Anyone that has committed to a long-term fitness goal will tell you that it takes serious dedication, determination, and discipline to be successful.
Consistency matters but let’s face facts - There are days that we all just need an extra mental boost or a kick in the butt to get going.
For those days that the motivation just doesn’t seem to be there or if you’re new to training and want to learn about what to do when that happens, here are 25 tips you can benefit from.
Either find ways to work these in now or keep this list somewhere you can easily access it if you’re having a bad day and need the mental boost to train.
1. Write Your Goals Out
Being vague with anything isn’t helpful. You wouldn’t get into a car and travel without knowing where you’re going, right?
If you’re wanting to make improvements, define what those improvements look like. What do you want to weigh? How strong do you want to be? Be as specific as you can and write those goals out. Keep that list somewhere you will see it every day to serve as that reminder of why you’re doing this.
2. Track Your Workouts
Keeping a journal or log of what you’re doing can serve not only as recognition of what you did but it can also help you determine what you’re going to do next time.
This could be a potential new challenge for you every time you train. Will you rise to those challenges?
3. Set Up a Rewards Program
This can be whatever you want it to be. Is there somewhere you want to go? Perhaps you have your eye on something you want to buy.
Make that your prize for achieving your goals. If you lose x pounds or achieve a certain size, you win and get whatever it is you want.
4. Give Yourself a Deadline
The challenge for that reward can’t simply be open-ended though, can it? You can benefit from that pressure of having a deadline approaching.
This is similar to bodybuilders wanting to look their best on contest day or powerlifters wanting to be at their best at the next meet. Write a day that is reasonable based on the goal and make that day a holiday in your mind.
5. Quotes of the Day
Sometimes hearing or reading the wise words of someone you admire can make a positive impact.
Do a search of quotes based on training or success and save the ones that you like the most. Keep them on your smartphone or in your log for you to refer back to.
6. Visualize Your Success
How do you want to look when you’re training? What weights do you want to move today? Take a few minutes to yourself, close your eyes, and literally try to create the images of the session in your mind.
Replay it over and over in your head. Then when you actually go to do it, it will be like you’re just doing it again.
7. Seek Out Inspirational Stories
Everyone has a story and a journey that is their own. Many people have overcome great obstacles and adversity to achieve greatness.
If you know someone that has a story like that, think about that person. If not, look for success stories and ask yourself one question. “Why not me?”
8. Create a Playlist
Music can be a great tool to help you get in a positive, happy, or even aggressive mood. Everyone has that one song or artist that gets them going.
Find your favorite songs, make a playlist that will be about the length of your workout, and hit play. You can even start the list with that one song you like the most and walk to the weight room while it’s playing, like entrance music for your own event.
Many of the top fitness stars in the game have a YouTube channel and you can subscribe to see them in action.
Seeing your favorite athletes pushing themselves could very well be what you need to make yourself do the same.
10. Use Your Social Media
Social media has gotten a lot of blame for negativity but the fact is it really is neutral. Who you follow and what you look for determines how it affects you.
Follow people or brands that you admire and skim through some posts while you’re drinking your pre-workout. Then go move one step closer to being where they are.
11. Training Partners
Going at it alone isn’t for everyone. Having a partner training with you can keep you accountable and you can feed off each other’s energy when in the trenches.
It’s one thing to do it for yourself. Being there for someone else will give you more incentive to follow through.
12. Keep a Before Photo
Visual motivation helps and we all started this for a reason. We want to be better than we were when we started. Find a photo of yourself that reminds you of why you made this commitment to begin with.
Today you can either be one step further away from that point or you can take steps backward. Which choice do you want to make?
13. Take Progress Photos
Sometimes it’s hard to see where you are in your journey because you see yourself every day. Every month, take a photo of yourself to monitor your progress.
Either you’ll see changes and can be psyched up to do more or you won’t see much and you can make adjustments before you get too frustrated.
14. Record Yourself Training
Pro athletes watch themselves on film so they can see what they did right and what they did wrong. They can change things up and move forward to the next game. You can apply this principle too.
Film yourself with your biggest sets, see if your form is on point, and tweak things if necessary. You also could see yourself doing something incredible and the motivation takes care of itself.
15. Go to Fitness Events
There is something about being in an environment around like-minded people that feeds good energy to the brain.
Go to an event like the Arnold Sports Festival or the Olympia or any event in your area and meet other people that are successful like you are or want to be. The vibes can be contagious and propel your forward.
16. Analyze Your Program
Have you made any changes lately?
Changes in how you’re training can be a fresh approach and a new set of quests that will appeal to you and make you want to win even more.
17. Set Yourself Up for Winning
When you work for those wins, make sure you’re setting up your program so you can win every time you train. Even small victories add up whereas failures can take away from you.
Set yourself up to get one more rep or five more pounds. That small step can increase your confidence and doing so repeatedly can take you to a new level.
18. Dress for Success
This doesn’t mean wearing a suit to the gym. You should be comfortable when you’re working out and if you like the way you look, that can translate to how you perform in the gym.
From the shoes to the hat if you wear one, like the way your feel and look when you’re training.
19. Positive Thoughts Lead to Positive Actions
Beating yourself up and being negative will not help you at all. Where the mind goes, the body follows.
Project a positive mindset and talk yourself up before you run or lift. This will be a good workout, you will do well, and you’re going to be better today for what you’re about to do.
20. Schedule Your Day Around the Training
This one can be tough because of work schedules but if there is a time of day you found you have more energy and can be more productive, try to schedule your workout for that time and the rest of the day around it.
Many people like doing it first thing in the morning. Others like to end the day with their clanging and banging.
21. Invest in Yourself
Financial commitments can make an impact too. This can be anything from supplements to shoes to headphones or whatever you like.
If you spend your money on it, you’ll want to make it worth it.
22. Talk Yourself Into It
This one may be weird but hearing your own voice say it makes a difference. Tell yourself, out loud, that you got this and you will have a great workout.
You will lift x weight for y reps or run for less than x minutes.
23. Environment Matters
You also have to enjoy the atmosphere around you. If everyone around you is either negative or doing some form of training that you’re not, it can affect you negatively.
Find a gym you like in your area or create your own home gym if possible so you can control everything around you.
24. Get Away From it Occasionally
Everyone does hit burnout sometimes but the last thing you should do is force it. If you’ve been consistent for several months, give yourself a few days off to recover not only physically but mentally.
Absence will make the heart grow fonder. After a week or maybe less, you’ll be ready to get back to the grind.
25. Enjoy the Process
At the end of the day, this has to be something you’re passionate about if you’re going to succeed.
All of the above tips should help you enjoy the journey as well as the destination. Liking what you’re doing overall will make you more likely to do it.