Motivation failing you? Feel like you need a break from your program despite the fact you only just got started two weeks ago? One of the key factors that many, many people struggle with when it comes to their diet and workout plan is constantly keeping themselves motivated to carry on with it.
Motivation is something that tends to come and go as time goes on and more often than not you're going to find that it's always highest right when you start a program or whenever you are finding that your results are really on overdrive. It's only natural to be more motivated to keep up with things when you are seeing very good progress from your effort but unfortunately, this also means that when things are progressing along more slowly, you're that much more likely to drop off entirely.
You'll often read about what can be done to help boost your motivational levels back up again, but one lesser discussed topic is what is causing that motivation to drop off in the first place.
By taking a look at motivation from this angle, you may just be able to pinpoint what's causing you to become unmotivated and work on dealing with that issue so low motivation isn't something you need to worry about in the first place.
Let's have a look at a few of the most important things to consider.
Lack Of A Clear Goal
One of the absolute biggest reasons for a lack of motivation is due to the fact that a clear goal is not in place. You must remember, if you don't have a very defined picture in your mind of what it is that you want to achieve, when times do get difficult, it's hard to feel that desire to keep going.
What are you really working towards anyway? If you don't know, you simply will not have that desire period. It'll be something you know you 'should' do, but you won't have that driving reason for why you should be doing it.
Just like when you're trying to learn something new, whether it is for advanced educational purposes or for a college class, you'll always do ten times better actually learning the 'why's rather than just trying to memorize the information. Taking a surface level approach to something is not going to be long-lasting while if you dig deeper and get to know the 'why's', then that's something that sticks with you.
Having a clearly defined goal works much the same way. When you can almost taste what it is that you're after, then when you feel like the last thing you want to be doing is hitting the gym, that anticipation of reaching that goal should be enough to get you there anyway.
Second, another cause behind low motivational levels is negative self-talk. If you're constantly putting yourself down, even in some cases despite evidence of negative or unsatisfactory behaviour, it's going to be very difficult to overcome this and stay motivated to continue on.
For example, if you look into the mirror each day and think to yourself that all the effort you've put in is hardly making any difference at all and you'll always be overweight, how much of a drive are you going to feel to keep putting forth the effort to stick with your diet? Likely, hardly any.
But on the other hand, if you look in the mirror and identify the small, but noticeable changes that are taking place and tell yourself how good you are looking, that will be ten times more likely to move you in the right direction of putting in that effort.
Many people underestimate the influence their self-talk will have on them and if this is something you're doing, you're making a grave mistake. Start paying more attention to that little voice inside your head, whether you say these things aloud or just think them, and start reframing the thoughts that take place.
This can go a long way towards improving your overall motivational levels.
Another big problem that comes about with regards to motivation is the feeling like you're going about this battle alone. This doesn't even have to be about having a workout partner either. Often you'll read that one of the best ways to stay motivated is getting a workout buddy - and it is.
But more than that, it's also important that you have plenty of people supporting your overall goal around you. If you feel as though you can't talk with anyone about your struggles or about your progress and it seems like everyone around you is completely oblivious to the changes you're trying to make, this can also wear down your motivation to continue.
If you can get some people behind you - your spouse or partner, your kids (if you have them), your co-workers, or your friends, the path to staying motivated will be that much easier.
If you can't do this, then turn online. There are plenty of ways to connect with others who are striving for similar goals you are such as joining the Bodybuilding.com Forums or creating your very own BodySpace profile and joining some of the popular BodyGroups. The more interaction you can get with like minded individuals, the far better off you're going to be as you go after your goal.
Finally, the last reason that often stands between you and staying motivated is a low level of self-efficacy. This refers to your belief in your ability to actually carry out a task. This is quite similar to the issue of self-talk only now rather than referring to what you're saying to yourself as you go about your program, we're talking about whether or not you believe you actually have it in you to see succeed.
Those who have very low levels of self-efficacy, simply because they are just not confident at all in themselves or because they have been met with failures in the past often find that they become unmotivated quite quickly because they take the stance of 'what's the point'. They feel like they know how the story typically plays out so what's the push to keep on going?
If this describes your situation, it may be helpful to set a few non-fitness related goals that you do feel more confident that you can actually achieve. Remember that even these other achievements will influence your self-efficacy and that will then transfer over to your beliefs in your ability to follow the workout and diet plan.
Or, the other thing that you might do is set more performance related goals alongside your body composition/weight based goals as that is can be slightly more under your control. Set a goal to increase your bench press by so many pounds or run a mile within a certain time limit.
As you achieve these goals and feel successful, you'll then feel that much more capable of achieving your bodyweight goals as well. So keep these underlying motivational killers in mind as you work on dealing with keeping your desire to stick with your diet and workout program. By taking the time to really assess what's going on with you and what's causing the motivation to drop lower you can help stop it where it starts.