Is it normal to feel unmotivated?
The answer is yes. If I told you that I was 100% ready to workout and eat completely healthy every single day, I'd be lying. When I was working as an engineer, I'd be at the office by 7 am, sit in tons of traffic on my way home at night, then have to come home and figure out what to eat, handle whatever personal errands I had to take care of, respond to new work emails, you name it...it's life. At times, the last thing I wanted to do after all of that was get changed into some workout clothes and running shoes and find my way to the gym. We're not super humans and that's okay. The first step to making this lifestyle one that is sustainable, is acknowledging that it's okay and completely normal to feel unmotivated at times. I used to easily get down on myself whenever I had a few of those days where I just skipped everything to give myself a rest, and looking back, it's obvious that rest was completely necessary. There's a fine line between pushing your body when it needs rest and giving yourself a little extra motivation to get out and break a sweat. Make sure you're in tune with your body's needs, and take the rest when you need it!
For the times when you know it's all in your head, and you just need some tips for getting yourself in gear, here are some motivational tactics that have helped me:
- Make yourself a plan. At the beginning of the week, I think through each upcoming day and make a list of my priorities in my journal. If there's an event I have to be at late one night, I already have a plan for how I'll squeeze in a quick sweat at some point earlier in the day. The busier I am, the least likely it is for me to stick to a rigid workout regimen. What I mean is, it's difficult to commit to the same spin class each Monday when each week is unpredictable. Instead, I create a flexible schedule for myself where I'll aim to take 1-2 classes, run 1-3 times, etc. I don't always set specific dates or times, but setting the goal in general holds me accountable.
- Get your food ready before the day. If you're just getting started on a healthier lifestyle, changing the diet can be really overwhelming. I recommend setting aside one or two nights a week to getting some staples prepared, and making a loose plan for what you'll have when you come home from your day. The more prepared you are, the less excuses you'll have, and the less likely you'll be to want to crash on your couch with a snack.
- Set your workout gear out the day before. If you're trying to workout early in the morning, having the gym bag prepared the night before is key. If it's already waiting for you by your bed when the alarm goes off, all you have to do is get up and go. If you're a night person and would rather workout at the end of the day, it doesn't hurt to lay out some clothes for when you get home.
- Keep the music fresh. When I do solo workouts, music is my number one companion. It's the one thing that will completely turn my mood from feeling unmotivated to feeling on top of the world. I'll sometimes spend hours putting together different playlists because I love it so much, and it helps! If you don't have Spotify, you're doing it wrong.
- Lastly, just forget the pity party, tie your shoes, and go do it. I motivate myself by thinking about how much better I'll feel when I'm done. Anyone that knows me well, knows that I'm not a pleasant person if I haven't broken a sweat at some point. It keeps my head clear, and helps me focus on what I need to do later.
Moral of the story, it's okay to have days when you're feeling blah or too busy. Don't fall off track just because you had one of those days! If it happens, give yourself a break, and make a plan to get back to it the next day. Remember, it's a lifestyle, not a fad and there are so many benefits that will come your way when you give yourself the extra push.