As an athlete for the last three decades, I’ve learned one important thing that can change your life and allow you to excel in what you do today and as you get older: consistency.
Consistency is the key to achieving any goals in life, and consistency depends upon motivation.
Dedicating yourself to a daily health and fitness lifestyle can significantly impact your well-being, However, maintaining motivation for such a lifestyle can be a challenge. We are all human, we all have ups and downs, and sometimes it’s easier to do nothing or not go the extra mile, literally and figuratively.
I’m not saying you can’t take rest days — they are an integral part of the process and important for you to get better at your craft and prevent injury and burn out.
What I mean is make sure you don’t do nothing for long periods of time because this lack of motivation creates a pattern of laziness. If you’re going to train hard for a smoker or BJJ match for three months, the best thing you can do when the competition is over is to recover a little and then keep working! The goal is to build off of the fitness you’ve attained, not give your all for a few weeks or months to only throw it away because you’re no longer motivated.
Think of your fitness and evolution in your craft as a set of stairs that represent your potential. I don’t like to set limits, so let’s say there’s not a set number of stairs.
When you work hard consistently to get skilled and fit, visualize yourself climbing higher up the stairs, and when you keep working, you build from that elevated position. If you get unmotivated and lose all your fitness, it’s like walking back down and then staring up at the set of stairs, further from where you just were and further from your potential.
Set clear goals
One way that you can stay consistent and motivated is to set clear goals. Whether it’s weight loss, muscle gain, increased endurance, overall well-being, competing or winning, having clear objectives gives you a sense of purpose and direction.
Write down your goals and keep them visible to stay focused. Tape them to the wall in the bathroom so you see them every morning when you wake up and every night when you go to bed. Writing down your goals is also a good way to make them feel more “official” and provide yourself with an accountability check.
Another thing you can do to keep motivated is to establish a daily workout schedule that fits your lifestyle. Consistency eventually builds habits, making it easier to stay motivated. Consider working out at the same time each day, whether it’s early morning, during lunch, or in the evening.
When you’re just starting out, staying motivated might feel harder because you’re going against old patterns.
It’s easier to sleep in than get up early to train. It’s easier to not put in extra work outside of Easton than go for a run or hit the weights before class. It’s easier to eat fast food than to plan and cook healthy meals for yourself.
The easy path is always comfortable in the moment and uncomfortable later, and the harder path is uncomfortable now and easier later.
Do things you enjoy
To stay motivated in your training. do things that you enjoy. If you love running, make it a part of your daily routine. If you prefer variety, mix up your workouts with different exercises, such as strength training, yoga, or cycling.
Enjoyment makes it easier to stay motivated because it’s not the same ol’ same ol’ every day. Plus, cross training is good for you. Whether your sport is Muay Thai or BJJ, being strong and having endurance and flexibility will only help you.
I recommend documenting your workouts with a workout journal or fitness app. Seeing improvements in strength, endurance, or weight can be incredibly motivating. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small they may seem!
How bad do you want it?
At the end of the day, all of the above recommendations are pointless if you don’t have a burning desire to train and do the hard stuff.
You have got to want it. You can’t force motivation and dedication, at least not for too long. Your intrinsic drive to get better or be more fit must ultimately be the main force.
So the question is, how much do you want to be more fit?
How much do you want to live a healthy lifestyle? How much do you want to compete and do well?
How much do you want it?