How to Stay Motivated: It’s not how you think.
Becoming an IFBB Bikini Pro took years of sacrifice, consistency, determination, and loads of hard work, sweat, and tears. It demanded countless hours of weightlifting, cardio, meal prep, measuring foods, changing how I ate, waking up early, etc. I get the same comments and responses over and over again: “I could never do that”, “I love food too much”, “That’s too much work”, “Aren’t you tired?” I get similar remarks from girls entering prep or those considering if they want to compete and it all relates back to the golden question, “How do you stay motivated?” Well, it comes down to one thing…I had a goal I really wanted to reach for myself and I was willing to work for it. If I did not truly want it, I would not have had the willpower to do any of the things I mentioned above. Having said that, I completely understand how others say that “they couldn’t do it” because I know, for example, I could never be motivated enough to become a rocket scientist…because I do not have any desire to be one. You either want it and will work for it or not.
I used to be a little stumped as how to respond when asked about staying motivated knowing that others have said they follow certain “fitspo” on social media or they watch their favorite YouTuber’s videos for motivation. It was some time before I realized that neither of these things motivated me - nothing external, not even from the very beginning. How do I stay motivated? Myself. The idea of reaching my full potential, the way weightlifting makes me feel about myself, the way standing on stage absolutely proud of what I accomplished makes me feel, the goal of bringing my best every time I compete…All of that paired with knowing what needs to be done to achieve those things is my driving force. Motivation comes from within and it is important that you recognize the fine line that separates it from external inspiration (i.e. fitspo).
I’m not saying you shouldn’t want to be like someone else, but you should extract what it is about them that you want for yourself. When my husband told me that I should consider competing I didn’t know much about it and I turned to YouTube for information. I watched video after video of competition footage and fell in love with the idea of being one of those girls one day. I was inspired. It wasn’t the glamour or the crowds cheering for them, it was the qualities that these girls possessed that I was lacking and wanted to develop in myself: confidence, the ability to achieve that level of physique, the proudness they display, and being comfortable and happy enough with themselves that they could stand in front of a crowd and panel of judges to be critiqued. I knew what I wanted for myself and I used that as motivation to reach my goals.
So how can you mirror this process for yourself? How can you successfully stay motivated? Follow these simple steps:
- Become inspired - You see something you like in others or there is a quality you would like to change about yourself (i.e. fitspo, you are overweight, you do not have the energy to play with your kids, etc.)
- Establish what you want for yourself and WHY - Why were you inspired? What qualities were you attracted to that you want for yourself? (i.e. muscular build, lean physique, strength, better quality of life, good eating habits, etc.) Why do you want this change? (i.e. gain confidence, have more energy, improve health, better quality time with my kids. etc.)
- Come up with a game plan - How are you going to reach your goals?
- Incorporate plan into everyday life - Changes should be sustainable and work with your life demands. If it is not, you may be able to make changes for a short amount of time, but eventually you will fall off as it is not maintainable.
- Maintain motivation: refer back to your WHY - Remember why you wanted this change in the first place. If it is still something you want, regardless of how hard it may be, push through and keep going! Use YOUR WHY as YOUR MOTIVATION!
*These steps can be applied beyond fitness goals to all aspects of life!