I spent Saturday with thousands of women striving to be the best versions of themselves, and it was inspiring to say the least. You already know my feelings on group fitness, but the Tone It Up Tour was another level of community.
For those of you who don’t know, Tone It Up is a website with daily workouts, healthy recipes, fitness challenges and nutrition plans run by trainers Karena and Katrina. They are currently touring the nation with Jillian Michaels and filming new fitness content for their website and app.
Hearing Jillian, Karena and Katrina speak to the group got me thinking about what motivates me and how I find that motivation within myself.
For a long time, I came up with every excuse in the book to avoid doing the hard stuff. I don’t mean just workouts. I’m talking about assignments and chores I didn’t feel like doing, and even conversations with loved ones that I knew would be difficult to have.
Over a long period of trial and error, I have discovered some tools that help me to motivate from within.
Eat the frog
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” – Mark Twain.
I had a professor my first year of college who used to always advise us to “eat the frog”. For me, that means doing my hardest task first. If I have a lot on my plate, I always start with the thing I want to do the least. That way, once it’s done, I feel inspired to tackle the rest of my projects because I know it will only get easier. It takes away the dark cloud looming over your head right off the bat.
Set small goals
Like I have mentioned before, I like to plan. As my fellow planners know, it’s easy to get carried away by planning too far into the future…Setting goals that you know you can achieve is a surefire way to work towards your bigger goals down the line.
These can be as small as drinking a certain amount of water a day or getting a set number of hours of sleep per night. Conditioning yourself to be goal-oriented sets you up for success in other aspects of your life.
Track your progress
This one is a little more specific to fitness.
There is no better competition than yourself. Most of the time I get myself to push harder in a workout by trying to top what I’ve done before. I think to myself “last week I did 10 push-ups and I’m stronger now than I was then”. Every rep and step counts. Adding even one more crunch makes a difference in the long run. Always get better. Even if it’s one step further than last week. Ever forward.
Music has so much power over mood. I use music to motivate myself to do all sorts of things. When I don’t feel like writing, I turn on a new playlist and wait for inspiration to strike. When swiffering the floor and doing the dishes sounds dreadful, a little throwback Britney Spears is sure to get me off the couch and cleaning. To run faster, push harder and jump higher, I have to have the right song on.
One of the biggest ways I utilize music as a motivator is to turn it into a break. If something isn’t going my way, I go for a walk and listen to something I know will cheer me up. Using music to clear my head and reset my mood allows me to get back to what’s important instead of giving up.
If food-based incentives are the first thing that came to mind, you’re my kind of gal (or guy). I have bribed myself into doing a lot of stuff that seemed impossible by promising myself a donut once it’s done. Don’t be above self-bribery – it’s effective.
Writing down my thoughts at the end of the day allows me to reflect on what I accomplished and how I can improve.
If you don’t like to write, take a moment to have a thankful thought at least once a day. Thinking about what you appreciate allows you to work towards doing more of what you love and eliminate the actions or things that don’t add value to your daily life.
Taking the time to think about my interactions and behaviors has forced me to become more present. It also lets me think about how I can actively work towards my goals and not just go through the motions.
I hope you can apply some of these tips to your life. You can’t depend on others to motivate you, and there is nothing more satisfying than reaching a goal you set for yourself.
I would love to hear the other ways you motivate yourself in the gym, at work and at home. Happy Monday, LoveLeighs. Get out there and tackle this week!