One thing I've learned from the last 15 months of working to launch PER is that motivation wears off.
The more I think about it, the more I find it parallels the path to become healthy. Motivation is fleeting and it ends up coming down to daily micro-decisions and discipline.
I was on FIRE for the first 7 months. Writing for 3 hours every day, working on business plans, brand strategy, product design, website design, photoshoots... and then we hit our first major speed bump - delays in samples/production.
Like a plateau in training, it was very frustrating, but I'd soon learn it was totally normal. To keep going on the RoadRunner pace I was on was not realistic as I learned from a few mentors from the industry. I wanted results and a product to ship in 4-6 months. I had to learn the hard way that 12-18 months is a more realistic timeline.
With motivation all but gone, I had to lean on discipline and just taking small steps each day.
I keep relating it back to our health journey and how we want BIG results right away. And when those results don't come, we'll often feel discouraged and down. We question everything about what we've done so far and easily forget just how far we've come.
So what do we do when the motivation wears off? When that 5am dawn patrol alarm sounds like a foghorn and we just want to stay as a blanket burrito for 2 more hours. When Netflix and pizza sound so much more appealing than lifting heavy weights and cooking a homemade meal. When we feel like we haven't made progress in weeks. Or when the scale hasn't budged in a month.
These are the inflection points when it's critical to have good habits in place and stay on path.
Here are some essentials to keep you on track and disciplined when the motivation to get healthy wears off.
1. The prep.
We can change our mental state with simple physical actions. When our motivational gas tank is on E, action is what will get our minds in motion. It sucks and can be tough, but strip away everything else and just focus on making the first small decision.
KIT UP. Commit to just putting on your favorite gear to prime your mind and let it know 'We're doing this'.
Put on something that makes you feel good:
- New running shoes
- That shirt that forms perfectly to your body
- Those athletic shorts that show off those glutes and quads
By committing to and completing that first action, our brain gets a small hit of dopamine (the 'more' neurotransmitter). We'll naturally feel good about taking the first step and will want to keep the feeling going.
Even if you don't make it out of the house on the first day but you put your gear on, it's a win.
2. Write out your game plan the night before.
Whether it's your workout, how far you're going to run/ride/swim, the meals you're going to cook, or how long you're cold shower is going to be, this pen-to-paper action will help get your subconscious committed to what needs to be done tomorrow.
This will save mental space so you don't have to scramble to find something as you approach your workout. It makes it easier to jump right into it and not think twice.
It doesn't have to be anything elaborate, but write it down and block it off in your calendar to hold yourself accountable.
Keeping the promises you make to yourself helps cultivate self-respect and happiness.
Try this one out!
3. Keep track of progress.
Now that you've written down your workout, make sure to record what you do. Keep a log of your times, weights, reps, sets, laps, etc.
Keeping a log does three things; it holds you accountable, lets you revisit workouts in the future if you are ever stuck finding one to do, and allows you to practice progressive overload. Simplified, progressive overload is increasing your workload each time you work out (i.e. if last week I did 3 sets of 5 reps, this week I'll do 3 sets of 6 reps) so you can keep getting stronger.
The only way to improve is to do a little more than the last time. Take what you did from the last time you worked out and add more reps, weight, or sets.
When you hit a mental block, go back and look at your old logs to see how far you've come!
The big thing I love about keeping a log is it lets you have tunnel vision to compete against yourself. Block out all of the other noise and play Me vs Me each time you go out and get after it.
4. Have a go-to playlist.
Whether it's Caribbean bangers, heavy metal, top 100, house music, or some T-Swift - it doesn't matter, and no judgment here. But have something that gets the juices flowing the second you turn it on.
I find having a playlist for runs, one for lifting heavy things (usually Metallica), one for cycling (ACDC for the beats per minute), and one for general workouts (Caribbean Summer for the happy vibes) gives me the juice I need when my motivation is lacking.
Don't overthink it, just find the jams that get you fired up and put them on.
5. Make plans to work out with a partner.
Ask one of your friends to join you once a week for a workout/run/ride/swim and hold each other to it. It makes it a lot more fun and tough workouts bearable.
If you don't know anyone that'll enter the pain cave with you, sign-up for a group workout class once a week and engage with other participants.
You can say:
- 'Are you going to be here same time Tuesday?'
- 'Take my number and make sure I show up!'
- 'I'm counting on you to hold me accountable, so you better be here!'
Accountability is ruthless and you're more likely to stick to your commitments when someone is counting on you.
These are the 5 easy essentials to staying on track when the motivation wears off. Start small and simple. Start with one and go from there.
Let me know if they help!