Something happened to me.
Something that has NEVER happened to me before.
I lost my steam. My mojo. My motivation.
Particularly for workouts, and I can’t quite put my finger on why.
I was laser focused on training – warm ups, set ups, body movements, and recovery.
Maybe it was all the change in my life or that I was laser focused for a while and my head said I needed a mental break.
But instead of being my top priority, my workouts felt less important.
They were getting done, but with less purpose and intention.
I had a choice to make – to either continue with this pattern or do some soul-searching to rediscover my motivation.
As a coach, I have watched too many people continue down the purpose-less path and drop their workouts.
I did not want to be one of those people.
And neither do you, which is why you picked this blog to read.
So let me ask, are you ready to do this?
To ACTUALLY make your workout routine stick?
Willing to accept any trick, tip, or secret that will make this time be THE time?
How about 13 of them?
Sign Up for an Event – Signing up for an event gives you an end date, and puts you in the mindset to get moving. I stand by the fact that the majority of us workout to look good naked, but signing up for an event gives your mind a goal or training style to focus on that is not related to appearance. Not too many of us want to sign up for a race and risk not being able to finish. This set end date is your focus and reminder to push through those bad days so you can complete the event feeling strong and proud.
Write Your Goals Down – Write out exactly what you want to accomplish by signing up for this event. Scratch beyond the surface and really get specific with your goals and make sure the progress is measurable. But don’t write them and put them away. Either rewrite them every morning as part of your morning routine or put them in a spot where you can see them each day. The best success comes from writing and reviewing your goals often, so you’re aware of what you’re working toward and where you’re at in the process.
Sign a Contract – Once you’ve signed up for an event, map out the journey. Take time by yourself or with a coach or friend to map out the style and frequency of your training. Just like you would for a job or project, lay out the terms and conditions. Think about rewards and consequences for missed sessions. Account for injuries and life changes. The more you include in the contract and the more official you make it, the more accountable you feel. Once you’ve laid out the terms and conditions sign it, and keep the contract close so you can frequently review it.
Put Money On It – Whether you like it or not, money is a motivator, and when you have control over whether or not you keep your money, it becomes a BIG motivator. Choose a charity, event, or cause to set aside money for, but it might be even more motivating to give that money to a coach or friend until you reach your goal. Hit your goal, and the money comes back. Miss it, and you lose your money.
Set Up a Rewards Program – Once you’ve mapped out the journey, think about the milestones or points of success that will take place along the way. Set up some type of reward or celebration for each of those. Your brain responds well to a reward system. Think of it as a refuel of your motivation tank. It doesn’t have to be huge rewards, but maybe a meal at your favorite spot or some new workout clothes. Then, plan a big reward for the end, something you really want – a new piece of training equipment, something for your home, or maybe even a trip.
Include Your Family and Friends – While this blog is focused on personal accountability, I do believe you should NEVER do this alone. These people love and care for you, sometimes more than you love and care for yourself, which is EXACTLY why you need them. Trust me when I say I understand how family and friends can appear unsupportive at first. While it may seem like that on the surface, it’s because they love and care for you that they present a cautionary front. Tell them your plans, heck, ask if they want to join in. Share your highs and lows along the way, but most importantly tell them WHY this is important to you. If they understand the importance to you, there’s no way they try to shut you down.
Share Your Goals on Social Media – Post up the event you’ve signed up for, your new training plans, or the reward you plan to give yourself at the end and watch people come to your support. Once you’ve put it out to the world for others to see, you instinctively feel more accountable. Whether you have hundreds or thousands of followers, the responses from family and friends only make you that much more accountable.
Visualize – The value for this is too often underestimated. Take 5 minutes out of every day to visualize what it looks like to achieve your goal. Really picture it with as much detail as possible. Get in touch with the emotions and think about who you want by your side to celebrate. The more often you see it, the more you believe it, and the more you believe it, the more real it becomes.
Schedule Your Workouts Like Any Other Event – You schedule meetings, get togethers with friends, and kids’ activities, so why can’t you schedule your workouts? Sit down before the craze of the week starts, and plan out the days and times for your workouts. Add them to every calendar you have. Set reminders for when you need to leave for the gym, when to pack your clothes, and even for when you need to wrap up the workout. Then, treat the same as if it were a meeting with your boss, your spouse, or picking your kid up from school – do NOT cancel.
Let Someone Else Create Your Workouts – Coaching is great for personal and external accountability. People are amazed to hear I have a coach who plans my workouts, but the commitment with a coach cannot even compare to training without. I know how to create workouts. It’s my job! But it is way easier to reason and rationalize with myself over a program I made as to why I swapped out exercises or skipped the workout all together than it is with my coach. Coaches look at training from an outside perspective. They see your strengths and weaknesses, and can create a program to improve both. That is hard to objectively do for yourself.
Journal – I can feel the eye rolls after you read that word, but bear with me. Journaling is often thought of as this long, time-consuming, and emotional thing. If that’s not what you want it to be or what you have time for, then it doesn’t have to be. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point, but as a tool for evaluating day-to-day progress. It’s an opportunity to digest the events of your day, so that you can continue to move forward.
Here are the bare minimum questions I ask during a morning journal session to help get you started:
- What’s one victory?
- What’s one thing that didn’t go your way?
- How can you make that positive?
- What are 3 things you’re grateful for?
- What are your goals?
Progress Photos – Writing about and reflecting on your journey is a great tool, but some of us need visuals of our progress. That’s why progress pictures are so important. Take one right after you sign up for your event, and at a minimum one after each time you receive a reward from your rewards program. Lay out the pictures side by side and really look at your progress. Frequently reflect back on your starting pictures to remind yourself how far you’ve come because that is so easy to lose sight of! They say pictures are worth a thousand words, so when you look at each picture along your journey, get in touch with how you were feeling, what you were doing, and where you had yet to go from that point.
Make a Long-Term Plan – Sure, you signed up for one event, but map out what you’ll do afterward. The last thing you want to do is to lose progress after reaching your end goal because you never planned for what’s next. Be realistic in your long-term plan, so that you’re not setting yourself up for failure. Write out what your long-term plan inclusive of some of your bucket list items and things you never bothered to put on your bucket list because you never thought you’d be able to accomplish. The point is to always have something to work toward so there is always something to holding you accountable.
People are amazed to hear when I have a cheat meal or that I lose a little motivation to workout.
No matter how badly I wish I had superhero powers to stay fit and healthy every minute of everyday, I don’t.
I’m human, and because of that, even I need to pull out all tricks, tips, and secrets for motivation and accountability every now and then.
That’s exactly how this list came together.
I’m a better coach because I am human.
I’m a better coach because I know how hard it can be to stick to a workout routine.
I’m a better coach because I’m walking my own journey, right alongside you, hoping to live as the best and happiest version of me.