When the Going gets Tough

I have a confession to make. Sometimes, I really don’t want to work out. Sometimes I want to eat the less-than-ideal meal that maybe doesn’t fit my macros. Yes, even your coach isn’t always feeling it.   Does that lead to skipped workouts and eating poorly? Yup, it sometimes does. Most of the time, though, it doesn’t. I work out even though I don’t feel like it. I choose the better food option that fits my macros for the day even if I’d rather have something that very much will not. Why? Because I’ve practiced. I’ve practiced choosing the “better” option over and over, so it’s a little easier each time when I’m just simply not feeling it.

Each day we’re faced with decisions – what to eat, whether or not to work out. Do I take a walk, or sit on the couch? Things happening in our lives (and our mental state) will greatly affect how we make these decisions. Sometimes it’s really hard to get motivated. It’s hard to keep a positive outlook. The truth is, life has ups and downs. Ups and downs are a necessity, though! How can you recognize when things are fantastic if you don’t have the contrasting less than fantastic days (or weeks, or hours)? Life is a package deal – you have to take the good with the bad. That doesn’t mean letting the bad take over, though.

Below are some tips to get through those lows and prevent them from completely derailing you. These tips help me to push through even when I’m not feeling like it.

  1. Get perspective. There is a strong tendency to focus on the bad in a situation, especially if you’re already feeling less than enthusiastic. Initiate a change in this mindset by consciously thinking about things that are going well or that you’re grateful for. Maybe you’re not eating how you would like, but you ARE exercising on a regular basis. FOCUS on how good and strong those workouts make you feel! Feeling financially insecure? Focus on what you DO have in your life – a roof over your head, loving people in your life, food on the table, running water, etc. Yes, it all seems kinda corny. Who cares how corny it is if it works! Write the good things down, or start a gratitude journal! Yes, take a pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard. “I am thankful for….”
  2. Take action! There are things we cannot change and things that we can. What can you change that will improve your outlook or make life better? This can be something small or big. Sometimes the little changes end up making a much bigger difference than you think. Feeling overworked? Take a 10 minute walking break. Walk around your building inside or outside.  Feeling weak or dragging at boot camp? Maybe you just need to drink more water or change your meal timing. For any change, find what will help you achieve that change. Find a co-worker to go walking with. Find an app that tracks your water intake. Find a buddy to join you at boot camp. Set a time to go to bed earlier. Get creative on this!
  3.  Find your why! Come back to your “why” each time you start to struggle. Not feeling like making it to boot camp today? What is your goal, your why? Does one boot camp session get you there? Likely not. Add up each day that you DO make it, however, and that’s another story. Take each day as it comes, and do not forget your why! If you don’t have a why or have a hazy why, maybe it’s time to dial that in. One of my “whys” is that I always feel mentally and physically better after working out. Yeah, it’s pretty simple and a little vague, but it works! Whys for boot camp may be as simple as feeling more healthy, setting an example for your kids, or having more energy. Your why could be specific like losing 5% body fat, or being able to curl 20 lbs. Each day is an opportunity to reinforce your why, reach your goals, and honor a commitment to yourself. You will never regret doing something to reach a goal or support your “why”.

Know that life will have its ups and downs. It’s unavoidable. Sometimes just getting through the day is good enough. But find those little things that will make life a little bit better! Come back to these ideas when you’re struggling with motivation. This won’t make the doldrums go away, but can help you push through them.

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