I can't do it, I'm just not motivated today.
This is a big one for all of us, really.
"I'm just not feeling it (exercise) today, so I may as well not do any of it (move, eat right, sleep well)
“How do you stay motivated?”
“How do you do x, y, z every week?”
“Why do you do x, y, x every day?”
“Isn't it hard/boring to make yourself want to do it?”
This could be about training, eating, sleeping, drinking in a certain way.
Yes, it is challenging to train regularly and keep up with meal prep or going to bed early enough to feel good - that one is going to get harder now the clocks have changed and it’s still light much later. Realistically, it’s not about motivation, at all. It’s about habits, routine and wanting to be better.
Often the way we feel more 'motivated' is to feel in control of life and driven enough by the goals we have set. If the goal doesn't feel important enough, then maybe it's not the right goal. Granted, the big picture bit might be right, but the rational for it might not be.
The questions I find myself asking more often than not when there’s work that needs done but I have less than no interest:
“Will I feel better if I do or don’t do it”
“Will it get me closer to where I want to be if I do or don’t do it”
“Will I feel like I’ve made progress or gained control?”
"Do I want to do this? Why?"
Sometimes, the answer to feeling better is actually "no, I may feel better not doing this today” and that’s when I have to make a call - do I go to bed, for a walk, or do the session but make it way lighter and change the focus? All of these options are good, as long as they’re the right one for me.
The point to remember when making these decisions is often - what is going to give me the greatest feeling of control and satisfaction. With increased control, not only can you continue to be motivated to move toward your goals, but the rest of life doesn’t feel stressful in the process.
Think about this, the last time you felt overwhelmed, or like life was out of your hands, how motivated did you feel to get to the gym or eat right? Not especially.
How motivated were you to climb under your duvet? Very?
How about getting on with the work and doing so many more unproductive hours - not very, but that’s what you ended up doing.
Thus feeding the cycle of lack of control, motivation and joy.
So what are the steps to better control and therefore motivation?
This doesn’t need to be complicated, just check your diary ahead of Monday morning! You could do it on Friday night as a last task before you shut down.
What groceries do you need to buy and meals do you need to prep?
Are you out at all in the next week, are you out a lot? Do you need to plan in a night off?
When are you going to move your body and feed those good endorphins to manage the workload?
The weekend is a good time to catch up on sleep. Yes, it’s lovely to get a long lie but if your body is used to waking up at a certain time, you may actually be better sticking to going to bed sooner to make the most of the sleep time. Yes, I know, old lady over here.
The more regular your sleep pattern is - the better your recovery and sleep quality is.
Even lying in your bed being peaceful when you wake up is good. Let your body and brain be still and continue to recharge even if you’re awake.
Rest doesn’t need to be lying still on the couch, in fact that could be pretty crap mentally! Get out for a walk, soak up some vitamin D, explore an area you haven’t been to before/for a while, catch up with friends.
Mobilise and help your body get better at movements you struggle with in the week by spending as little as 5 minutes moving your joints and muscles into good positions.
After a busy week you may still have some work to catch up on over the weekend. Not ideal, but it doesn’t mean you have to write off the opportunity to enjoy yourself.
Divide up the weekend into time slots - Saturday: rest time, work time, fun time. Sunday: rest/prep time, fun time, work time. Yes, you worked, but two thirds of it was still there for you to enjoy yourself! There’s absolutely no reason for you to go into Monday hating life and the weekend if you planned the weekend well to feel recovered and better prepared for Monday.
A good non-negotiable - one weekend morning chill and one weekend afternoon of fun/you time every week. If it’s all lying around in bed you can enter Monday feeling sluggish and like there was nothing to break the week. Likewise, if you do too much, you end up run down going into the week. Find your right balance!
This week, create your perfect week, plan and execute as you like - as much as you can, don’t let others deter you and see you motivated you feel.
Does this image suggest teetering on the edge of control and being extremely motivated to hit accurate percentages?