So January hasn’t started with a bang let’s face it. Another Lockdown being announced on day 4 of the new year didn’t exactly set me up mentally, and to be honest in terms of fitness and nutrition I hadn’t really finished the previous year well as it was.
I don’t know about you but I’m finding it quite hard to get motivated without access to a gym, dark mornings and nights and nothing planned to look forward to. I’ve signed up to a virtual year long running challenge but although that’s got me outside doing my weekend runs it’s not doing much for making me want to train in other ways through the week.
I’ve also been comfort eating. Now to be fair I’m not eating more than I used to but I am moving a lot less so it’s meant my clothes have bee getting tighter and tighter.
Here’s the thing. You may or may not have signed up to a fitness programme already, you may be considering it or you may just be thinking about putting your trainers on and taking up running or some other type of fitness type thing. Maybe you’ve got a nutrition plan that you should / will be following. Signing up, buying the trainers, knowing what you need to do doesn’t mean you’ll actually take action. You might expect the next line to read ‘Motivation is what you need’, but it’s not because that’s (excuse my French) bollocks.
I mean yes technically you do need t feel motivated to make the changes to see the change, but essentially we do not fall into two camps of people- the motivated and the unmotivated. That would imply those people who do things to work towards their goals are always motivated and never lose it or those that don’t are just lazy. In truth we all switch between feeling motivated and unmotivated all the time. This time last year or the year before that when I trained as habitually as I brushed my teeth it clearly wasn’t that I felt motivated to do so every day. Some days I really could not be arsed, yet I trained anyway. Some days I was knackered but I cooked a decent meal instead of turning to Uber Eats and MaccyDs. Motivation alone clearly isn’t the key to getting the results you want.
What you need are habits. I mentioned brushing my teeth just now. Do you brush your teeth every day? I’m going to assume the answers yes (if not please do). Is that because you are motivated to have nice teeth? Of course not, it’s just a habit, something you do, part of your day no matter how busy or tired you may be, lets face it – even when you stumble in drunk at 3 am you probably still brush your teeth before you fall into bed.
Doing the things you need to do often enough to see results requires consistency and to do something consistently you need to make the components of that a habit. So if you want to eat better that means making planning your meals a weekly habit, going shopping a weekly habit, prepping your lunch a weekly habit. If you want to train three times a week you need to make doing whatever you plan on doing a habit. As rubbish as I have been the last few months I’ve run at the weekends consistently. It’s a habit- I wake up, have breakfast and put on my kit and leave the house, don’t even think about it beyond what direction I’m going to aim for.
Creating habits isn’t easy, it can take time, you see relapses, it can take ages to get a habit in place. Habits however create results and seeing results come creates momentum to continue to continue to see results.
If like me you’re struggling to kick start yourself in 2021 break what you want into the small practical things you need to do (wake up earlier, go to bed earlier, set aside an hour three times a week) then try and make those tasks habitual and see how motivated you feel come the end of the month.