Locked inside the flat; gyms are closed, and the sight of your bed, couch, and armchair become very appealing.
Surely, this is a very unusual time for most, and even the most exercise-motivated people can see their resolve to get those 45′ of daily exercise whither.
I should know something about that, being a trainer myself and specializing in helping people to develop healthy habits. But what happens when your usual routine gets thrown out of the window because of the current COVID19 situation?
How do you get motivated to work out regularly?
To answer this question, we need to dig deep into what we mean with “motivation.”D
Motivation: What Drives Our Actions
During my career, I have been carefully observing many people transforming their bodies and subsequently improving their personal life.
Whether it was getting a promotion, starting their own business, getting married, or gaining more confidence, fitness truly helped them to change their lives. Many of them had incredible results under my guidance, but few others weren’t improving as fast or were going through a rollercoaster of ups and downs.
That got me incredibly frustrated and led me to ponder the reasons behind it. I gave them the best workouts and great diet plans, monitored their progress, and kept them accountable via texts and emails, but it was simply not enough.
I was missing something; I didn’t find the real reason behind them hiring me as a coach.
Let Me Tell You a Story
Rian had a tough job in a very influential consulting firm. He was hardworking, dedicated, and ambitious. But career achievements were not enough for him, and he wanted to feel confident and look great both in his formal outfit and naked.
When we started working together, he was overweight and ashamed of his body.
I gave him my best advice on nutrition and designed a training program for him. Rian quickly lost a bit of weight. He felt better and more energetic. I was very happy about his progress, and I tried to push him harder. But all of a sudden, he stopped improving.
He started missing sessions, snacking at work, and drinking more than usual. I took pictures, measurements, told him to block time for training as if it was a work meeting, and even showed him studies on how to control cravings and drinking habits.
But all the strategies I used didn’t work anymore. He quickly lost the motivation to train and keep improving his health.
Only then, I decided to sit with Rian and chat about what was going on. He divorced recently, and since then he didn’t want to date any woman. He focused all his life on work.
Deep down, when he was telling me his story, I knew that I had finally found what he was looking for: the confidence to meet new women and get on with his life.
That was his real motivation behind hiring me as a trainer.
I couldn’t find him a new wife, but I could remind him of what he was fighting for. I asked him to buy a new, tighter suit, swimwear, and book a vacation with his friends (they were already fit) somewhere warm.
Having something to look forward to bring back some excitement in his life. After that, all I had to do was to remind him that the better he looked, the more confident he would feel, and the higher his chances of meeting new women.
Rian started to train regularly and eat healthily once again. Every time we had a session, I made him feel successful and strong with positive affirmations. He quickly noticed that his performance at work was also improving. He could get done more in less time so that he could actually go to bed before 11 pm.
In almost no time, he was back on a healthy diet, consistent training regime, and felt less frustrated. I allowed him to have more drinks since he started being social again, but I made sure he burned them off in the gym. He started talking to women again and had a few dates lined up each week.
When the day of the holiday came, he was one and ½ stone lighter and radiant with confidence. And who knows what happened there?
Today, Rian is more focused at work. He feels more attractive, confident, and finally found health and fitness as a way to improve every aspect of his life.
Since Rian, I made the mindset process I used with him a part of my training system, and so should you if you want to stay motivated all the time.
Finding Your Values
If you want to achieve incredible results in whatever your next goal is about, it is crucial that you first find what is the deepest reason behind the goals you’ve set. This series of exercises will help you exactly to do that.
Answer these five questions and give three answers for each one of them.
1. How Do You Spend Your Time?
You always make time for what is truly important to you. When you say “I don’t have time”, you are simply saying that in your list of priorities, that particular task falls behind more important ones.
Often, what we think we want to do is not really what is most important to us. If it was, we would have figured out a way to do it.
I spend my time mostly studying with my wife or working on my business. Those are the most important things to me.
So how do you spend your time most? Sleeping doesn’t count!
2. How Do You Spend Your Money?
Leave aside food, rent, and bills (unless you love eating out as a social activity, or you purposely spend more to have an incredibly luxurious house). We use the money we have left after paying the bills for what is truly important to us.
I spend most of my money on my courses, activities with my wife, and investing in my business.
So how do you spend your money most?
3. Where Are You Most Reliable and Disciplined?
We never have to be reminded from the outside to do the things that we value most.
I never have to be reminded of studying, working on my business, or spending time with my wife.
Where are you most reliable and disciplined?
4. What Do You Think About, Visualize, and Realize Most?
I’m not talking about negative thoughts or fluffy dreams. Where are your thoughts, goals, and ambitions directed?
I spend the most time thinking of my studies, the evolution of my business, and about having a family.
What do you think about most of the time?
5. What Do You Talk About in Social Settings?
We always like to tell people about what is truly important to us. If you had a child, you would most likely talk about them with most folks you meet.
I spend most of my time talking about what I’m reading in my studies, my latest business strategies, and relationships.
What do you talk about the most?
Your Top Answers
Write an X when it reports. Don’t worry if you have many different answers.Example:
In this example, “fitness” doesn’t show in your top five. Therefore, it’s no news that you are not fit right now.
Pay attention that fitness also didn’t show in my top 3 values.
My wife xxxx
My health and body xxx
My parents x
Now it’s your turn, what are your answers?
My top 3 values right now are (the three that repeat the most):
If you gave three answers to each question, you should have 15 answers now.
Many of them probably repeat, and that’s a good thing. The top three that repeat the most are the things that you care about in life right now.
Do not worry if you didn’t mention things like religion, family, charity, or even your partner. That doesn’t mean you don’t care about those things. It simply means that, at this point in life, your focus is directed mainly towards your top three answers – the things that motivate you to continuously change in life.
For example, just imagine you meet a new person and you totally fall for them. I bet that you will start investing time, thoughts, money in dating them, and also talking about them non-stop.
Another less cheerful example would be if a dear family member gets diagnosed with a very bad disease. In this case, I bet that your thoughts, time, and resource will be directed towards helping that person.
Life Constantly Changes
Life constantly changes and so do our priorities.
What we often don’t realize is that, in the process, we lose track of other things that are also important, like our health. Doing this clarification exercises can help you to understand yourself better.
Note that in the example of my top three values, ‘health and look aren’t present. Yet, I stay at 8% body fat with a good amount of rock-hard muscles and a clean bill of health year-round.
How do I do that?
First of all, health shows in my top 5, so I do spend money, time, thoughts, and effort on it because I see the value of it. I used to be obese, and the pain it causes me to think of being obese once again is a great motivation.
I also nearly died because of alcohol and drug abuse, and the fear of hurting my body again keeps my priorities in check.
In your case, I do not wish you to experience any of the latter. What I want you to do is something different.
You’ve Found Your Values, Now What?
Now that you’re extra clear about what drives you in life, it’s time to connect the dots. It’s time to dig into how fitness can improve those driving forces.
Going back to the previous example, let’s assume that your top three values are:
a) Your career
b) Your relationship
c) Your social life
Now you need to figure out how looking great and being full of energy can help you to be better at a, b, and c.
a1) Looking great in my new suit will help me to feel more successful and be more confident in the boardroom.
a2) Having more energy will help me stay focused during meetings and more present with my team.
a3) Being in great shape will make me feel like a role model for my team.
a4) Running a marathon will earn me the respect of my boss.
b1) Looking great naked will drive my partner crazy in bed.
b2) Having more power and stamina will make me a better lover.
b3) Having more energy will help me to spend better quality time with my partner.
c1) Looking great when I go out will make me feel like a boss among my friends.
c2) Being fit will allow me to do social activities like playing sports, hiking, surfing, playing tennis, and so on, that I wasn’t able to enjoy because I felt heavy, goofy, or not good enough.
c3) Being healthy will allow me to feel…
Exercise: Connecting Your Values With Fitness
Do you get an idea of how this works now? Don’t you feel a bit more motivated to change your body now?
What I want you to do is to spend 30 minutes writing AS MANY REASONS AS YOU CAN on a piece of paper. Try to at least give 20 reasons for each one of your top 3 values no matter how silly they might sound.
Repetition is what wires your brain (exactly as when you’re learning a language), so don’t be afraid of being repetitive in your answer. Just use a slightly different angle for each one.
Store that piece of paper somewhere safe. Whenever you feel like slacking on your training or going for a Mcdonald’s, pick up that piece of paper and start reading what you wrote. It can also be an Evernote file, but writing on paper is more powerful.
When you’re feeling demotivated, pick up that piece of paper and start reading it. You will find back your motivation in a split second!
Also, whenever you feel particularly in shape and ready to rock your next workout, pick up that paper once again and try to add more reasons to your list. The more you think about it and write about it, the more likely you are to take action towards that outcome.
Now that you’re clear on what drives you, and you’re all pumped up, it’s time to set goals and see them coming true.
How to do that? You can follow this article and learn how to set SMART goals.
Having a strong mind and a strong body will help you during tough times like nothing else. Keep working on both and your resolve will become unstoppable.
If you’d like to get support and motivation to work out your body and mind, join me in Busy Yet Fit Community!
More Tips for Workout Motivation
Featured photo credit: Meghan Holmes via unsplash.com