It can be easy to look at others and think their incredible fitness, fabulous body and life is down to luck or genetics. While comparing yourselves to others is not something I recommend don’t assume that others have just been lucky in life or miraculously woken up fabulous. The reality is those that succeed generally get their head down and work for it.
I have seen in practice that those who make long term improvements to their health and fitness understand the importance of consistently working hard towards their goal no matter what obstacles they face. They are willing to forgo immediate pleasures in pursuit of their longer term goal.
This is particularly true when it comes to getting a lean, strong body. You know that to lose weight, you have to stick to a meal plan for weeks before you see any signs of progress, and typically months before you reach your goal. In the same way if you are looking to build muscle you are going to have to lift heavy weights, push yourself for months before real noticeable difference.
That doesn’t mean people who persist find it easy. We all struggle at times to stick to the plan, get up in the morning, say no to that bottle of wine etc. Relying on ‘willpower’ or waking up expecting to feel motivated is not going to cut it when times are hard. If you want to reach your goal you need dedication, consistency and perseverance.
Motivation is great don’t get me wrong but it comes and goes. There will be days you feel inspired, unstoppable but there will be other days when you just want to stay in bed. You cannot rely on motivation to get you through tough times. If you find it hard to keep focused on your goals here are some key steps to take.
Find your passion
One of the reasons why some people struggle is that they don’t have the right goals. If deep down you don’t really mind if you succeed or not in any particular area of your life, you won’t have the dedication to stick to the plan. So reassess your passions / goals. What do you really want?
You also need to look at your WHYs. Why do you want to get fit, lose weight, build muscle? What will it give you? Will you have more energy? more confidence? better sleep etc. Take time to really think about this and be clear of the end result.
If you’re setting a goal you need to actually believe you can achieve it. That does mean of course your expectations meet reality. There is no point expecting to run a marathon in a few weeks if you have never run round the block. But having a positive mindset that acknowledges you can change is what will help you take action. It also means that when things get tough or you face opposition you will see these as challenges that you can overcome.
For example, assume you have been losing weight but after a month or so you find that your weight loss starts to plateau. At this point you may be tempted to give up. However if you look at all the positives: the fact that you have already managed to lose weight, you have a plan in place that you know will work, the chances are you will find a way through to get to your target weight.
Consistent changes add up
One of the ways to keep moving towards your goal is to make small changes consistently every day that add up over time. Crash dieting may work temporarily but is likely to result in bingeing and weight gain in the future.
If you start by changing your breakfast, skipping that chocolate bar in the afternoon etc over time you will find not only do you start losing weight but you will build in confidence to make additional changes.
If you have a lot of weight to lose it can feel very daunting at first to know where to start. Having a clear process, knowing what steps you need to take to achieve your goal will give you direction and focus.
I am sure you are aware of the quote “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” This is so true when you are trying to make significant changes to your health and fitness. The people around you, friends and family etc can have a huge influence on your thoughts and actions.
It is not easy to stick to a diet when your partner bakes cakes all day or opens a bottle of wine in the evening. Likewise if people around you are trying to persuade you not to hit the gym or go out for that run you are less likely to stick to it. While you may not be able to ditch your close family you can surround yourself with supportive, positive people. One of the main reasons why we started the Lean & Nourish Club is for ongoing support. A group of like-minded people all keen to make positive changes to their health, body composition and fitness and to support and encourage one another.
Whatever your goal recognising the difference between dedication and motivation will help you keep moving forward when times are tough. Enjoy motivation when it comes but don’t rely on it.