Editor’s Note: A lot of you have been asking for tips on staying motivated, so I’ve asked Tim Ponticel to come by and offer up some ideas. Tim runs fitnessforprofessionals.com, a health and fitness website that helps young professionals shed excess body fat, get leaner and stronger, and boost their energy and confidence. Take it away Tim!
We’re two months into the New Year. It’s about time when many of you with New Years resolutions to get in shape start to lose motivation and give up on exercising and eating nutritious foods.
Then there’s the group of people who have been exercising and eating healthy for some time, but they’re motivation gas tank is running on empty. They’re quickly burning out and don’t know which way to turn.
Whichever group you’re in – this post is for you.
Most people lose motivation because they fail to see results.
It’s frustrating. And more often than not, it’s not their fault.
They were simply given a poorly designed roadmap.
But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about staying motivated when you feel like giving up. It’s about tapping into (or back into) that “inner game” so that you bust through the mental barriers that are keeping you from getting (or staying) fit and healthy.
Let’s get started. Here are 5 tips to stay motivated when you feel like giving up.
Note: These strategies apply when you feel like giving up on anything, not just fitness and nutrition.
1. Surround Yourself with like-Minded People
As the amazing Timothy Ferriss once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Other peoples’ energies, thoughts, beliefs, habits, and practices rub off on you when you spend time with them.
For practice, take the five people you spend the most time with, add up their salaries, then divide by 5.
Is the number close to your salary? Chances are, it is.
If you’re surrounding yourself with unsupportive people that hold you back from your fitness and nutrition goals, it’s time to take a hard look at who you’re spending time with.
It’s not about ditching old friends. It’s about prioritizing the time you choose to spend with them.
The funny thing is – once you start living the life you want and doing the things you want to do, like-minded people start naturally coming into your life.
Surround yourself with supportive and like-minded people.
It’s the most important step you can take to stay motivated when you feel like giving up.
2. Take a Rest Week
Maybe you’re losing motivation because you’re overtraining.
There are several ways to recognize the warning signs of overtraining. For now, know that if you are grinding away in the gym and losing motivation and strength at the same time, it’s probably time for a rest week.
Rest weeks aren’t just necessary for your physical body, they’re necessary for your mind too. It’s like hitting the reset button on your mind and body.
A rest week doesn’t mean you get to sit on the couch all day, eat potato chips, and watch Sons of Anarchy. It means you take a break from lifting heavy weights to do light activities:
These are activities you should be doing anyway. Make them your focus during your rest week.
Most importantly, don’t slack on nutrition. Rest weeks are the time to really dial in and focus on nutrition since you’re not spending time in the gym.
3. Switch It Up
The next tip to stay motivated when you feel like giving up is to switch it up.
Variety is the spice of life. It’s boring doing the same things over and over.
If you’re bored with your exercise program or nutrition strategy, shake things up.
I always recommend that people avoid regimented training programs and instead allow for some flexibility. If you’ve been doing the same training routine for a long time, try new exercises and/or rep ranges.
Different exercises and rep ranges elicit slightly different hormonal responses. Switching it up might be just what you need to break through a plateau.
Heck, you could even take a new class and learn something new. Have you ever thought about kickboxing? What about yoga?
In regards to nutrition, eating the same meals over and over is again – boring! Try a new recipe. Or easier yet, change up the spices in the meals you already make.
I make scrambled eggs almost every day. To ensure I don’t burn out on scrambled eggs, I switch up the spices. One day I might make greek scrambled eggs. Another day Italian.
The point is that you should enjoy what you do.
Fitness and nutrition shouldn’t feel like something you have to do. It should blend in easily with your life.
And since everyone is different, your fitness and nutrition protocal might be different from the person standing next to you.
And that’s okay.
4. Stop Trying to Be Perfect
Are you planning to become a professional bodybuilder? Or are are you simply trying to live healthy so that you look good, feel good, and live a long and vibrant life?
If you’re in the former group, ignore this tip. But if you’re in the latter group, stop trying to be perfect!
First of all, perfect doesn’t exist. Your idea of perfect is different from my idea of perfect.
We are all different, special, and unique in our own way. Striving for “perfection” is a sure-fire way to lose motivation and drive yourself nuts in the process.
Chill out and have fun!
5. Remember Why You Started in the First Place
Have you defined your “why” lately? If so, it’s time to pull it out and read it. If not, get out a pen and paper.
No iphone notebook apps.
Use old-fashioned pen and paper and finish the following sentence:
“I want to be healthy, fit, and energized so that ________________________.”
What you’re doing here is defining why you want to be healthy, fit, and energized.
Don’t just write down the first thing that comes to mind. Dig deep.
The goal here is to define a why so strong that you simply can’t say no to it.
For example, my “why” is – “I want to be healthy, fit, and energized so that I can help change the lives of 5000 people struggling with their health.”
A strong why, indeed. When I lose motivation and feel like giving up, (yes, it happens) I come back to my why and ground myself. It helps me remember why I’m doing what I’m doing.
It brings me back to my purpose in life.
What is your purpose in life? Include it in your why.
If you’re a parent, consider including your kids in your why. The amazing Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income always talks about his why being his kids.
That’s what helps keep him going.
Once you have your why written down, keep it somewhere safe. Reference it when you lose motivation and feel like giving up. It will keep you grounded and focused.
I hope you enjoyed these 5 tips to stay motivated when you feel like giving up. Do you have any other tips you’d like to share?
Let’s hear ’em in the comments!
About the Author: Tim is an engineer by day and fitness blogger by night. He helps young professionals shed excess body fat, get leaner and stronger, and boost their energy and confidence. Click here to subscribe to his newsletter and receive his free 4-week weight loss email course!