Motivation is like a muscle that can be developed.
It’s not some magic blessing that some people ‘have’ and others ‘don’t’.
Motivated people are not the societal elite. They’re regular people who have learned how motivation ‘works’ and developed their motivation muscle over time.
So, if motivation – a key predictor of success in achieving your fitness goals – is something that can be developed by anyone, how exactly do you do that?
In today’s blog post I’ll share with you 3 powerful strategies to develop your motivation so you can stay committed to your health and fitness goals.
But first, a quick note on brain science to set the scene.
Motivation And Your Brain
As the elusive force that is crucial for achieving your goals, motivation can be so difficult to conjure up.
If you’ve read anything before about fitness (or specifically motivation), you may have heard of the chemical ‘dopamine’.
Dopamine is the ‘feel-good chemical’ and is released in our brain when we do things like exercise.
Let’s say your workday is drawing to a close and you’re contemplating whether to go to the gym or head straight home…
Dopamine is one of the powerful drivers that enable you to make the decision to go to the gym.
So the strategies I’m about to share with you – to some extent – all revolve around optimising dopamine to maintain your motivation.
Strategy 1 – Keep Things Fresh, Interesting & Exciting
There’s no denying exercise – for the most part – feels good when we do it. Thanks mainly to the release of dopamine, endorphins and other chemicals.
But whilst this may sustain your motivation for a while. Unfortunately, it’s rarely enough and the novelty will soon wear off without a fresh challenge or goal.
Therefore, it’s important to frequently vary your exercise routines and create and pursue new goals.
By doing so you’ll continue to get the benefit of this ‘feel-good chemical’ to keep you coming back for more.
So the first step in developing (or improving) your motivation is to frequently create challenging and exciting health & fitness goals that you are continually making progress towards.
Strategy 2 – Understand Your Unique Personality
As humans, we are motivated by things that are pleasurable and rewarding.
These ‘things’ can be further broken down into three categories: power; affiliation; and achievement.
We are all motivated by all of them to some extent but most of us fall more within one category than the other two.
And by understanding our personality and personal motivators, we can begin to optimise our motivation pathways.
Let’s use some examples to help you understand this.
People who are motivated by power get gratification from being in leadership positions.
If your driver is power, you could start to post about your fitness journey or social media, or even start an exercise or healthy eating group in which you would be the leader.
Those who are motivated by affiliation enjoy spending time with family and friends.
In this case, meeting a friend or your personal trainer at the gym or going to exercise classes is a great way to increase motivation and get you eager to get to the gym.
People who are motivated by achievement enjoy overcoming challenges.
So if your driver is achievement, you could focus on setting small, realistic weekly and monthly goals, such as reducing your intake of processed foods, running a 5k race, or improving your maximum weight in the squat.
Then, once you’ve achieved that goal, to start again with a new, loftier goal.
To use the power of motivation to its fullest, experts say that you need to determine where your motivation driver is.
After some thought, once you know what your motivation driver is – power, affiliation or achievement – you can begin to brainstorm ideas (or use the examples above) that will facilitate motivation and greatly assist you in reaching your goals.
Strategy 3 – Celebrate Your Wins (No Matter How Small)
In our daily lives, there are many times we do something that could be thought of as a ‘win’.
This could be something simple like clearing your email inbox, or something a little more complicated like finally standing up to that colleague who has been giving you a hard time in the office.
In a health context, it could be drinking 2 litres of water per day or hitting that 10,000 daily step target you set for yourself.
Unfortunately, in our busy modern lives, these wins, no matter how big or small, often go unnoticed.
We simply continue on with our day and tackle the next thing on our never-ending to-do list.
Additionally, we’re often quick to give ourselves a hard time for things we don’t do so well or focus on the mistakes we make.
But taking the time to review your wins and achievements in the day has been proven to generate feels of joy, happiness and motivation.
A strategy we use with our clients to help with this is to keep a daily journal of what went well.
Completed your food diary for the day? Slept for 8 hours last night? Had a healthy lunch?
These are all wins, write them down! And it’s not about receiving a reward for these achievements…
The feelings of happiness and motivation seem to come with simply taking time to recognise your achievements and knowing these are helping move you towards your goals.
What To Do Today
So now you understand a little bit more about motivation, what will you do today to put these strategies into action?
Remember, you can:
1) Continuously create new, fresh and exciting fitness goals.
2) Understand your unique motivational driver and cater to that.
3) Use a journal to recognise and celebrate your wins, no matter how small.
All of which are proven to actively help create or improve your motivation and commitment to achieving your goals.
So let’s put these strategies into use today and begin developing that motivation muscle of yours!
And, if you need any help or guidance along the way? Our team are here ready to assist you either online or in-person.
For more expert advice on health, fitness, nutrition and weight loss, please like our Facebook page by clicking the button below: