How to Find Your Motivation to Get Moving
Whether you’re a seasoned runner or signed up for your first race, you will likely experience more days when you don’t feel motivated to run than days when you are motivated. With these odds, how are you supposed to make any real progress?
The first step is to understand what motivation is and how it works.
Motivation is the desire to act in service of a goal. Key words being “desire” and “act”.
I like to picture a personal goal like a campfire. The stronger and longer a fire burns, the more you thrive in the process of achieving your goal.
The problem is, motivation is like dumping fuel on a fire. It burns bright, but it dies out quickly. This can look like feelings of excitement around a new pair of shoes, a first run of a new training program, a high-octane workout, a motivating podcast, or your favourite pump up song.
What you need to do to keep the fire burning is consistently place logs on the fire that will sustain the fire (desire) long term.
Many people rely on group fitness classes because they need an injection of bumping music and motivation from an in-person coach. In my group classes and virtual training sessions, I’m known for my high energy and motivation, but I take pride in having the experience of the workout last beyond the 1-hour session. Whether it’s a thought-provoking question, quote, or simply connecting in conversation, I understand the importance of digging deeper than motivation and exercise cues. Especially now, in times when most of us are stuck at home or physically distanced. We each have a responsibility to ourselves to do the work and go beyond motivation.
The secret is…
Doing what you must, when you must, even when you don’t feel like it.
The discipline of following a training plan builds momentum that creates progress and excitement over time. Often, it takes getting your shoes on and just starting to walk to begin to feel great and motivate yourself to achieve a specific distance or time.
Below are 5 keys to being disciplined and keeping yourself motivated.
1. REMEMBER YOUR WHY
When you struggle with feelings of not wanting to run, feeling down on yourself, etc. remind yourself why you started this journey in the first place. What does running mean to you?
Try completing the sentence “Doing this run is important to me because ___________”
2. THINK ABOUT TOMORROW
Think about how your decisions today will impact how you feel and where you will be tomorrow. Be honest with yourself. Will you regret skipping that workout and feel like you let yourself down? Will you be proud of yourself to sticking to your word and getting your training in, despite being busy or tired? This simple exercise I learned from Jesse Itsler is a powerful tool to help you keep yourself accountable for all your decisions. Ask yourself, “how will I feel about this decision tomorrow?”
3. DRAW UPON YOUR WINS
When you’re feeling down, or feel like you aren’t progressing, look back and celebrate a previous win. It’s easy to get caught up in wanting to get to a destination, but taking a moment to appreciate the progress you’ve made so far, and how long it took, can help snap you into a good mood and remind you that all your efforts and struggles are making a difference.
Don’t let things happen to you, make things happen. It’s easy to let the responsibilities of the day take over your personal life and the next thing you know it’s late at night and you didn’t progress in anything you wanted for yourself.
If you fail to plan, you can count on failing.
When you schedule your workouts or important tasks in your calendar, you’re able to plan ahead and mitigate distractions or change of plans. Having a specific time to do something builds anticipation and excitement so you’re not stressing out about when you can “fit it in.” You’ll be able to plan your rest, your nutrition, etc. around the time you choose, and when you are engaged in everyday life outside of your training, you can fully focus on that without worrying about your training.
If you can do the same thing at the same time daily on a consistent basis, you can also create habits that get easier over time. Perhaps for you that could be running first thing in the morning, or maybe immediately after work?
Find what works best with your unique lifestyle and schedule it in your calendar. Set reminders 30-60 minutes before so you can properly wrap up what is needed to stay on track.
Having a friend, colleague or partner to keep you accountable is powerful. This can be as simple as a text reminder of a time you plan on working out, sending a sweaty selfie, a tag on social media, or organizing a run together in person. Community and connection can help keep you accountable and motivated, and open your eyes to new ways of doing things as well.
Whenever you feel motivated to act and perform, take the opportunity immediately. Let that fire burn bright and bask in the afterglow. But, on most days when you find yourself in doubt and you’re looking for a magic word or thought to get you energized, remember that discipline will get you through and eventually lead you to the motivation you seek. It might not feel amazing at the start, but once you build momentum with your first step in the right direction, you’ll be glad you did.
The good news is, this year’s HER Run is not cancelled. Even though we can’t run together in person, we’ll be able to move together, virtually. Join Team Rethink digitally and get your body moving while staying safe. Don’t forget to ask your friends and family to donate to our team to help Rethink continue to run our programs, like our virtual support groups and expert talks. And post a selfie of you moving by using the hashtag #rethinkruns and tagging @rethinkbreastcancer on Instagram. We can’t wait to see your selfies!
Tony is a Senior Head Coach of Orangetheory Fitness and Head Coach at the Orangetheory Fitness Bloor West. He’s also the CanFit Pro 2020 Fitness Instructor Specialist of the Year Award winner. He runs his own virtual personal training business while writing thought provoking and inspiring posts on his personal social media pages. When not coaching you can find Tony training for his next Spartan Race or behind a camera with his love and passion as a professional photographer.