We've all heard it before. "I'm too tired to go to the gym. I have too many things going on. I just don't have enough time. Life gets too busy. Maybe I'll do it next year." I'm here to tell you, you do have enough time even through your busy schedule, so let's get started. As a high school baseball coach with a Bachelor's in Health and Physical Education, I am lucky enough to have the opportunity of positively influencing and motivating my students and athletes on a daily basis.
Trust me, I don't take that lightly. In my thoughts, if I'm a slob who doesn't take pride in my fitness and nutrition and taking care of my body, how can I tell our baseball players that they need to improve their body composition, strength, and agility/explosiveness to give us an opportunity to win championships? The answer is, I can't.
In this article I will be discussing how to develop and initiate a routine that will improve your fitness, your confidence and the way you look at yourself, and how you can motivate yourself to keep pushing through obstacles you may face in your life.
You may be thinking, where do I even start? How do I carve out enough time in the day to workout? What do I even do in my workout? Here at Hunt Lift Eat, our focus is to not look down upon those who are looking to improve themselves, but to promote our way of life and educate those who are looking for guidance in the outdoors, their fitness, and their overall way of life.
My first piece of advice for making positive changes and creating a fitness routine is developing your intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is when a person completes an act or a challenge without having outside influences pushing them towards the achievement. With this, the motivation you need to complete a challenge comes from within. For example, being able to intrinsically motivate yourself means that you're going to hold yourself accountable and you won't need external factors to push you towards your goals. Will that be easy? No it won't, but after a while you'll be grinding on your own with no one else watching. At first, you're going to have days where you don't want to workout, or eat right, or really do much of anything. So, how do you respond to those demons in the back of your head that are telling you to stay in bed or quit or that one bad habit won't hurt?
I believe that we can develop intrinsic motivation by writing down our why. Your "why" is the reason why you get up every morning (even when you don't want to) and try to improve in every aspect of life. For me, my "why" for working multiple jobs, being a full time coach, and maintaining a healthy fitness and nutrition routine is that I want to provide a great life for my lovely wife, be a great husband and father for our future family, and be a strong positive male role model for my players and students.
So, step one in developing intrinsic motivation is to figure out your why. Ask yourself these questions: Why do you want to improve? Why do you want what you want? What do you want to tell yourself on days that you don't want to keep pushing forward? Why are your goals important?
Step two is to develop the skills to hold yourself accountable through basic goal setting. For example, you need to set goals that are specific, measurable, have a clear timeline, that are yours, and that are written down. Let's have a look at this tactic:
Specific Goals: Have a finish line and something that you are pushing to achieve. An example of some specific goals would be: I want to gain muscle mass, develop cardiovascular endurance or lose weight. Also, develop goal specific objectives that will help you work towards the finish line. For example, if I want to gain strength my objectives should contain a steady dose of protein intake and heavy weight training from my core lifts with additional supplemental lifts. My objectives and energy must align with my end goal.
Measurable Goals: Goals should be easily measured and broken into small chunks. For example, if I want to lose 35 pounds of body weight over a 365 day period I could make that goal more specific by saying that I want to lose around 3lbs every month for a year. That seems much more attainable and after 12 months of 3lbs of loss I will weigh 36lbs lighter.
Time Sensitive Goals: Create a deadline for your goals. An example of making a goal time sensitive would be: I want to run 10 miles at a 10 minute pace exactly 6 months from now.
Your Goals: This one is important. It's hard to develop your intrinsic motivators if you're trying to achieve something that you're not "all in" on. Your goals should be your goals, no one else's. If you're not completely sold on what your finish line should look like, you'll struggle to do the necessary sacrifices needed to make it to that finish line. You can have a support system of people who care about you, but your biggest motivator can be yourself!
Written Goals: You should write down your goals. Put pen to paper. Whatever your goals are, write down clear objectives that will help you achieve small checkpoints along your journey. It's easy to look at the finish line and think you might not make it there, but when you break it completely down into small and achievable objectives, your finish line is more likely to appear.
One trick I use is if I really want to achieve something, I'll write it down and set it as the background of my phone screen, put it on a post it note on my mirror, or somewhere you're going to see it. My alarm that I set on my phone that wakes me up each morning says "GET OUT OF BED AND GO WORKOUT!" Also, it can be very beneficial to write down your "why" in a place where you will see it all the time. This will allow you to remember your intrinsic motivators on the days where you are struggling to push forward!
Step 3 is to prioritize your goals. In order to achieve something, you'll need to make it important enough to you that you're going to make all the necessary sacrifices that are needed along the way to reach your goal. When I think about my priorities, I think about the things that I value. Some things that instantly come to mind are my faith, my family and loved ones, the relationships I've built with those who I care about, opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, and my health. So, what are your priorities? It's important to think about these things because it will be very difficult to achieve something that has been put aside and not been made a priority.
The bottom line is that if you want to create a positive routine for yourself and your health so that you actually feel strange on the days you don't workout, you need to make it a priority. Once you've done the steps I discussed above, it will be so much easier for you to achieve your goals in the weight room, with your nutrition, your career, or just in your everyday life. Think about your "why" and what gets you out of bed every morning. On the days you want to quit and revert, remember your why. While you're going through the process of developing your own intrinsic motivators, surround yourself with those who have similar goals and similar mindsets that will push you every step of the way and hold you accountable. Trust me, eventually you won't need someone next to you to motivate you to achieve all the obstacles you're trying to conquer. You'll have the only person you need, a hungry and motivated version of yourself.
Yes, I have times where I'm working day 15 or 16 or Lord knows how many days in a row and I want to hump up and quit. I want to turn my 5:15am alarm off, skip that morning workout, and sleep for another hour and a half before work or call in a sick day. Everyone struggles, you're not alone. However, we have to make the process of overcoming these struggles a habit. These strategies and development of intrinsic motivators will help you get out of that bed or get up off that couch and get to work! Our Hunt Lift Eat community and team members are always available for questions, motivations, or a sense of camaraderie. If you need a support system to back you as you begin to embark on new challenges you've never faced before, then you've come to the right place. Odds are, even if you're just starting out, we were once in your shoes. We have your back. Now let's get to work.
Thanks for reading!
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