It’s your first day back in the gym from winter break. You are so pumped. NEW YEAR NEW YOU. You have taken the time to write out your month of training in your new planner. 30 day cardio butt blaster challenge #567. You are not going to stop. This burning desire is squashed on day three when you are sore, tired, and not sure why you started in the first place. Where did all that motivation go? Motivation might take you to the first step, deciding to do something, but what do you have to rely on to keep going when motivation does not exist?
The truth is motivation, like most feelings, is temporary. You can’t rely on motivation to always be there. There are forces greater than motivation to get you to where you want to go, like momentum from habit building and keeping the promises you make to yourself.
So how am I supposed to succeed with my challenging goals? The better way to think of this is how can you make your goal a part of your lifestyle, something you practice regularly, and a positive habit you gradually build.
1: Stacking habits
Stacking habits is a great way to build momentum on any lifestyle change and making the new habit stick. An example of habit stacking is the nightly routine of brushing your teeth before bed. It’s so ingrained that if you ever laid down before brushing your teeth you know something is off.
2: Do the hard thing first
Starting your day by doing something hard can change your day. You could make training part of your morning routine. Before the demands of the day are grabbing your attention, you put on your workout clothes and log into class or have your training clothes set aside for your morning jog around the neighborhood.
3: Be consistent
You must take action regularly and consistently to make a habit stick. An example is booking your time for your home workouts. You may need to block your schedule so the time is reserved and everyone around you knows you are not available.
4: Reward yourself
Rewarding yourself is like giving yourself a pat on the back as you inch along the path. After your evening training you may reward yourself by watching your favorite show as you stretch in front of the TV, or post on social media for making it through 30 days of cardio butt blaster challenge for the endorphin hit of likes, or get a new workout tank you’ve been eyeing after a month of consistent effort.
Think of your actions as putting money in the bank with compounding interest. When you deposit money into the exercise category, for example, you are making it a habit to be more active, getting stronger, etc. 10 years down the line, how will your repeated actions shape you?