It can be very hard to stay motivated about things, whether you are in the middle of a fitness program, trying to lose weight or even trying to keep up with your exercise program at Physical Therapy. It’s hard to stay at a consistent pace because things tend to get harder each day and week. We all start off the same with anything new. We are very excited to see the results of hard work. Then we hit a wall and we plateau. We lose interest very easily and start to go off course. Then the excuses come: “I just got so busy and I couldn’t find time.” “After 3-4 weeks it just wasn’t working for me.” “My body is just meant to be in the position that it is I; it runs in my family.” Do any of these sound familiar? They do to me and I have found myself saying one of these a time or two. Being a Physical Therapist I deal with excuses like this all of the time from patients. I wanted to put a little list together of ways to stay motivated. I myself use some of these to stay on task.
Write down weekly and monthly goals:
Writing down your goals makes it that more real. It makes you accountable for what you say you want to do. If you hang them somewhere you will see them each day. It will make you more aware and want to accomplish them.
Surround yourself with like minded people:
Surrounding yourself with people that have the same vision as you can be the difference between a win or a lose. When you surround yourself with these kind of people your mindset shifts. This also holds you accountable to what you have set forth. If you are always around “Debbie Downers”, then you are going to be more apt to act like them.
You have to be patient. Things take time, especially if it’s something new. Everyone that starts a new exercise program or tries to lose weight wants results yesterday. Nothing in life works that way. You have to stay focused and keep your eye on the prize. Remember steady and slow wins the race.
Reach out to others for support:
This also goes back to surrounding yourself with like minded individuals. It helps to have support of others that are going through what you are. I always encourage my patients to talk to each other about what they are coming to PT for. Tell them your story, and what you have done to try and convince yourself you are getting better. Having others to bounce things off of can help keep you focused and motivated to continue.
Read and listen to personal development:
This is a big one, especially for me!! I have never read more personal development books than I have in the last 6-8 months. It helps me stay grounded. It shifts your mindset from “it can’t be done” to “let’s do this!” Personal development in my opinion should be something that everyone should work on. It gives you a sense of direction, greater resilience, improved focus and of course motivation to want to succeed.
Give yourself breaks:
There are going to be times when you want to give up and you feel overwhelmed. Burn out can happen, so you have to give yourself breaks. Take a day or two to refocus on what you originally started for. Rethink your goals and what you eventually want to do. Go out with your spouse, significant other or friend. We all need breaks from time to time.
Make sure to reward yourself:
You have to reward yourself every now and then. If you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle you need to be able to splurge on a meal you normally wouldn’t eat. If you are working towards a particular fitness goal you should reward yourself with something that makes you feel good. When my patients accomplish something or are doing well I always tell them reward yourself today you did great! When you reward yourself it helps remind you why you are doing this in the first place.
Sustaining motivation can be tough under the best circumstances. It’s not magic and it is not something you can just drink out of a bottle, but it is something that you can tap into when you feel like giving up. The next time you feel like you are losing motivation try these simple steps to keep yourself on track.
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