13 ways to achieve your fitness goals
We often hear the words “health” and “fitness” and assume they’re interchangeable – they’re not. Health is the foundation of our well-being and encompasses your overall mental, physical and emotional states, including your weight. Fitness, on the other hand, has less to do with your weight and more to do with endurance, strength and vitality. While they have different definitions, both fitness motivation and health motivation come from the same place: your mindset.
Everyone wants to be physically fit – but not everyone has the workout motivation necessary to achieve that goal. Why? What sets apart fitness guru Jillian Michaels or CrossFit founder Greg Glassman from the rest of us?
They know that fitness inspiration is about much more than appearance. You must connect your fitness and workout motivation to your ultimate goals and purpose in life: When you’re physically fit, you’ll have more energy and vitality. You’ll have the strength you need to accomplish your daily tasks. You’ll be more confident and positive – and all of these benefits will help you achieve your goals.
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Where does fitness motivation come from?
To understand the mental side of fitness motivation, think of it this way: Many people don’t actually suffer from a true lack of motivation. Instead, they hold limiting beliefs that put them in the wrong mindset. As Tony says
“What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true ability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are.”
If you come from an unhealthy family or have always been overweight, you may believe you don’t have what it takes to achieve fitness and that you have to live with being out of shape. It’s difficult to find workout motivation when you don’t believe you’ll ever be able to achieve success.
Fitness motivation can also be traced back to your ultimate goals: are they extrinsic or intrinsic? Are you more concerned with your appearance, or are you motivated by your health, stress relief or the positive emotions you feel? If you’re working out to look good for someone else, fit into your old clothes or flatten your stomach, that’s extrinsic motivation, and it won’t work as well. You need intrinsic motivation, or the desire to do something because it benefits you in the here and now.
The first step is changing your mindset. Examine your beliefs and health motivations closely. Where do your beliefs come from? Are your motivations extrinsic or intrinsic? Then change your story. Replace your beliefs with a new narrative: You are strong, resilient and can have the life you deserve. Working out will make you feel energized, happy and confident. It won’t feel natural at first, but with practice, you’ll start to believe it.
How to increase your fitness and workout motivation
It’s easy to think about why you want to get in shape, but it can be difficult to retain your fitness motivation when temptation hits– or when winter weather has you feeling sluggish. When you find yourself making excuses for why you don’t have time for your health and fitness, turn to these tips.
1. Shift your focus
“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power,” says Tony. In the end, whether you succeed at anything in life comes down to how much you want it. How much do you want to be physically fit?
True focus means you will never take “no” for an answer. You won’t stop until you achieve your goals. It’s a deep conviction that you will never be happy until you have that one thing: the successful business, the happy relationship – or your ideal fitness level.
To achieve long-term health and fitness, you must align everything in your life with this one goal. Surround yourself with supportive people working toward the same thing. Feed your mind with inspiring fitness motivation quotes from your favorite athletes or trainers. Workout motivation will follow.
2. Set empowering goals
Charge up your workout motivation by setting short-term goals for every week. How many miles do you want to run? How many sit-ups do you want to complete? You can even determine how many workouts you want to get through in seven days.
These short goals will all ladder up to longer-range goals. Maybe you want to complete a half-marathon by summer or attain a certain resting heart rate. Maybe you want to drop a size before you go shopping for summer clothes. Make sure the goals you set are realistic so you can adapt your life accordingly. A strenuous workout will go a long way, but if you want to drop a sizeable amount of weight, you’ll need to adjust your eating habits, too.
Always be sure to remind yourself that you are setting goals so you can make your well-being a priority. Once you start seeing and feeling real changes in your body, you won’t have any trouble finding fitness motivation.
3. Track and celebrate your success
It’s important that you set SMART goals – which are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and anchored within a time frame – so that you’re able to track your progress. Noticing even slight changes in your health, fitness and appearance helps you create a cycle of success as you build upon previous accomplishments, instead of being discouraged at how little you’ve achieved.
Start documenting your resting heart rate, blood pressure, weight, body fat percentage and/or circumference measurements to help track your progress over the winter. You can also take into account how your clothes are fitting, how well you are sleeping and how much energy you have throughout the day.
One measurement to avoid, though, is that daily weigh-in on the scale. The number can be deceiving since muscle weighs more than fat. Instead, take a photo of yourself every week and track your progress in a special album on your smartphone.
4. Hold yourself accountable
Maintaining your workout motivation is easier when you pair it with a sense of accountability. Remember: The only person in your life that you can change is you. That means it’s on you to get to the gym, to lace your running shoes or pull out your yoga mat.
But while you’re the only person who can effectively make this change in your life, it helps to have a friend – or several friends – working out with you or cheering you on. Recruit a workout buddy, join a running group or log your workouts in a public setting. When you’re surrounded by people who want you to achieve your goals, it becomes that much easier to reach them.
Still can’t seem to figure out how to get motivated to exercise? Health coaching can help. You’ll use proven, positive methods to increase your fitness motivation. Having someone to check in with you, provide support and keep you on track is a powerful motivator.
5. Visualize your ideal outcome
Visualization isn’t just for passing the time. It can reprogram your mind – that’s why Olympians like skier Lindsey Vonn and swimmer Missy Franklin use it. But don’t just picture yourself as a fit person. If you don’t know how to get motivated to work out, dig deeper.
Think about your goals beyond just looking great and how it will benefit you personally. Connect your inspiration for fitness motivation to something larger than yourself. Perhaps you want the endurance to play with your children or to watch your grandchildren grow up. Maybe you want to inspire your partner to start their own fitness journey. Whatever your ultimate goal may be, visualize that happening in your life.
6. Link fitness to pleasure
“The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life. If you don’t, life controls you.” – Tony Robbins
But how can you learn to enjoy working out? You must learn to associate working out with pleasure rather than pain. Remember that when you have a great workout, your endorphins are fired up, and you finish your workout feeling energized and accomplished. If you routinely miss your workouts, you feel pain. You’re sluggish. Your sense of self–worth drops. You feel lazy and uninspired.
When we feel pleasure over pain, we’re able to turn our shoulds into musts. So, instead of thinking, “This workout is going to be so challenging” and envisioning the pain of working out, shift your thoughts to connect to the pleasurable aspect of exercise and how good you’ll feel once you have completed your routine.
7. Practice resourcefulness over resources
Is lack of time affecting your workout motivation? Getting fit doesn’t need to take over your life. You don’t need to spend hours in the gym or get up at 4 a.m. to go running. If you think this way, you aren’t lacking the resources it takes to get fit – you’re lacking the resourcefulness.
Find ways to incorporate exercise into your normal routine. It can be something small, like walking during your lunch break, or something bigger, like waking up an hour earlier to swim each day. Create time in your day for what matters: your health and fitness. Find what works for your lifestyle and don’t make excuses.
8. Make your routine adaptable
Being adaptable is useful in many areas of your life, from flexibility in relationships to being able to work out anywhere, anytime. Now that many of us work from home, we may not have the space for our usual exercise routine – or the fitness motivation. There have always been times when you can’t access your gym, or you’re traveling and are stuck in your hotel room but still need to get your workout in. It’s more important than ever to have an adaptable routine so that you don’t make excuses.
Find an alternative workout you can take with you wherever you go. Maybe that means doing a YouTube cardio video at home or carrying a lightweight jump rope in your bag. Set up a corner of your home as a makeshift fitness studio or put some weights in the basement. Fitness can happen wherever you are, as long as you have the knowledge to implement it.
9. Switch it up
Everybody hits plateaus in their path to fitness, but it’s vital not to let temporary setbacks affect your workout motivation. Changing up your workout routine can help you overcome a plateau. Push yourself into more difficult yoga poses. When you think you’re “done” with your evening run, add five more minutes and pick up the pace. Mix in some high-intensity interval training. Start a new ab workout.
Even doing your aerobic exercises in a different order can bust your boredom and get you back on track.
You can also change up your athletic pursuits by joining a local recreational sports league. Cities across the nation have a variety of men’s, women’s and coed leagues for every season, including volleyball, basketball, softball or even dodgeball. Whether you’re a former college athlete or a relative newcomer, there’s something for everyone. By joining one of these leagues, not only will you work toward your fitness goals, you’ll expand your social network at the same time.
10. Act the part
There are many ways we can “trick” our brains into doing what we want. When we smile, we feel happier – even if we don’t want to. When we change our physiology by adopting a power pose, we feel more confident and ready to achieve our goals. When it comes to fitness motivation, the same principles apply.
Studies have found that the clothes we wear affect our psychology, and that just putting on workout clothes can inspire us to exercise. It’s also proven that listening to upbeat music can put you in the right mindset pre-workout and help you get more out of your workout. Next time you don’t feel like working out, put on your gym clothes anyway and play a song you love. You may change your own mind.
11. Remember the two-millimeter rule
Tony teaches the two-millimeter rule to all of his business clients, and it applies equally to health motivation. The rule states that the smallest changes can yield the biggest results. When you feel like you are miles from your goals, you are only two millimeters away. Rather than making big changes to everything in your life, you only need to make small changes to the right things.
What two-millimeter shifts can you make in your daily life that will change everything for your fitness? Perhaps you set a goal for steps taken each day and gradually raise it until you’re walking 10,000 steps per day. Or replace your morning coffee time with a 15-minute cardio routine. Small goals like these also allow you to celebrate your successes, which will help to keep your health motivation going.
12. Discover inspiring fitness motivation quotes
Sometimes an empowering quote is all you need to get your body moving. Let Tony Robbins be your fitness inspiration. Here are a few quotes to empower you on your health journey.
“No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.”
“People who succeed at the highest level aren’t lucky; they’re doing something differently than everyone else.”
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”
“The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body. The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results.”
“Never leave the site of a goal or an idea without figuring some way to apply it immediately. That gives you power. That’s how you build momentum.”
“[Living healthy] starts with taking the changes you want and making them things beyond want, beyond desire, to making them a must, something that must happen and it must happen now and there’s no question about it in your life.”
“There is a powerful driving force inside every human being that, once unleashed, can make any vision, dream or desire a reality.”
“Three decisions that we all control each moment of our lives: what to focus on, what things mean and what to do in spite of the challenges that may appear.”
13. Get started right now
In the end, fitness motivation means nothing unless you put it into action. As Tony says, “A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.” Always remember that even the smallest steps move you forward. So get off the computer, get out there and exercise!
Finding fitness inspiration can be challenging at first, but once you establish routines that work for you and shift your mindset, you can achieve anything you set out to do.
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A Results Coach can help you find your fitness motivation and sustain it throughout life’s challenges.