Motivation is a topic that comes up all the time in conversations between Personal trainers and their clients.
In fact, over the last month, one of the things I have learned is how many Improvers are struggling with the motivation to get back into their fitness routines after the COVID forced the gym to temporarily close.
Another thing I have learned recently is that I am like a Belgian baker.
I tend to waffle.
As such, everyday this week I am going to hit you with some bitesize chunks of motivational information that can hopefully give you a little boost to get back on track.
Today, we are starting with habits.
Why you don’t need motivation to be motivated about your fitness.
So, here is the truth when it comes to motivation.
You don’t really need it.
Motivation can be thought of as a type of energy that you need that allows you to do something.
Be it positive or negative action, they often need some form of energy to start performing the action.
However, there are a ton of actions you take on a daily basis that require almost no motivation to perform.
These are your habits.
And these habits could be the answer to all your health and fitness goals.
No motivation necessary!
A habit is a learned behaviour that is commonly performed unconsciously .
Such as playing with your hair, checking social media when bored or switching on Celine Dion’s ‘Greatest Hits’ every time you jump in the car.
Commonly, we associate habits with negative or unproductive behaviours.
However, we often have plenty of good habits that we forget about.
I rarely have to ‘think’ about brushing my teeth, it just happens at the same time day and night.
I wake up beside a pint of water every morning but rarely, do I remember that I put it there the night before.
I actually have a very rare habit for a 20-something male.
It’s a bit embarrassing but truth be told, whenever I turn in my car I actually use this wee tool called an indicator.
Apparently, it sends a message to other drivers letting them know the direction you plan on moving toward.
Everyone has habits; some positive, some negative but most often, they are somewhere in between.
The mistake a lot of people make is that they let their habits form unconsciously.
Without the chance to analyse and scrutinise their habits, they most likely fall more into the negative line rather than the positive.
But with a little bit of thought and some action, we can start to turn that around.
So, what habits could you form in the next 7 days?
- You go for a 10 minute walk during your lunch break.
- You have an apple before you eat a sweet snack.
- You exercise straight after work.
Now, at first these all take a large amount of energy/motivation.
Yet, the more you perform the task then the more your body adapts.
After a short while, even the most daunting task requires little to no motivation.
It is like when you first came to Improve.
Putting the bar on your back for 5 reps of a squat may have been daunting.
Yet, weeks went by and weight was slowly added.
And suddenly, you were throwing half your bodyweight about with ease.
“So, aside from doing the right things over and over, how do I form these habits?”
Behavioural scientist, BJ Fogg, released an award-winning book called ‘Tiny Habits’ that focused on how to create these positive actions in your daily life.
His advice would be that everyday you floss one tooth.
Of course, it is almost too difficult to floss one tooth without doing the rest.
But by making the habit so small, he encouraged his clients to form the routine first before they increased the difficulty of the action.
“Calum, this makes a lot of sense. But how do I start?”
Well, if you have done zero exercise over lockdown then we could look at doing 2 minutes of exercise everyday for a week.
Now, that might sound comical but what we want to do is to create a routine and also, create a positive feeling about said routine.
Once you have a week in the bag, those 2 minutes will turn to 5.
Then, the week after it goes to 10 minutes.
By the end of the month, you could be hitting 20 minute bursts of exercise that just happen with little to no mental effort.
Of course, this could also be applied to your diet.
You track one meal everyday, for a week.
Then, this becomes two.
And so on and so forth, until we find ourselves on top of the things we consume throughout our week.
It is like rolling a snowball down a hill.
As it goes, momentum kicks in and it grows and grows until you end up with an igloo at the bottom of the hill.
We can spend time thinking about our daily actions or we can turn a blind eye and cross our fingers that we end up with some healthy routines.
But when you are struggling with motivation, you fall back upon the habits you have formed.
As we start the slow road out of lockdown, it is more important than ever to think about what you do on a daily basis and what it does for you.
It may seem like a big effort to start building these routines but you will have them regardless, it is just up to you whether you make them positive or not.
One way or another, habits are going to make or break your health and fitness goals.
So ask yourself; what easy actions could you take over the next 7 days that could build a healthy routine for you?
If you’re struggling or feel you’d like our help, you can register your interest in working with us here.
We’d be more than happy to help you get back on track post-lockdown.