WHY YOU SHOULD NOT RELY ON MOTIVATION
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
We have all been there before. “No more excuses!” we tell ourselves, “Everything will begin on Monday.” I’ve been there too. Having your best laid intentions to start everything on Monday and commence this journey towards becoming the ideal version of yourself. So, you start by spending the weekend using the internet to feed your burst of motivation, watching motivational youtube video after youtube video and convincing yourself that everything is going to change. Initially this burst of motivation is fantastic, positive even. It gets you going. You’ve realised you want to make a change and feel a sense of euphoria. But, it doesn’t last long and before you know it, your motivational levels have dropped.
This is always the hardest part. Keeping this initial burst of motivation up long enough for any change to take place. However, in order for any change to take place, a habit and routine must be developed. Going to the gym or partaking in a form of physical activity must become as routine as brushing your teeth. We all know this. So why is it so hard to get into this routine?
“Your alarm goes off on Monday morning and the harsh smack of reality hits you like a steam train. It’s cold and its wet, you are tired (probably because you stayed up too late binge watching your favorite TV series), so you do what you have done every other week and roll over and go back to sleep. Or you have just finished a long day at work, have barely eaten and survived only on your morning cups of coffee and focaccia for lunch You are tired, under nourished and want nothing more than to go home and rest.”
“…in order for any change to take place, a habit and routine must be developed.”
Preparation is the key the developing a lasting routine. As the saying goes – if you ‘fail to plan you plan to fail’.
Here are some of my tips to help you create a long lasting routine:
1) DEVELOP A WEEKLY TIMETABLE.
Include everything, particularly in relation to meals, like what are you going to eat, when are you going to eat, where and when will you purchase your food, will you do a full meal prep or just prepare food through the day and cook dinner every night, or do you eat out regularly? If so include this into your timetable.
Are you a morning person or do you prefer to train in the evening? What is your work schedule like? Do you work traditional 9-5 hours, night duty or even split shifts? How long do you spend commuting each week?
When you start asking these questions, you will start to put these considerations into your timetable, which will help you make more informed decisions as to when and where you would like to begin training. Remember your timetable is only a guide to your week, not a rigid structure.
2) CHOOSE A TRAINING LOCATION THAT SUITS YOU.
Some people prefer training closer to home, whereas others may prefer somewhere closer to work. For those working more traditional hours and who like training in the evening, picking a gym closer to work is a much smarter option. This means that after work you can head straight to the gym and get a good workout in whilst not having to waste time waiting in peak hour traffic. By the time you finish your workout, traffic would have subsided and you will be home in half the time.
3) TRY AND PICK TIMES TO TRAIN THAT FIT INTO YOUR LIFESTYLE.
For instance if you know you are not a morning person, scheduling early morning sessions in your timetable is probably not the best idea. That’s not to say that you cannot do this in the future, but when you are starting out and trying to develop a lasting habit, you are more likely to achieve this by not delving too far from your ‘comfort zone’. Which leads me to my next point.
4) DON’T DELVE TOO FAR FROM YOUR ‘COMFORT ZONE’.
The funny thing about this is that making small not drastic changes and being consistent over a longer period of time will actually change your ‘comfort zone’ without you even knowing it. Therefore, in the future, it may become comfortable to be training hard 4-5 times per week as part of your ‘normal’ routine. This act of ‘getting right out of your comfort zone’ to start making progress may work for some, but is flawed for most. That’s not to say that you don’t need to get out of it to make a start, what it means is that you should not go too far out of its reach and that you should rely on small progressive changes over time rather than a huge effort that will undoubtedly be performed inconsistently.
5) DON’T BE AFRAID TO NOT BE PERFECT.
Too often we are too afraid to start anything for fear that’s it’s not going to be perfect. From the perfect program to the perfect nutrition plan, even to the perfect workout attire (yes I have known people to skip a workout because their favorite shirt or tank top was in the wash!) No one is ever perfect and we are all constantly learning and making changes. Whilst having a training program and nutrition plan to follow will be of tremendous aid to you, having a consistent routine is more important. It is useless to have a training program and nutrition plan that you do not use. If you were to have an average program and performed it consistently and at the required intensity, this would herald much greater results than having the world’s best programming written for you that you perform half-baked.
Sometimes life gets in the way and your motivation for that week or month may be diminished, but once a consistent habit has been established, motivation is no longer continually needed. You don’t require motivation to brush your teeth, it is simply a habit that has been established that you continually perform day in day out.