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Keys to Fitness Goals: How a Lack of Motivation is Hurting Your Progress

When you’ve been a personal trainer for over 9 years, you see it every New Year — a huge crowd at the gym in the first couple of weeks, only to see most of those folks drop off and disappear. Most of these folks are motivated and charged up and ready to take the plunge into living a healthier lifestyle to help them lose weight, get stronger, or simply become more physically active. Unfortunately, motivation is bound to fade over time, which is completely normal and happens to everyone. Some of these fitness influencers you see on Instagram and TikTok want you to believe that they’re always looking forward to working out and train at “beast mode” levels every workout; this is a farce and you should not believe it.



So, what can you do to reduce your lack of motivation to the point where you are able to successfully reach your fitness goals? Is it possible to actually like going to the gym, or is the healthy lifestyle nothing more than enduring something you absolutely hate? Today, I’m going to give you a couple tips that might help you maintain your motivation and increase your chances of reaching the fitness goals you have long sought to accomplish.

Accountability

Being accountable is absolutely required in order to maintain your motivation to workout. If there is no accountability, you’re going to find yourself missing workouts and allowing your healthy eating habits to slip, thus killing your chances of success. And when you’re not seeing any success in reaching your fitness goals, you’re also killing whatever motivation you had to workout in the first place.

One of the easiest ways to keep yourself accountable is to hire a personal trainer or, if a trainer is out of your current budget, you can look for a workout buddy. Having someone by your side is a great way to get you to show up to the gym and push yourself, and it also makes your gym experience more enjoyable and safer. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced lifter, having someone there to watch you as you’re working out can help you spot technique errors that could lead to chronic injuries in the future.

Signing up for workout classes is another great way to help you stay motivated. This introduces you to others like you that are there to push you during your workout and they’re also making sure that you do not give up on yourself. While CrossFit gets a bad rap, some of the things that I admire is the sense of community and emphasis of creating a positive support system. You don’t necessarily have to sign up for CrossFit, though; just looking for a fitness class that is supportive and keeps you accountable is a surefire way to help you stay motivated.

Setting Goals and Having a Plan

What makes setting goals such a valuable step in maintaining your motivation to workout? For starters, it is the reason why you began your fitness journey in the first place. Whether it was to lose weight, lower your cholesterol, or compete in a physique competition, reminding yourself of these can help you stay focused and motivated.

Going into the gym without a goal to reach is like duck hunting in the middle of the night during a New Moon — with dumb luck, you might hit something, but it’s not very likely. Most gym newbies that try going to the gym on their own and refuse help from a personal trainer are easy to spot because most go straight to the cardio equipment, then wander aimlessly around the machines until they either go back to cardio side or go home. Since they have nothing to measure progress, there’s little reason to stay motivated.

Unfortunately, a lot of recreational gym-goers make the same mistake in setting overly generalized goals. You want to have a target to reach for and measure your progress by using the acronym SMART. SMART is short for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. By using this tool, you or your trainer can make any necessary adjustments to improve your progress and keep you motivated to continue working out.

Celebrate Your Victories

There’s no question that some of the lifts fitness influencers post on social media are nothing short of spectacular. However, if you are not celebrating that you’re able to add 5 or 10 lbs to your squat because it’s still far less that the 500 lb squats you see online, then you are taking away an opportunity to stay motivated. The folks that currently squat hundreds of pounds did not get there overnight, they did it gradually, so when your strength is incrementally going up, it means you’re closing that gap, which is a win in my book!

When you allow yourself to celebrate even the small victories during your fitness journey, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to boost your confidence. This positive mindset serves as a reminder that of what you have been able to accomplish and how far you have come since you started, which means less self-doubt when you are going for a new personal record.

One of the biggest reasons why people lose their motivation to workout is that they only see value in drastic changes, thus overlooking the gradual improvements over time. For example, I once had a client who was feeling frustrated because her weight hadn’t changed in the three months that she had been training with me and eating healthy. I asked if she had noticed any changes in the way her clothes fit and if she is more capable of handling her physical tasks as a nurse, in which she responded that she actually had to buy new clothes because what she had was now too loose and that she no longer needed assistance in lifting patients. In short, the number you see on the scale is not exactly telling you the whole story.

Conclusion

The work that you have to put in to reach your fitness goals is a lot, so the last thing you want is to let your motivation wane when it doesn’t happen as fast as you would like. By keeping yourself accountable, setting specific goals and having a plan of action, and keeping a positive mindset in which you can celebrate your victories, you won’t have a lack of motivation that’s preventing you from reaching your fitness goals.

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