and weaknesses, get tips and share your own experiences. Encouragement from others and a sense of being in it together will raise your level of motivation!
What can I do about an acute lack of motivation?
Unfortunately, we all experience moments of weakness. A plethora of reasons can cause this demotivation, but it is precisely at these moments that you need to fight the urge to give up. Otherwise, these feelings are likely to be more than a one-off.
Keep your goals in mind!
Keep the image of your goal in mind and look at the picture or the text where you’ve put pen to paper to describe it. Put yourself in the shoes of your future, far away from the present and imagine how you will feel. How would you like to be or how wouldn’t you like to feel?
Body over mind!
Mental and physical attitudes have a close interdependency. Simply adopting a more upright posture can improve your mood and increase your motivation. Walking a few steps stimulates the blood flow and redistributes certain neurotransmitters so that you immediately feel more motivated. Simulate with your body an active, motivated attitude and your mind will follow.
Sooner rather than later!
The longer we put something off, the harder it becomes to start dealing with it. This even applies to short-term issues. So, get your training done right away while the inner voice that tries to put it off is still relatively quiet! Set aside something small but meaningful as a reward for when you’ve completed your training. Think of the sense of satisfaction and the clear conscience you’ll have. The biggest problem, as ever, is getting started! Or have you ever thought that you are not motivated during a training?
Nothing ever goes to waste!
Even if you’ve neglected your exercise routine or your diet for some time, let go of the notion that nothing makes a difference any more. Even a single completed training session is better than none at all. Every single day that you eat healthily is better than a day when you don’t. You can always add another training session, or another day of healthy eating, to the first – even after a pause. Focus instead on how you got into that situation and what you could do differently in the future. Cheat meals or missed training sessions don’t turn into setbacks unless your slip-ups gradually turn into a routine. Once that happens, a vicious cycle quickly sets in.
After all, there’s never a perfect moment. It’s certainly popular to focus on the first day of a year, a month or a week – but quite honestly, tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life, so get the best out of it! Don’t wait any longer and get going!