“Scooby, how do you stay motivated?” I get this question all the time. Its easy to stay motivated when you are experiencing rapid strength increases as beginners often do but that “newbie-effect” doesn’t last long. How do you stay motivated when the gains are imperceptibly slow or seemingly nonexistent? The first important ingredient is having realistic expectations, many beginners have the distorted notion that muscles are going to see their muscles growing weekly right before their eyes – not gonna happen!
Most people fail at their fitness resolutions, not because they are lazy or have no willpower, its the opposite. Most people fail because they are impatient for results and work at it TOO hard! Their unrealistic expectations sets them up for failure. They start a starvation diet instead of a sensible diet which soon leads to binging and failure. They are too aggressive with their workout program and end up injured or over trained so they don’t make any progress. If you need help coming up with a realistic goal and a workout plan to achieve it, use my custom workout planner.
Its very important that you have the right kind of motivation. What do I mean by this? Internal motivation is good motivation, external motivation is bad motivation. For example, the following is external motivation and it will lead to failure:
“I wanna get big muscles because my hot girlfriend wants me to”
You are doing it for your girlfriend, not you. Why will it fail? Because maybe your muscles are not the real issue. How big do your muscles need to be for her to be happy? Your goal is not clear. Maybe you will get as big as Arnold and your hot girlfriend will still dump you because the real issues is that she doesn’t like the way you treat her. It will fail because she controls your success, not you.
In the last 10 years, I’ve made no progress – not a single ounce of muscle gained. All my progress was in my first 20 years of lifting. People always ask me how I stay motivated when I make NO progress whatsoever. Most people would have given up but I workout day after day, year after year – how do I do it? Its easy! I focus on how good the workouts make me feel. I am ADDICTED to exercise, it gives me energy and makes me feel good. Its easy to do something that makes you feel good. That is an example of internal motivation, I stay motivated because it makes me feel good.
So how can YOU become addicted to exercise? Studies have shown that showed if you can stick with something 30 days it becomes a habit. Just promise yourself that you will give daily exercise and good nutrition a try for 30 days, that’s it. Anyone can handle working out and good nutrition for 30 days, do that, and you will be hooked on health for the rest of your life.
If on January 1 you wake up and say “I’m going to exercise for the next 365 days and eat flawless nutrition every day” You are doomed, that’s just too daunting and you will end up giving up. Even making that promise for 30 days is a bit daunting, here’s a trick, just take it one day at a time. Anyone can eat healthy and exercise for one day. Don’t think about tomorrow or yesterday, think about TODAY and how its going to make you feel good if you eat healthy and exercise today.
If that isn’t sufficient motivation for you, try sheer terror! Nobody wants to be thought of as a quitter, a flake or a loser – its a core fear that you can exploit in yourself. Got a really tough fitness goal you want to achieve? Broadcast it to the world! Put in on your blog, tell your friends and co-workers, put it on facebook. Make it impossible to back out! There is nothing that motivates like sheer terror. I’ve used this technique time and time again when faced with goals I fear I might back away from.
Support networks are also a very important factor in motivation and can often make the difference between success and failure. You need positive energy and reinforcement to keep you motivated, not negativity. Often friends and family are not as supportive of fitness goals as you might hope. If this is the case, use one of the many excellent online fitness communities like the AskScooby Forum. You can get advice on dealing with unsupportive friends and family from people who have faced the same problems you do or just have them lend a sympathetic ear.