Welcome to my personal training blog. There is so much information around regarding exercise and diets it's hard to know what is going to work for you. With over 12 years in the industry, I aim to bring my experience and knowledge to this blog so you can learn the best way's to achieve your health and fitness goals.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Staying motivated

If you've been following the previous blogs on New Years Resolutions you will now have, not only clearly defined goals, you'll know exactly why you want them and how you'll feel when you achieve them, you also have a plan on how to achieve them. The last part is sticking to the plan. Sticking to the plan comes down to motivation. In january most of us are very motivated but that moitvation wanes as the year progresses and we start missing some of the steps we are meant to take to reach our goal. Eventually we have missed so many of the steps we decide to start again later when things aren't as busy.

Unfortunately life is always busy, something will always come up and get in the way and if we continue to buy into these excuses then we will NEVER reach our goals. If we could only maintain that inital motivation we had when we first made our goals we might have some chance of realising them.

Many people think that motivation is something you either have or don't have. People are either a motivated person or they aren't as if it's a trait that you are born with. The good news is that it is not at all like that. People who are motivated are motivated due to a number of actions they either subconsciously or consciously do. Anybody can become highly motivated and stay highly motivated by following these ten easy steps.

1. Make your goals public. Tell your friends, peers and family what it is you are trying to achieve. Write them in your diary, post them on a blog, write them down and stick them to your fridge. The more people know about it the more likely it is that you will stick to your program.

2. Place reminders of your goal in as many places that you see on a regular basis as possible. Put pictures of people running the marathon on your screen saver, or pictures of when you were 2 stone lighter. This helps keep the goal firmly embedded in the forefront of your mind and stops the day to day worries of normal life taking over and distracting you from what you really want.

3. Maintain a training diary. Record all the actions you have taken each day that will help you achieve your goal. This serves as a daily reminder of all the work you have put in so far. Sometimes it's only when you lock back to where you've come from you realise how far it is that you've come.

4. Every week write down what you need to do over the next week to achieve your goals. Review this on a daily basis so you know exactly what you need to do tomorrow.
THe end result may be weeks or months away and can seem almost insurmountable but if you focus on only what you have to do for the next week and specifically tomorrow then it doesn't seem so hard. For example a 20 mile run may seem like an impossibility as you only did five last week. But next week you only have to do 6 miles and surely if you can do five then six can't be that hard. Step by step, mile by mile, pound by pound you will make it.

5. Visualise or mentally prepare for tomorrows workouts. I never set of for a run without having a good idea how far I'm running for, how fast and where I'm going to run. Don't just write in your diary - "Go to Gym" - be specific - what are you going to do in the gym.

6. Tell people on a daily basis what you plan to do. This doesn't mean you go around bragging that you are going for a ten mile run tomorrow. Tell the people who are close to you what you intentions are - eg. I wont be home from work tomorrow till late as I'm going to they gym. By saying this outloud drastically increases the chances of it occuring because verbally it has already happened.

7. Remind yourself of why you are doing this on a daily basis.Sometimes we lose track of our inital reasons and then lose the desire to get to the gym or go for a run. Every day remind yourself why this is important to you, how are you going to feel when you achieve your goal and how will you feel if you don't. This could take the form of some visualisation or reading your diary, going over your inital goal setting stages, it doesn't matter just as long as you never lose sight of the reasons why.

8. Enjoy the process as much as the end result. A saying goes "When we are climbing a mountain don't forget to enjoy the views on the way up as they may be better than the view at the top". Don't become so focussed on the end result that you dont enjoy the little victories along the way. Things like the feeling you get when you run for a whole hour non stop for the first time, how good you feel when you someone comments on your weight loss, the feeling of working out and actually enjoying it as a workout and not as a necessary but unpleasant step to losing weight. I'm not saying we should forget about the main goal but life's too short to only focus on the end result. Enjoy every step along the way because you never know what is around the corner. For example competitors at the recent Luton marathon had their hopes dashed when a car slid and crashed on black ice on a narrow part of the marathon course. The race had to be called off. If you sole focus was the marathon you would be devestated - a whole 6-12 months wasted, may as well have gone to the pub instead of out running in freezing wet conditions every sunday morning week after week .....
Alternatively you could think about how your fitter now than you have ever been before, you have more energy than ever before, you feel a lot more self confident, had some fantastic runs through beautiful frost covered parks that normally you would never see, made some great friends from the running club, ok you didn;t run the marathon but you've proved to yourself than you can at least train for one so no reason why you can't run a marathon next year instead.

9. Take responsibility for your own actions. People who don't achieve their goals tend to blame everything and everyone but themselves as to why they didn't. Compare these two thought patterns

"I'm injured again, why do I always get injured, maybe I'm just not cut out for this"

"I'm injured again, maybe my body is trying to tell me something, I should get some profesional advice and find out why this is happening so I can continue with my training"


"I've just had to many social functions on recently, getting to the gym has been almost impossible, things will quieten down at the end of the month so I'll wait till then and then get back into it"

"I've got a really busy social calender this month so I'm going to have to say no to a few occasions and also get to the gym more on the weekend when I have more time."


"I've been going to a lot of business dinners lately so I've been drinking more than I should and not eating very well as they are all three course dinners."

"I've been going to a lot of business dinners lately so I've decided to limit myself to one glass of wine only and not to eat everything on my plate."

If you make the excuses external then there isn't anything you can do about that, if you take responsibilty for yourself then you do have control over what you do.

10. Surround yourself with people who have either already achieved the same goal as you or are currently trying to achieve it. By associating with people who have achieved success in the same field as you it gives you confidence that it can be done. If you train with people that have never done a marathon and think that only crazy people run marathons then they are not helping your state of mind. If however you join a running club in which many people have done a marathon including people who run slower than you then your belief in yourself increases substantially.

If you can follow each of these steps then the only question is when you will achieve your goal not if. Good luck. Wait I take that back because you wont need any luck following these steps, success is assured.

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