If you’ve ever had a week, a month, or even several months where you feel like you’re going nowhere with your exercise routine, you might be in a training rut. This feeling creeps up on you until you suddenly realize that you haven’t been making progress. You feel unmotivated and wonder why you even exercise in the first place.
In times like these, it’s important to take a step back and take a look at why this is happening.
Are you unsatisfied with another area in your life? Have you lost touch with your fitness and health goals or maybe you’ve already reached them? Or are you just simply bored with your current exercise routine?
Sometimes asking ourselves why can be the most important part of rediscovering our motivation. However, it can be a lot more tricky than it might seem at first. As humans, we are very good at hiding our true reasons for behaving in certain ways, especially when we are hiding those reasons from ourselves. But to find the right kind of motivation we need to know what we are up against.
Try Something Different, But Not Completely New
If you’re feeling bored or just generally unsatisfied with your exercise regimen, try mixing things up and trying something a little different.
You could try a different version of your usual sport, for example, like doing shorter sprints rather than running your usual several miles. Instead of lifting weights, you could try to do bodyweight exercises for a month. You could even stick to your same routine but ask a friend, family member, or partner to join you in your fitness efforts. Sometimes social support is all we need to revitalize our relationship with our fitness and health. Having someone to hold us accountable can also increase the likelihood that we will stick to our routine and hopefully make our exercise more enjoyable.
Really, anything that challenges your body and leaves you feeling better than before will help you to make progress and get back on track.
You Need Progress, No Matter How Small
Progress is important because it creates motivation.
When we see ourselves make progress over the long term we become confident in our ability to direct ourselves. Having this confidence is invaluable. Oftentimes, this confidence will bleed over into other areas of our lives as well.
However, creating goals for ourselves doesn’t necessarily mean we need to constantly top what we’ve achieved in the past. Instead, try to be honest with what you can achieve currently and set realistic goals that challenge you in some way.
Try to think of exercise as a series of smaller goals all working together to add up over your life span. Imagine yourself in thirty or so years and think of where you want to be. Would you be upset with yourself for missing a few workouts or having a slow few months where you exercised less than you normally do?
Of course not. In thirty years, you’ll be happy that you were consistent with your exercise and didn’t push yourself to the point of injuries so that you can continue to live life in a healthy body.
Remember the Ebb and Flow and Be Patient With Yourself
Understanding and accepting that motivation comes and goes is incredibly important. Try to keep the big picture in mind when you’re going through this phase and remember to be patient with yourself. If you truly have prioritized health and fitness you will find your motivation again.
When you’re in this rut, think of finding your way again as tacking into the wind like in sailing. You don’t want to overcorrect and be pushed off course but at the same time, you don’t want to face directly into the wind and make no progress.
Try making a few adjustments and experiment with your routine. Be patient but be prepared to readjust when you find yourself not getting the results you want.