There is no one answer that works. Everyone's mind seems to falter for various reasons. Some lose motivation after seeing themselves make BIG progress, some see or feel no progress and lose motivation, and others get busy with life and next thing you know the toughest concept to them is a 30 minute workout. Others may lose motivation mid-workout or mid-event, now what?
Here are some tips to not just regain motivation BUT train your brain to be tough in hopes you can work through the hard times and press on even when you want to quit.
1.) Always be training for something! Whether it's a race, group event, work place challenge or nutrition goal, set the goal, make a plan, and move forward. But be realistic, set small goals to start. To set a goal of being an Olympic marathon runner yet never having ran is too big. Keep it as a goal, but set smaller goals to achieve during your training and progression.
2.) Occasionally force yourself to suffer through. Last time I went for a run I strapped on my hydration pack full of water all geared up and ready to go. No I don't have to run with a full hydration pack but I like the added weight during training. However this time I failed to adjust the straps just perfect and a zip tie was whipping me in the shoulder. Instead of stopping and removing the pack then spending copious amounts of time making it perfect I continued on. In my head I thought "Just finish this last mile and you'll be fine, learn to ignore it!"
If we stop to adjust every little thing that bothers us during a workout in hopes to make ourselves feel perfect we'll never learn to cope with the uncomfortable. Although it drove me nuts it forced me to deal with an issue, learn to ignore it, and accept that I won't sacrifice my pace and performance to take a long break trying to make things perfect.
3.) Practice "call outs." The other day I called out a former client on Facebook and told her I was lacing up and heading for a run. My hope was to motivate her to do the same. She'd been in a slump for a while. Although she lives in Colorado the call out motivated her to lace up and go for a run. Practice this with your workout buddy, spouse, co-worker or friend and encourage others to do the same to you.
4.) It's proven that spending time outdoors increases happiness and motivation. Set a goal to take 3 short 10 minute walks a day outside to refocus and clear your mind.
5.) Set a workplace or family challenge. Trainers don't need to be the only ones designing challenges. Pick a challenge that your co-workers or family would enjoy and spread the word. Sometimes being the motivator for others helps motivate ourselves. Make it simple enough and something you can do together and always have a reward at the end!
6) Lastly, have a vision. Every morning envision the time, location, and plan for your workout. Maybe it means you pack a gym bag and leave it in the car. That way when your passing the park on your way home, stopping for a walk is simple. Meeting up with a buddy at the gym is now convenient. Or when you feel that spark of motivation hit you are now well prepared.
Cheers to health and happiness!