What to do when motivation eludes us

What a weekend it’s been! Parts of the country woke up to a sparkling snow encrusted landscape. My social media filled with images of families out making the most of the festive sprinkle. Snowmen of all shapes and sizes festooned in woollen gloves and jaunty caps. Igloos. Yes! Made using recycling boxes as a mould for the snow. Innovative or what? Snow angels. Children with bright pink cheeks giggling as they wave their arms and legs about in the age old tradition.

Then come the images of folk wrapped up all toasty next to a roaring fire, defrosting and cradling mugs of a spicy festive brew. Tell tale crumbs dusting their jumper, evidence of the mince pie they’ve just schnarfed and cheeks rosy with festive cheer. It is such a wonderful time of year.

But what about those fitness goals we have all got in mind, be they underway or scheduled to start? This time of year really isn’t conducive to getting or staying motivated, is it? Our social calendars bursting with events. Each of those social events brimming with tasty treats and bubbles. Late nights, memories made and hangovers of epic proportions. The chant of ‘diet starts tomorrow!’ ringing in our ears.

Please hear me when I say that I whole heartedly believe that Christmas is a time to spend with those we love. To enjoy ourselves and make some wonderful memories. To eat delicious food and celebrate the season with some beautiful boozy bubbles. Life is about balance, and after all – we are talking about a healthy ‘life style’ aren’t we. Healthy is also about being happy.

But so many people struggle at this time of year with motivation. That motivation can be about so many different things too! Starting their fitness journey, taking that first step, getting to the gym to continue working towards their fitness goals, doing the fitness class they’ve been meaning to book on to, hiring their own personal coach, sorting out their nutrition. Not just about fitness either. It can be reaching out and connecting with that friend we haven’t spoken to in a while, tackling that job we’ve been putting off for an age. ‘I’ll make a start on that in January!’ being the excuse we give ourselves. ‘It’ll still be there tomorrow’ another.

Well, yes – you’re right. You can start in January. It can be another New Year’s resolution that we make and promptly break. (I’ve lost count of how many times I did that.) And a point to note: tomorrow never actually comes.

So what do I say to those who ask me how I keep motivated at this time of year? Well, I say what I used to say to myself back in the early days of my fitness journey. There is no time like the present. (Festive pun intended!) The sooner you get started, the better. I talk a lot about habit forming with my team. This is WHY! It takes 21 days to form a habit. Once the habit is formed, it fills the gap left by waning motivation ensuring the work gets done anyway! Why? Because it’s a habit. A part of your lifestyle. Just like walking the dog, or taking the kids to school. You can’t just not do those things if you don’t much feel like it!

There is also the tough love approach. This one always worked for me, even if I used to wriggle a little bit as it was said to me. I’ve never been very good with authority! We have a choice. We are grown ups. We can choose to give in to lack of motivation and potentially let our hard earned progress diminish, the time to achieving our goals extend further. Or. We can suck it up, accept that sometimes we have to do things we don’t like doing and get it done.

The question you should always ask yourself is this, ‘Where do you want to be one month from now?’ Still making excuses? Or getting it done?

Don’t take my tough love as anything more than a gentle nudge in the right direction! A wane in motivation is perfectly normal and in fact part of the process. How we respond to it is key!

For those of you on the fence, get the splinters out of your bum and TAKE ACTION. One thing I can absolutely promise is that you won’t regret it.

For those of you feeling a lack of motivation to keep going, think back to how hard it was to get going in the first place. Remember how good it feels when you start seeing those results. Now get your gym kit on and get it done.

The festive season is indeed the season of goodwill, so do something good for yourself! It’s the best gift you’ll ever get.