By Candace Rhodes
Are you struggling to find the motivation to exercise and consistently eat healthy foods? Do you keep putting off exercise until tomorrow or tell yourself that you’ll exercise the next morning, and then you never get around to it? Waiting around for motivation won’t get you to the Hot & Fit Top 100.
If you struggle with being consistent, then you probably wonder how do others manage to get it done. Try these 3 actionable strategies to keep you on track so you never have to wait for motivation to strike again.
Strategy #1 – Get Specific And Laser Focused On Your Goal
If you’re vague about what you want to achieve, then it’s no surprise that you lack the energy and motivation to work for it — how can you work for something when you’re not sure what you’re working towards and what you’re going to get in the end?
Sometimes we have multiple competing goals which can make us distracted and confused about what to do first. Hone in on one goal first, and then put the rest aside. Developing the ability to focus is what’s going to get you to our goal versus setting multiple goals, making some progress on them before our day goes into chaos, and then starting all over again. Focusing on making headway towards one goal requires a lot of conscious effort, but over time it becomes easier as you form the habits you need to support your goal. You will notice that you’ll start putting in the repetitions to get to a ‘tipping point’ where it becomes automatic and turns into a habit.
What’s the number one goal you want to achieve? Get specific. Losing weight is not specific — but losing ten pounds and two inches off your waist is. Eating healthier is not specific — eating at least one healthy meal every day and three servings of vegetables a day is.
So, what happens if you’re already clear on your goal and you still struggle with motivation? If this happens, you also need to get clear on why you want to reach this goal. Figuring out your why drives purpose and gives your goal a sense of meaning.
There is an exercise called The 5 Whys Technique that helps you get to root cause of why you picked your one goal. Apply this technique to help you understand your true motivations behind your goal so that you can continuously make progress on it.
Strategy #2 – Make It Easy To Follow Through
It’s easy to follow through when everything is going smoothly, but we get blindsided when we don’t plan for failure. Even with our best intentions and planning, life can throw us off when we least expect it — work gets busier, we have family obligations we can’t say no to, etc. What happens afterwards is that we have to start again and muster up the motivation to get going.
Feeling motivated is mood-based and happens in waves. When you are motivated and inspired, you should take the time and plan for when it becomes difficult and you lack motivation. Any sort of action requires an input of energy to get going, which is why getting started is often the hardest part of the entire process.
So how can you make it easier for yourself to do what you need to get done, even when you don’t feel like it? David Allen, the author of Getting Things Done, helps readers tackle procrastination by applying stress free productivity hacks. One of his hacks includes a 2-minute rule — if something takes less than 2 minutes to do, then get it done.
You can apply the same principle to help you stay on track with your fitness and nutrition. What are some things you struggle with or that constantly throw you off course? Think about a typical day for you.
For me this is how I applied the 2-minute rule. When I was working with my trainer, the only time I had to work out was at 6am because after work the gym would be a zoo and it was miserable. I knew I would absolutely hate myself if I intended to go to the gym in the morning, but skipped out on it. To make it easier for myself, I would lay my gym clothes on my desk and pack my gym bag the night before. It was still hard to wake up at 5am, but because my bag was packed it made it slightly easier to get going.
If you fine meal prepping to be overwhelming, tackle one small step at a time before you actually need to get started. For instance, when you come home with your groceries, wash and prep the vegetables. That way during meal prep time it’s one less step to do and clean up later.
What are other ways you can get started in under 2 minutes?
Strategy #3 – Put In Your Calendar
We know that the easiest way to keep exercising is to stop relying on motivation and develop a habit. When we’re motivated it’s easier to get things done but it’s those days when we don’t feel like it that makes it hard.
Those are the days when you know deep down that you need to be more disciplined. How do you build discipline when you’re not motivated? Discipline is just like building muscle, you must put in the time and execute the action to build the habit. Likewise, you also need to keep practicing and put in your repetitions to build discipline.
I’ll share with you a shortcut to building discipline so that you can build habits faster. Let me start by sharing a 2-week study done in 2001 to help people develop exercise habits . In the study, there were three groups – a control group, a second group that was given a motivation talk, and a third group that was identical to the second except they put together a plan and filled out this template:
“During the next week, I will exercise on [DAY] at [TIME OF DAY] at/in [PLACE].”
After two weeks, they found that in the third group 91 percent of the participants exercised at least once a week. This was significant increase because the number of participants was more than double the control group.
So, what does this mean for you and how do you apply this to your life? Pull out your calendar and take a look at your week. To create new habits, you put them in your calendar. Decide on a time and place to perform your habit then fill out your intentions using out the study template above. Don’t forget to set a reminder on your calendar to review this every week to see if this is manageable and if there are any changes you need to make.
Apply these 3 strategies to help keep your health and fitness goals on track so that you’re guaranteed to reach them.
Candace Rhodes helps women lose weight and achieve amazing toned bodies so they can feel healthy and confident on the beach and in their businesses. Join Candace’s course 7-Day Rapid Results which teaches you everything you need to get started for a weightlifting lifestyle to be toned and strong.
 Sarah Milne, Sheina Orbell, and Paschal Sheeran, “Combining Motivational and Volitional Interventions to Promote Exercise Participation: Protection Motivation Theory and Implementation Intentions,” British Journal of Health Psychology 7 (May 2002): 163–184.