Last Updated on November 26, 2016 by Michael Brockbank
Keeping yourself motivated can seem like a full-time task. This is especially true for those who suffer from things like depression and anxiety disorders, like myself. However, we need to find a way to keep that motivation if we want to succeed in improving our lifestyles. Fitness just isn’t a word that describes your physical self. It also relates to your state of mind. After all, neither can exist without the other.
Motivation Drives Performance in Fitness
Without motivation to drive you to succeed, you’ll wind up going back to your old habits. It’s this comfort zone that can suck you in and undo any work you have done to improve yourself.
Eventually, you’ll find yourself back at square one…or worse off.
The trick is to find ways that can keep you motivated to continue regardless of your surroundings. People, situations and even the weather can impact how you view mental and physical fitness. And many times, this impact can be ultimately negative.
Not Seeing Instant Results
Many people have a need for instant gratification. They need that instant result to feel like they’ve made progress. In reality, mental and physical fitness is not something that happens overnight. It takes work and dedication.
It takes time and perseverance to overcome habits. You can’t expect your body to start behaving a certain way just because you spent a week on the treadmill. Essentially, you are rebuilding yourself into a healthier person. And construction of any project takes time.
It’s easy to have motivation sapped from you after spending a couple of months trying to fix yourself and not seeing any real results. I feel it often, myself. However, many people spend years reaching their ultimate goals and are capable of staying the course.
Doubt in Yourself
A lot of people harbor a great deal of doubt in themselves. This could be part of their nature, or it could be driven by a lack of confidence from their family. In either case, self-doubt is never a good thing.
Not believing you can be mentally and physically healthier essentially destroys motivation. If you want to have any level of success, this needs to be dealt with.
It doesn’t matter how many motivational speeches you listen to or how many success stories you read. If you don’t think you can, you won’t.
Self-doubt is one of my biggest problems when it comes to just about anything. The silly thing is that I can see what this is doing to my overall success. And I eventually get frustrated and angry. I need to realize that every step forward I take, even if it’s small, is still one I can count for improvement.
Wallowing in Self-pity
It’s incredibly easy to get sucked into feeling sorry for yourself. Not everyone has a strong enough will to let things roll off their backs and continue. I am one such individual.
The smallest failures can feel like the biggest issues when you get into a certain mindset. Being upset with yourself and delving into darkness surely eliminates motivation to continue.
A lot of us have mental barriers that amplify each situation whether it’s good or bad. Unfortunately, it’s the quicksand we get stuck in when things go poorly that makes it difficult to pull out of. Yes, it’s a pity party, and everyone is invited – but no one really shows up.
Not Caring About Your Mental and Physical Health
When your level of motivation is lower than dirt, it’s difficult to focus on caring about your health. Gaining weight is only one aspect, especially if you’re a stress eater like myself. It’s your mental health that can cause some of the greatest problems.
Being able to think clearly and without negativity can impact everything from your personal relationships to your career choices. Because fitness is both physical and mental, suffering issues in one will undoubtedly affect the other.
It’s too easy to simply give up and say, “to hell with it.” And a lack of motivation to succeed in anything will result in just that. I know I have my days when I just don’t want to face myself let alone others. However, I am now in a position where that is simply not an option – especially if I want to continue having a place to live.
4 Ways to Keep Yourself Motivated
I know it can be difficult to keep yourself motivated, especially when life seems to be exceedingly difficult. But in the grand scheme of things, maintaining your physical and mental health will make things get better.
Think about this. The healthier your brain is, the more fluent and clear your decisions become. You just need to maintain motivation to keep everything running smoothly.
1. Realistically Tracking Your Progress
Any improvement, no matter how small, is progress in health and fitness. Don’t rely on instant results and focus more on realistic methods of tracking your progress. Ask yourself things like:
- How many more steps did you walk today?
- Did you travel further than the day before?
- How many more calories did you burn today than yesterday?
- Did you do good on snacking and meal selections today?
- What did you do to improve your situation today?
Don’t worry so much about weight and appearance. Instead, look at how you feel about physical activity. For example, there is a hill nearby that I would have surely been winded from climbing before. Now, I can trot up that thing like it was nothing.
2. Surround Yourself With Those Who Believe in You
A positive influence can do wonders for your psyche. Friends and family can be great sources of motivation, especially on those days when you absolutely need a pep talk.
But what if everyone is busy or unavailable? Take to social media. There are tons of mental and physical fitness groups online filled with people just like yourself. Sometimes, even the kind words of a stranger can be motivation enough for you to focus on your goals.
Hell, I am usually available through Twitter most of the time. Send me a message if you just need someone to talk to. My point is that you can find people who believe in you and are willing to go the extra mile.
3. Focusing On the Positive
I understand just how difficult it can be to focus on the positive when things go poorly. However, you need to try. You can talk yourself into being positive, as long as you focus on the good and not the bad.
The last thing you want to do for health is sit and stew about your situation. Not only is this very bad for your mental state, but the increase in stress will cause damage to your body. Stress can influence everything from sexual desires to heart palpitations.
Find one thing that you can be proud of and run with it. Allow it to become part of your motivation. Don’t dwell on the negative thoughts and simply embrace the goodness. I know, it sounds like something from Mr Roger’s Neighborhood, but it needs to be done. The more you wallow in the negative, the more damage is caused from high degrees of stress.
You should trust me on this one, I am an expert in high-stress experience.
4. Focus On You to Be Better
One of the things I talk most about, whether it’s on this website or with the children, is learning from failures. As long as you’re willing to learn something from a bad situation, it’s not really a failure.
With that in mind, try to focus on how to make yourself better. Find motivation within yourself to improve the current situation. For example, I was fairly upset last night, so I took a walk. And even though I was still a bit upset by the time I got home, I did feel much better than when I first started.
If you don’t like a certain situation or quality about yourself, you are the only one who can change it. It’ll take a bit of soul-searching, but in the end, it’s all about how you adapt to yourself. In reality, no one can fix your problems but you.
If you’re not willing to change, it will never happen.
Motivation Can Come From Anywhere
Even if you have to keep talking yourself into continuing fitness, motivation can come from anywhere. The hardest part is maintaining that mindset when things look grim. As long as you’re willing to face your demons and take control over your life, you’ll do fine.
A lot of us exist in a liminal state between success and failure. We often teeter on the edge and are easily swayed one direction or another. Find motivation within yourself and improve your life. It may be scary, but who’s to say that change is always a bad thing?