Searching for authentic sources of motivation on the internet is like trying to find a fitness-related Instagram account without booty shorts. It seems that everyone is driven solely by likes, views, and shares, clamoring for empty validation, while the beast is never truly fed.
If you find yourself in danger of losing your motivation to progress toward a fitter lifestyle, this post is for you. If you’re a regular Jane or Joe in need of a mindset overhaul, use the following guide as a primer to reset your head and get back to the core of why you started all this in the first place.
What follows is a list of common mindset mistakes that can destroy your mental tenacity and physical progress. They may be mistakes you’re making inside or outside the gym, but fear not: I will also provide you with a way to right the ship.
You Don’t Pay Attention
Distraction is a big obstacle when it comes to accomplishing goals. The less of it you have, the more focused you can become. If you don’t actually pay attention to your training, your effort and progress in the gym will be diluted and ineffectual.
The Fix: Prior to your training, get into the correct mindset. Run through the session in your head; which exercises you chose, how many sets, how many reps, and how much rest you’ll take. Then, during your workout, dedicate your attention solely to training. Eliminate any distraction such as cell phones and idle chat with your friends. And don’t get caught up in staring at any of the numerous screens hanging on every wall.
You Don’t Have a Goal
What is the reason you drive to the gym every day? Why do you toil away day after day, lift tons of weight, and make the sacrifices that you do? Without a clearly defined goal, you will be spinning your wheels and unable to weather the storm of stress and setbacks life will throw at you. Most importantly, you won’t make much progress.
The Fix: Sit and write down what you want out of training. Is it general fitness, new PRs, or to compete? Whatever you choose, make sure you define the why and how. Without clear cut goals, you will be driving in the dark with no real direction.
You Don’t Know the Steps
It’s one thing to have a goal. It’s another to devise and clearly lay out the ways in which you’ll accomplish that goal. In business, mission statements are defined by objectives, and your training motives should be no different. Without knowing the steps to get there, your goal is just a nice statement that might look good in a frame and that’s about it.
The Fix: Again, the task of actually writing down your steps and methods is critical to your success. As clearly as you have defined your goal, you also need to define each step it will take to get there. How many training sessions will you perform per week? How will your programming be structured? Will you need to make any special diet modifications? Detail your plan of action, and then simply follow that plan and adjust as you go.
You Don’t Have Confidence
Are you certain that your plan will work? Maybe if you just did a bit more research, you would find the perfect program. Or maybe you just lack confidence in what you’re currently doing. If so, then you’re not optimizing your time and energy for said goal.
The Fix: Pick a plan, any plan, and stick with it, believe in it, and gut through it. Believe, no matter what, that your plan is your best option for now. Yes, you can adjust along the way, but put everything you have into that current plan and press on. Any plan half-heartedly executed is guaranteed to fail.
You Lack Consistency
Look back at your last week of training. Is it sporadic at best? What about your diet? Did you only have about three good days, where you adhered to your plan without cheating? Consistency is the day-in day-out discipline that fuels results. Without it, you’ll be taking one step forward and one step back.
The Fix: Do whatever you need to do to establish a habit of consistency. Results aren’t accomplished overnight; they’re accumulated on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Small, incremental steps soon develop into significant distance covered, but you must put in the work—even on those days that distraction tempts you.
You Live in the Wrong Environment
The people you surround yourself with have great influence on you. No matter how independent you claim to be or how much self-discipline you claim to have, you are still susceptible to your environment. If you hang with toxic people (those who don’t have your best interests in mind), don’t be surprised if you start to develop those same undesirable symptoms.
The Fix: Here, you have two choices: You can either communicate your intentions to those close to you and ask for their support, or cut those toxic people from your life altogether. Whichever you choose, always surround yourself with those who understand and will support your intentions.
You Research Too Much
There is no such thing as a perfect plan, but there is such a thing as searching too long for one. You get paralyzed by analysis. The moment you think you’ve finally found the plan for you, you feel the desire to do just a bit more searching. The result is that you never really stick to a single plan for very long.
The Fix: The rules of the game dictate that you pick a plan, practice it for a significant amount of time, and then assess your results. Afterward, you can adjust that plan or choose a new one. But any plan will take at least four to six weeks in order to see any real change, positive or negative. Only after you’ve given it an honest try will you start to develop a sense of what works and what doesn’t.
Your Ego Is Too Big
The gym tends to harbor some massive egos. Failure to keep yours in check allows injury to rear its ugly head and sideline your efforts due to a single stupid mistake.
The Fix: Leave your ego at the door. Focus on what you need to accomplish according to your goal. Use the weights as means to an end, instead of a time to show off. Do what you need to do, and then get out.
You’re Way Too Social
Social media is a wonderful thing, but too much of anything isn’t good for you. You might have stumbled down the rabbit hole of obsessing over likes and shares a bit too much, and now your entire identity is wrapped up in it.
The Fix: If your entire purpose in life is to post six-pack pics on Instagram, your motivation is shallow and lacks any real significance. Cut the cord. Progress pics are one thing, but to base your self-worth on false adoration has no real staying power.
You Chose the Wrong Path
Finally, the path you’ve chosen may not be the best for you personally. Sometimes we get on the wrong road and don’t figure it out right away. For example, if you are working your tail off to have that six pack, you might get so stuck in the weeds trying to accomplish that goal that you forget about actually being strong. You may wake up one day and realize that you still don’t have that six pack, and you also can’t squat your bodyweight.
The Fix: Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. Be honest with your intentions and truthfully define your real desire to do what you set out to do. It may not include being the strongest one around or the biggest. You may be happier seeking out more performance-based goals than purely aesthetic. Whatever it may be, just look deep within yourself and derive motivation from there.
Fix Your Mind to Reach Your Goals
Mental lapses come in all shapes and from many places. The only constant is that everyone’s motivation comes from a unique place: the desire for true, authentic personal development. Don’t be a part of the herd and want what everyone else wants. That only creates a fragile state of motivation that can be extinguished easily. Find your motivation, cultivate it, make it yours, and use it to succeed in whatever you do.
(Source: Bev Childress Creative)
You won’t improve by working on what you’re already good at: