What to do when you’ve lost motivation this early in the year

Written by Elly McGuinness

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It’s all too common – start the year off with a hiss and a roar, and then ‘fizzle out’ a few months later. You may have started the year feeling fresh, motivated, and with a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your health and fitness.

Then for any number of potential reasons your fitness and healthy eating targets fall by the wayside. Perhaps you got busy with work, an injury or illness has been holding you back, or you’re just feeling tired or demotivated.

Setbacks will always occur, in all areas of your life, and that’s ok. They’re often unavoidable, but the important thing to know is that they only need to be temporary. With a plan in place that’s personal to you, it’s much easier to navigate these ‘bumps in the road’, move forward, and feel motivated again.

Motivation comes in many different forms. What motivates one person will be different from what motivates another. There are a few general factors that will help to get you back on track and feeling motivated. It’s just about understanding those factors and then personalizing them to suit you.

Check out these guidelines to help you jump back on track with a fit and healthy year.

Understand your “why”

Understanding your personal ‘why’ for working towards your health and fitness goals may be the most important motivational factor. Your ‘why’ is the reason behind your goals. Why are they important to you? If you set goals at the beginning of the year without considering your ‘why’, then the first step now is to figure yours out.

Your ‘why’ is the deep emotional driver behind your goals. Having a strong ‘why’ means that you will have intrinsic motivation to get up and work towards those goals each day. To figure out your ‘why’, ask yourself why your goals are important? Is there some sort of feeling or situation you are really trying to get away from, or are you strongly motivated by something you’re moving towards?

Ask yourself why your goals are important, and then ask yourself two or three more times why that is important. Soon enough you’ll get to the deep-seated reason behind your goals. Remember that it should evoke strong emotions within you.

For more information on finding out your ‘why’, learn from the thought leader on this topic, Simon Sinek.

Check in with your plan

The goal-getting process starts with planning and preparation. Did you go through these steps when you set goals at the beginning of the year? Planning ensures that you’ve taken time to consider how and where you’ll fit health and fitness into your lifestyle. If you skip this step it could result in decreased motivation when it all seems too hard.

Have your progressions been gradual enough, or have you pushed yourself too hard and fast? A great health and fitness plan considers an appropriate starting point followed by small and steady progressions. Frequency, intensity, type of exercise, duration of exercise, and adequate rest and recovery all need to be considered and planned in. If you’re feeling demotivated because you’re a little burnt out already, revisit your plan, and ask a personal trainer if you need help to do so.

Understand your extrinsic motivators, and use them!

As mentioned, each person has their own unique motivators, both intrinsic and extrinsic. Going through the ‘why’ exercise above will help you become clear on your intrinsic motivators. Understanding your own extrinsic motivators will give you an added push to layer on top of these. Decide on what motivates you extrinsically and start incorporating those things. Once again, they need to be personal, but here are a few suggestions:

  • Music – do you feel motivated by listening to certain songs or types of music? If so, sort out your motivational playlist. Maybe there’s a list of songs you will listen to during your workout or something inspirational you’ll listen to when you wake up in the morning
  • Set yourself mini rewards when you reach certain targets along the road to your goals
  • Are you doing fitness that you enjoy? If not, reconsider your mode of exercise. There are endless choices, and the best one is the one you enjoy enough to repeat often enough to get the results you want
  • Make sure you have the support you need to know that you’re not on this journey alone. Enlisting the support of others can go a long way towards boosting your motivation levels. Consider working out with a buddy or as part of a group, or investing in a personal trainer. Share your goals with others and encourage them to share theirs with you. Accountability and support from others can help you get through any bumps in the road so you can push on and make progress

Have you been lacking in motivation? What are you doing to help yourself regain it? What sort of things help to keep you motivated? Please reach out to us if you need any help in this space!

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