More than likely if you are reading this there is a good chance you are an outdoor athlete, a fitness junkie, or working for a goal. Either way you look at it there is a lot to balance, and finding the motivation to keep your nose to the grindstone can be tough, to say the least. So whether you are a newcomer trying to get the ball rolling or a lifelong athlete, where do you find the motivation to keep going?
As a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist this is one of my biggest areas of concern and inquiry from both new and veteran clients- staying motivated. So, what is the key? How do you find the time, or the energy to stay on course and reach your goals?
It isn’t hard to notice, life is busy, and it’s getting busier all the time. We live in a society that requires a lot of give- work, an endless to do list, gatherings with friends and family, and sports just to name a few. So with so much on the plate where do you find the time (or motivation) to work on yourself, and your health? How do you set the boundaries and priorities to do something that no one else can do for you? For many it starts with finding balance.
Balance is a word you probably hear often and can mean so many different things to different people. Your individual idea of finding balance may involve a demanding workload, the hustle and bustle of a growing family, or just simply finding energy after a stressful day. Regardless of what you are trying to balance, the number one goal is to schedule time for everything on your list, including YOU. Here are my tips for cultivating the balance you need to be the best version of yourself you can be.
Step one: make a list of your WHY(s). It’s a no brainer, there are times when you feel like you can take over the world, or times when you finally hit the bottom and decide you are ready to accomplish ________. It’s easiest in these times to set a goal because either you are frustrated and ready for change, or because you feel confident and like you can do anything. But what about all the time between those feelings? Losing sight of the ‘want’ and the ‘why’ when times get stressful, or slacking to go hang out with friends is easy to do, and many people get sucked into this. Be prepared for making these tough decisions by having your why(s) written down on a note pad, your phone, your dash or where ever you can be reminded of them often. Whether you have been encouraged by your failing health, are planning the hunt of a lifetime, are ready to finally feel your best, or just need the reminder, remember this: YOUR GOALS ARE IMPORTANT.
Step two: use a schedule. Chances are if you are reading this from a smartphone you have a built in way to prioritize your time. Start by writing down your daily schedule, including work, kid pick up/ drop off, dinner, chores and yes, YOUR TRAINING TIME. Whatever is required of you, or whatever you are working to add in to your day should be on this list. Then transfer everything on your list to your calendar- there is a time slot and space for everything. Step two is underway, you have worked the things you need to get done into your day, and scheduled the time to do it, take it one step further and add an alert to the things that may be an area of procrastination, i.e. you training time, meal prep, etc. Now, not only is your time accounted for, but you have the visual reminder when your phone dings that it is time to act. If time is a barrier for completing these tasks, remember it is ok to start small- a 30 minute training session is always better than nothing at all, and remember you are creating a new habit.
Step three: find an accountability partner. Some of us are self driven and self motivated, but working out with a friend, or finding a workout buddy to be accountable to can really help you both stay on track. If you can, find a partner to hit the gym with a couple days a week, or start a challenge with a family member or friend and touch base daily to offer encouragement and accountability. You can help keep each other on track and check in- no one wants to tell their partner they skipped the gym, or gave up on their clean eating. And for those of you who prefer to train alone find a co worker with similar goals, a group forum, or coach to help keep you accountable. Sharing your goals with others offers a whole new level of motivation, and dedication- no one wants to fail.
Step four: Set a timeline. It is easy to say “someday I want to summit that mountain”. It’s not as easy to say, “by this spring I am going to summit that mountain”. Goals should always be written down and should always have a timeline. ‘Someday’s’ never happen, and if you are serious about your goals then you need to take the time to think them through and figure out a reasonable time to meet the goal. Sometimes breaking bigger goals down into smaller goals can help you with this timeline. For example, instead of saying, “I want to lose 30 pounds by this Spring”, you can set monthly weight loss goals, “I want to lose 10 pounds a month,” and when you have met those goals you will be 30 pounds down by Spring. This can be another area where having an accountability partner or working with a coach can be very helpful.
Step five: don’t forget about recovery. Many people overlook this one vital component, but recovery is without a doubt the number one area for every active person to focus on. In fact, without recovery you will never allow your body to reap the benefits of the work you are putting in, not to mention you put yourself at risk for injuries. Many people believe that it is in the long taxing gym sessions, the miles logged or the weight you lift that makes you stronger- the truth is the hard work is what damages the body, the recovery work is what repairs and builds the body. So the next time you think about skipping the rest day and hitting another training session do yourself and your body a favor, think again. If it has been more than a week and you haven't spent some time recovering it’s time to sit this one out. In addition to refueling properly, replacing electrolytes, getting protein and BCAA’s, (click link for recommendation), I highly recommend foam rolling, Epsom salt baths, scheduling a massage or a good stretch session. All of these components paired with a structured training regimen will get you to your goals.
No matter where you are today, know that you have control of where your journey goes. If you need a new direction, create it. Nothing stands in your way unless you are standing in your own way. Make your new plan a successful one and add in the tips above to help guide your way, remember, your goals are important.
For those of you ready to take the leap, make your goals come to life, and want a structured plan of attack I can help. Click here to schedule a fitness or nutrition consultation today. You future starts now.